Adjara is an Autonomous Republic within Georgia and the country's premier summer holiday destination. There's nowhere quite like it on a luxuriously warm evening, the coastal cliffs topped by swaying bamboo forests, tea farms and the sun hanging, ablaze over the Black Sea.
The port city of Batumi is the capital of Adjara, an exotic bustling resort town full of energy and self-confidence.
The Autonomous Republic of Adjara was one of Georgia's secessionist provinces. Colonised by Greeks in the 5th century BC, the region fell under Roman rule in the 2nd century BC before being incorporated into the unified Georgian Kingdom and then falling under Ottoman control - neoclassical mini-palaces still line the waterfront. The expanding Russian Empire took over Adjara in the late 19th century before it was ultimately ceded to Georgia.
It was around this time that Adjara became renowned as a seaside jewel, the Black Sea Riviera that families like the Rothschilds and Nobels chose as their elegant summer retreat.
Geography and climate
Adjara is situated in the southwest corner of Georgia, washed by the salty breath of the Black Sea. It's bordered by Turkey to the south and the Georgian region of Guria and the Meskheti Range of hills to the north.
Running from mountains to sea, the region has a wealth of diverse plant and animal species.
Subtropical and temperate in climate, winters are mild and summers are hot. January is Batumi's coldest month, with an average of 7 °C. Summer temperatures hover between 19 °C and 26 °C.
What to see and do
Adjara is Georgia's sunshine coast. The region has a wealth of religious monuments and relics as well as fascinating local traditions and exquisite local dishes.
The ruins of the ancient Petra city-fortress and Gonio-Apsaros Fortress are a real paradise for the lovers of historical and cultural antiquities. The Adjaran highlands also reveal some intriguing sights – the churches and fortresses of Skhalta, Khikhani and Khino in particular.
There are great opportunities in the region for horse-riding with popular routes in the dramatic Kintrishi and Skhalta gorges. Many visitors also come for some of the best birdwatching in Georgia - over 800 000 birds of prey twitter over Batumi during the autumn migration.
But the reason most visitors are drawn to Adjara is for the sun and the sea. An overnight train ride from Tbilisi, the capital of Batumi has numerous restaurants, cafés, pebble beaches, and interesting Roman-Byzantine sites to explore. The seaside park is one of the charms of the city, a green line stretching along the seashore.
Drive up into the hills behind the city to Mtsvane Kontskhi (Green Cape) and wander through the lush, century-old botanical gardens with sweeping views of the city.
There are numerous seaside resorts festooning the coast for swimmers, sun-bleached sunbathers and boating enthusiasts from Kobuleti with its long beach the colour of lightly toasted almonds and the green slopes of Tsikhisdziri. The resort of Chakvi is the historical homeland of Georgian tea.