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Batumi, Georgia

Georgia’s Black Sea resort displays a menagerie of architectural styles reflecting its long and checkered history. From the ancient Greek Gonio Fortress dating from as early as the 17th century BC, through the Ottoman period, Imperial Russian, then Soviet and Communist eras, all are on show. Although it is an important seaport, today it remains essentially a resort to visitors, attracted by its subtropical climate, shingle beaches and the sulfuric hot springs that bubble up in the region. The Batumi Archaeological Museum is a small museum with a big collection, thousands of artifacts gleaned from the area dating from the stone age forward. Georgian wines are famous, as are the walnuts from its groves. One eye-catching curiosity is the Alphabetic Tower, a modern, 130-meter high structure depicting the 33 letters of the unique Georgian alphabet arrayed along its sides.