Hiking to Batumi Hill Cross, Georgia

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Connecting the Dots @ctdotsMay 2019 · 7 min read

Georgia-Sakartvelo-hiking-batumi-cross.jpg

Batumi Hill Cross Hike details:


Location: Batumi
Starting point: Gonio Town
Target: Batumi Hill Cross
Distance(one way): 4.3km
Ascend: ~300m.
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Duration: 1 - 2h

Batumi Hill Cross

As for many things in Georgia, it is impossible to find any information on the Batumi Hill Cross in English language. As to this day it remains somewhat enigmatic to me and I only did this hike, because I saw the cross a day before enlightened on a hill near our hotel.

orthodox church mount mazbek
orthodox church mount mazbek
Small Orthodox Church near Mount Kazbek at around 3900 m. elevation, which makes it the highest located Orthodox Church in the world

Christianity in Georgia

It is no surprise for such a symbol to stand on a hill as such religious statues could be found across Christian countries. Georgian people are proud to be one of the first Christian countries in the world. In a matter of fact, the region is famous for that as a neighbouring country, Armenia is officially the first Christian country in the world. 80% of Georgia’s population belongs to Georgian Orthodox Church, which to my surprise is way more modest compared to other Orthodox Churches I've seen. It is believed that Christianity first was preached in the 1st century AD by Apostles Andrew and Simon, but it was Saint Nino, a woman with a mysterious background, who converted the country into Christianity in 327 AD. The Georgian Kingdom of Kartli (Modern central Georgia) is believed to be the second country to be Christianized.

To this day, every religious object remains free to the public as according to a local belief, religion should be accessible to everybody. The notorious hospitality of Georgian people is linked to Christianity as well, it is believed that every guest is a gift from a good. If you want to read more about that, I would suggest you to read this article about how we ended up drinking at our Taxi driver's house with his family.

Getting to Batumi Hill Cross

There are two ways to reach the cross. First one being way more popular because it proved an access by a car. All you need to do is to exit E70 road to an unnamed one toward the South, once you pass a bridge through Chorokhi River.

The second one is the one we took and the one this entry is all about. The starting point in Gonio can be reached by E70 road from Batumi by car, by Bolt(Taxify), a local taxi or by No. 17 local mini bus. You can find more information on local public transport here.

Facilities by Batumi Hill Cross

Like anywhere else in Georgia, the tourism infrastructure is relatively untouched. Don't expect to find a WC or any food or water on the road, take everything with you.

Hiking to Batumi Hill Cross

After lunching, swimming and a small break at our hotel we decided to hike up to a monument 4,3 km away from our hotel which looked like a giant cross. The ascent was 300 m. And the road was really steep or at least at the start.

Gonio Town Georgia
Gonio Town Georgia

The depths of Gonio town

From the beach, we could only observe a few bigger villas, but apparently, whole mountains are inhabited with smaller houses. What seemed like a small resort town appeared to be a town filled with locals as well. To our surprise, we passed through all kinds of houses, from collapsing old ones to shinning renovated ones. Even traffic was relatively busy. From place to place we found some local folks gathered and discussing their ever-important business. Somewhere else, children were playing their creative never-get-boring games, even some grandpas were slowly crawling the road with their old-but-strong sticks.

Mountain in Gonio Town, Georgia
Mountain in Gonio Town, Georgia

Old doors in Gonio Town. Georgia
Old doors in Gonio Town. Georgia

After 2km and 200 m. Ascension we finally left the asphalt and entered a more wild road which led through ancient conifers with some openings to what was next to come. To our surprise, even though the road seemed hard to find, it was clearly cleaned by someone as the grass was obviously cut and taken away.

Hking near Batumi, Georgia
Hking near Batumi, Georgia

After some walking we entered a wide green grass field, this where space had finally opened up for us and a hard climb turned into an enjoyable hike.

Lesser Caucasus mountains Georgia
Lesser Caucasus mountains Georgia

Mountains near the Black Sea in Georgia
Mountains near the Black Sea in Georgia

Wonderful Panorama of Batumi

The view to the seaside provided a glimpse of Gonio town and our final goal – the cross, the view into mainland was full of valleys and mountains. I didn’t expect that, but thanks to that I know at least know something about how lower Caucasus mountains look like.

Lesser Caucasus Mountains, Georgia
Lesser Caucasus Mountains, Georgia

Hiking to Batumi Cross, Georgia
Hiking to Batumi Cross, Georgia

This part of the hike was relatively easy because we had to traverse from the back of the hill so the road was almost flat and we started to see people again from whom everybody seemed to arrive here by their cars.

Sunset to the Black Sea near Batumi in Georgia
Sunset to the Black Sea near Batumi in Georgia

Taking pictures at every opening we found we slowly climbed to the top. Apparently, there was another, thinner cross to the side of Batumi. The city panorama was probably the biggest surprise of this hike, it looked like you see all of Batumi and could grab it by a hand. The river delta nearby looked like nothing else, but a spilled water.

Mejinistskali River and Batumi panorama by the Black Sea, Georgia
Mejinistskali River and Batumi panorama by the Black Sea, Georgia

Batumi Cross, Georgia
Batumi Cross, Georgia

The Gonio Cross

Near the main cross, there was a lot of people, we hiked up just in time for the sunset. It seemed like a popular place to say good bays to the Sun as the Earth rotates you out of Its vision. It was easy to understand why there are so many people, it was easy to see the sea and even Gonio town with Kvariati peeking from behind a smaller mountain.

Gonio and Kvariati town panorama from the cross
Gonio and Kvariati town panorama from the cross

Cross near Gonio Town. Georgia
Cross near Gonio Town. Georgia

We let Sun set and rushed down to the city for dinner while it was still relatively bright. The steep road was still hard even while descending so we didn’t waste our time breaking and just ran down. After a short walk through the town, we went to a restaurant.

Sunset in Gonio Town by the Black Sea, Georgia
Sunset in Gonio Town by the Black Sea, Georgia

My impressions of visiting Batumi Hill Cross

Though the beginning of the walk is really boring and steep, the second part of the hike is truly awarding. Compared to anything else I've seen in the region, I enjoyed observing the green valleys of Lesser Caucasus Mountains the most. It felt like a true refuge from noisy tourists and locals trying to profit in any way they can.

I recommend doing this hike early in the morning, to observe the rising sun above the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, or in the evening, to see it setting to the Black Sea. Besides that you'll be rewarded with an amazing panorama of Batumi and the little towns nearby. And I'm not even mentioning the big Cross, right?

Nevertheless, this hike has a somewhat sad symbolic meaning to me. This is the last day when I have company, the next day, after my friend leaves to Tbilisi Airport I’ll be the last one left in Georgia.

Hikinh to Batumi Hill Cross Map Georgia
Hikinh to Batumi Hill Cross Map Georgia


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Author: Mantas Ališauskas
Photography: Mantas Ališauskas
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Blog: Connecting the Dots


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I like this post about your hike and all the photos do a great job showing off the area. You have put a lot of work into this!


11

Thank you for your kind words:) I have a dream of becoming a writer, so I don't mind puting the time into these posts.


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Wow, @ctdots! Such an amazing post, what a beautiful place, Batumi Hill! I love all your photographs and your narration is as gorgeous as usual, both informative and personable * ___ *

Every time you post any publication, it is a wonderful treat to my eyes * ___ * !!!


10

Thank you so much for your kind words! Every time I read a comment like this, it is a wonderful treat to my eyes and feelings! ;)


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Thank you @travelfeed @elsaenroute Hope you are having a great day!


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