Ozurgeti

Ozurgeti (ოზურგეთი, from 1934 to 1989 Makharadze მახარაძე) is the small town in Georgia, capital of Guria region. It is a good jumping off point for nearby beaches, mountain resorts, old monasteries and rural tourism.

Understand

Ozurgeti was founded in the Middle Ages, 16th Century. The city was the residence of the Prince of Guria and became a trading center in later centuries. Ozurgeti received its town charter in 1840, after becoming part of Russian Empire. The town was a strategic location in the Russo-Turkish War (1877–78). In the 19th century Ozurgeti became the hometown of tea producing and citrus growing in Georgia. In 1905 Ozurgeti was center of Georgian Social-Democratic Movement and capital of so called "Gurian Republic" which existed during Russian Revolution. From 1934 to 1989, the city was named after the Georgian Communist Party leader of the 1920s and 1930s, Philip Makharadze. Today's layout and image of the town was established during Soviet times. The largest employers in the city are government and financial institutions, and nut cultivation is the main economic activity.

Get in

By plane

The nearest major international airport is in Tbilisi (340km), while Batumi (60km) and Kutaisi (70km) International Airports are the nearest accessible airports. Trabzon airport (250km) in Turkey might be an option, also.

By train

Ozurgeti railway station

Ozurgeti has a railway station, which Can Be Reached from both Batumi and Tbilisi. Ozurgeti is end point of a branch line from Natanebi on the Black Sea coast.

There is a daily train pair each to Tbilisi (night and day trains) and Batumi (day train). The former holds the road, among others in Samtredia, The second one also in Kobuleti. Ticket prices from Tbilisi to Ozurgeti vary between GEL 15-30. Trains leave twice a day and take circa 9 hour. Batumi-Ozurgeti train leaves once a day, only evenings and takes 2 hour. Tickets from both cities can be bought at stations and online.

  The station a magnificent and newly renovated neoclassical building, is located approximately 500 m north of the center at the end of the Ilia Chavchavadze Street. There is a ticket office and Mini Bus station over there. Taxis await incoming passengers. A taxi from station to city costs 3 to 5 GEL, to villages 4 to 20 GEL.

By bus

There are daily coach arrivals and departures in several directions: Kutaisi, Samtredia, Kobuleti and Batumi, also Tbilisi, as well as easy mini bus (marshrutka) access to nearest villages and sites of tourist interest in the area.   The main bus station is situated south of the city center next to the large roundabout.

By car

Ozurgeti lies on the well-developed regional road "შ 2" (Kobuleti - Chokhatauri - Sadzhavakho - Samtredia), "შ 46" Ureki-Natanebi-Ozurgeti and "შ 84" Lanchkhuti - Lesa - Ozurgeti; about 7km east from the regional road 'შ 47" Nasakirali - Schuchuti. Roads are paved with asphalt, except "შ 84" which is paved with concrete. Roads are beautiful, but winding, and are ideal for a scenic drive.

filling stations

Get around

A small town, Ozurgeti is easily covered on foot. The town has no public transport system. Buses and Mini buses (Marschrutkas) go only in the surrounding area. Cycling can be an option, also, but there are no bike rentals, though. Bikes are sold in "Univermagi" for 250-300 GEL (USD 100-125). Taxi's are cheap and cost GEl 3-5 (USD 1-2) within the town.

Ozurgeti has following districts: the center, where government, financial, shopping and service provider institutions are based, Seri south from the center, located on the small hill, historical part of the town Ekadia, former village, now part of the town, south of river Bzhuzhi; Anaseuli - Soviet-era settlement with former tea factory and scientific institutions and sleeping districts: Lashe-Gakiruli in the eastern part of the town, Zvani in the western part and Moidanakhe on the northern hill, where the town's major cemeteries are located.

See

The main sightseeing in the town is an archaeological site,   remains of Baths, which were built and used by rulers of Principality of Guria - Gurieli. Baths are located on the central square of the town. Ruins are left open-air, so its free to visit. These baths must have been oldest building in the town. The oldest survived building of the town is   Palace of Dimitri Gurieli, built in 1863, used to be a residence of the noble family, which is now used as a residence of the local Bishop of Georgian Orthodox Church. XIX century typical Gurian wooden houses, with balconies and tile roofs can be found scattered in the town.

