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Batoum


Parks/Gardens    EN GR RU

Author: TCHKOIDZE ΕΚΑ

The surroundings of Batumi and the wider region of Adjara had extremely rich flora and fauna. Therefore from the outset the idea was born to be converted into a city park. Professor A. Krasnov (1862-1914)[1], who was the founder (1912) and the first director of the famous Botanical Garden of Batumi, he characteristically stated that the city is able even during winter time to “sink” in green and flowers and to become a worthy resort to those of the Mediterranean and of other renowned resorts overseas.[2]

The whole program of the city tree planting was incorporated from the beginning under the city’s tourism development. Before the 1880s the city had only two private parks.[3] In 1891 the military governor of Oblast of Batumi, A. Smekalov, decided to build around the lake of Nuri-gel a large park. For this purpose he invited the famous German botanist Resler, who since 1873 was in the other important commercial center-port of Georgia, in Poti. There he was invited by a city resident (A. P. Kurkovsky) to create the first “European-style” garden. The agreement between Resler and the local authorities of Batumi took place on April the 1st of 1881 on the basis of a ten-year contract.[4] There was also information about him in the local press.[5] Resler was the first man to introduce tropical and subtropical trees and plants in Georgia. He died in 1884 and he was replaced by a gardener invited from France (Alfons- M.), who took over the management of the park for five years (1885-1890).[6] This park was considered to be right from the beginning as one of the major attractions of the city.[7]

On September the 25th of 1888, Tsar Alexander the 3rd (1881-1891) with his family (and his successor, the future Nickolas the 2nd (1894-1917), the last Tsar of Russia) visited the city park, which occupied the area of 13512 square. All members of the imperial family planted some trees in the park that still exist today. Then this park was named after his father Alexander the 3rd, Alexander the 2nd (1855-1881) and the other seaside park (the so- called Boulevard) after the name of Nickolas the 2nd.[8] This area before the 1880s was covered by water. In 1881, the sea receded 100 meters and at that time the idea was born to build a park there[9], which just in a few years, in the late 19th century, had nothing to be jealous of the famous European parks.[10]

It seems that the position of the general gardener of the city[11] was one of the significant posts that provided for assistance.[12] So along with the director


[1] This is the distinguished geographer-botanist of his time. He was professor of geography at the University of Kharkov. In 1890 he carried out the first in Czarist territory scientific excursions with students as a geographer (as a matter of fact in Svaneti, in NW Georgia). He was the first scientist delegate of the imperial authorities in China, Japan and Sri Lanka in order to study on the spot the tea as a plant and its production in order to lead for its transfer to the coastal regions of Georgia. A brief biography of his is available in http://dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/brokgauz efron/56367/

[2] A. Krasnov (Botanical Garden of Batumi and its importance to the Caucasus and Russia (Russian thought) Moscow 1911, p.35.

[3] “Batumi and its surroundings”, Batumi 1906, p. 637.

[4] P. 638.

[5] For example newspaper Iveria, 1894,# 12.

[6] (Batumi), Tbilisi 1890, p. 640. On the 18th of March of 1889 he was fired and kicked out almost to the police force. It seems that the local authorities did not forgive him for the excessive independence he had acquired. See details, p. 642.

[7] (N. M. Dakishevich), (Batumi), Tbilisi 1890, p. 3.

[8] (N. M. Dakishevich), (Batumi), Tbilisi 1890, p. 3. P. 644 (T. Komkhidze), (History of the development of medical centers and the resort network of the city of Batumi), Batumi 1997, p. 223 with exact details of the flowers and plants that they planted and of the high officials that accompanied them.

[9]See the website of National Parliamentary Library of Georgia: http:// www.nplg.gov.ge/emigrants/en/00000055/

[10] (E. Ericsson), (“Memories on Batumi and its surroundings), Moscow 1899, (Natural Science and geography), Number 6, 1899, p. 101, (“Batumi and its surroundings”), Batumi 1906, p. 29.

[11] The seaside park of the city, the so-called Boulevard, had its own gardener, who was paid 800 rubles plus 400 rubles for accommodation annually, while the assistant was paid 420 rubles. The staff only of the park consisted of 12 other assistants and guards who received between 20 and 25 rubles per month. The total expenses for the maintenance of the gardens amounted 8.5 thousand rubles annually. By 1906 a total of 115 thousand rubles were spent for the construction and all costs of parks, boulevards and gardens, p. 645.

One of the distinguished assistant gardeners was the famous scientist Jason Gordeziani who was invited as assistant to I. Lionidze in 1903. During his tenure in Batumi they planted many palm trees and a variety of decorative plants/flowers. During the same period special nurseries were created. In the period between 1903 and 1913, I. Gordeziani studied in France. Then he worked and did his research in several European countries (Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, and England). In 1913 he was invited by A. Krasnov who appointed him as Director of the Botanical Garden of the city where he remained until 1925. By his initiative there were established sections in the garden with plants from Japan, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, America and European countries. Information on his action is available on the website of the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia: http://www.nplg.gov.ge/emigrants/en/00000055/.

Botanical Garden, these two were responsible for planting and decorating the city. This tradition continued in the Soviet time, although the emphasis was now given to the coastal towns of Abkhazia which were considered the most important resorts throughout the Soviet Union.


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