The city center is dominated by a   Dramatic Theater- the second largest theater building in Georgia, with statue of Alexander Tsutsunava, famous Georgian movie director, born in Ozurgeti. The city center extends along the Chavchavadze street north to the quite remarkable train station. All around are typical magnificent Soviet buildings of the 1930s to the 1960s, in the classical style, such as   Former movie theater - built in 1930s and renovated 1980s, but nonfunctional yet and   former hotel - constructivist building from the 1970s. Slightly away from the town center is a industrial complex of a   clay factory with glorious Soviet residential and administrative buildings and wall mosaics. Also worthy is a   mural at a sports school near the train station. Another Soviet industrial and administrative building can be found in   Anaseuli, an outskirt in south-western part of the town.

There are also two newly built, Postmodern architecture buildings: Police Office (2009) and Public Service Hall (2012).

Museums and galleries

Historical Museum of Ozurgeti has been founded in 1936 y. nowadays more than 6000 exhibits are saved in the funds of the museum, which chronology consists the period since IX millennium of BC until today. Numerous unique materials have been accumulated during 75 years in the founds of Ozurgeti Historical Museum, at list there are Neolithic stone weapons, produced 7000 years ago, Best models of Kolkhian culture from Early, Middle and Late Bronze age, collections of Kolkhian axes; burial ground stocks aged with Late Bronze- Early Iron period; Golden and silver things of Antique period: golden breastplate, the fragment of golden bracelet (both of them are beautified with Almandine crystal); silver dish, measuring-glass; The water pipes, heads of the columns, the thing for incense, glass of the window, the brick for building; diversified numismatic collections: Kolkhian Tetri of VI-III centuries from BC, golden coin of Alexander Macedonian; the coins of georgian Kings; Silver, rare European coins; well-known Rapier of Napoleon, many historical photos, documentary materials.

Here are archaeological artifacts exhibited, as well as an exhibition on the life of Ektwmie Takaischwili can be seen. Museum itself is located in old Gurian type wooden house, with fireplace and balcony.

Parks and gardens

Platanus garden

Ozurgeti is known for its gardens, some of them date back to XIX century. Scottish gardener Jacob Mar developed town garden in early 1810s fot his client Principal of Guria Mamia III Gurieli. That garden now is divided into three parts:   Platanus garden is in front of Theater building and has access to free WI-Fi, platanus trees make a "მ" (M in Georgian Alphabet) shape; so called   Samkuthkha (triangle garden) is on the right side of the Theater building and has an open-air mini-football ground, there is, also, Statue of Alexander Tsutsunava, famous Georgian director, who was born in Ozurgeti and Ozurgeti dramatic Theater is named after him; and former   "Beria Park", which is located in front of Dimitri Gurieli's palace. Slightly south of the park, a car-free area with a Soviet-era   mermaid sculpture and musical fountain can be found.

Other parks are:

Around the town

Shemoqmedi church
Jumati monastery, 1877-1878

Do

Activities

view of Ozurgeti

Festivals and performances

Sports Palace

Sports

Despite Georgia's failure to score a major success since independence, football (soccer) remain the most popular sport in the country, and Ozurgeti as well. The town has two major sports clubs - Mertskhali (the swallow), which has the home ground   Megobroba (friendship) and Rugby club Piralebi (robbers), which has the home ground   Zvani field. Sports Season in Georgia lasts from September to May.

Chess, Checkers, backgammon, also domino and card games are very common for Ozurgtei. You can find people sitting in yards and playing games. Feel free to join them, just avoid gambling.

Buy

Ozurgeti market

There are two supermarkets in Ozurgeti:   "Chemi Marketi" (My Market) in the large shopping center on Guria Street and   Moderni on Ekvtime Takaishvili Street. Locally made bread and pastry, named   "Vasadze's Bread" can be found on Gabriel Episkoposi Str., below the church.   Tee and Coffee House is near it.

ATMs

Eat

Restaurant "Gur.ge"

Eating in Ozurgeti is very cheap. Prices per person may be vary from 5 to 10 USD. Do not buy wine in restaurants, its better to buy wine in a shop and take it in restaurant. The best choices are Corn bread, cheese, cucumber and tomato salad, eggplant with nuts, barbecue, kebab, Khachapuri, Beef with potatoes (Ojakhuri), fried chicken in garlic (Shkmeruli).

Cafes

Restaurants

Drink

If you get invited in someones house, your host may also offer you Georgian "chacha," an outrageously potent vodka distilled from grapes.

Sleep

There is only one hotel in Ozurgeti and some Guesthouses. Guesthouses are good opten for budget travelers. They are clean, safe and cheap and give opportunity, to meet local people. A wide range of accommodation are available in the beach resort towns Ureki and Kobuleti, where, however, many businesses are closed during winter.

Talk

See also: Georgian phrasebook

Gurians speak much more quickly than average Georgians from other regions, so it is more complicated to understand them. The older generation speaks Russian fluently, and Armenian as well. The younger generation now studies English. Almost every school in Ozurgeti has a native English-speaking teacher. There are some US and European volunteers who speak English as well. When in need for help, look for younger people; they are more likely to know some English.

Learn

There are no universities in the town. Only one   technical school operates. Wide range of driving schools is in Ozurgeti. It seems easyer to get driver's license in Ozurgeti then in other towns in Georgia.

Work

Working time in Ozurgeti starts at 09:00 or 10:00 and end at 16:00–18:00. Locals like to take an hour lunch break and enjoy their food while socializing with their co-workers. Approaches to punctuality used to be very relaxed. Summer (late July-August) and January are months when people take two weeks or a whole month off work to enjoy vacationing with family. A local wage in Ozurgeti will typically be around 300–400 GEL a month, with only a small section of public servants making in the range of 800–1000 GEL a month.

Foreigners working in Ozurgeti are employed as volunteers. There are volunteers from the US Peace Corps and EVS (European Volunteering Service) volunteers from Poland, Germany, and Lithuania. These volunteers mostly work for the NGOs Young Pedagogues Union, Guria Youth Resource Center and Student Youth Council.

Connect

Free wireless internet is avilable in the Platanus garden and Culture and Resort Park, free internet is avialable in Public Service Hall, also.

There are 3 GSM operators of mobile phone service: Magticom, Geocell and Beeline. Their offices are near each other on the Chavchavadze Str.

Stay safe

Ozurgeti is very safe for travelers. the crime rate is among the lowest in Europe. Most of the streets are illuminated at night. Police cars patrol the streets in the town and can help with any problem. Call 112 in any case of emergency (police, ambulance, fire).

Stay healthy

Tap water is good for drinking in Ozurgeti. Ozurgeti has one of the best tap water among Georgia's cities.

You will find many gym in the Sports Palace, on the second floor. Monthly ticket costs GEl 50 and covers 12 visit to the gym. You can work out in Park of Culture and Resort, where open-air training equipment is available.

Modernized   Hospital hospital is located on the "Seri" hill and is seen from the town center.

There are four pharmacies open 24/7, in front of "Bazari", GPC, PSP, Impex and Aversi.

Cope

There is no Tourist Office or travel agency in Ozurgeti. Nearest tourist offices are available in Ureki and Kobuleti, but only during summer.

Go next

In Guria

There are plenty of buses and minibuses to neighboring villages (generally 0.5 GEL to 2 GEL). Buses and minibuses leave from central bus station in the south part of the town, or from the station on Aghmashenebeli Str, near big roundabout. The best destination may include

villages and rural tourism
Mountain resorts
beach resorts (only in summer)

Other regions

Outside of the Guria region, popular destinations may include Kobuleti and Batumi. There are plenty minibuses, they leave in every hour from 8 AM to 5 PM to Batumi. Travel to Batumi costs 5 GEL, to Kobuleti - 3 GEL.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, December 09, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.