Guest post by: Anya Sapharova

When traveling to Georgia people can easily differentiate busy cities from rural towns. Loaded roads of, for example, Tbilisi and Batumi altogether with endless shop windows create and image of modern cities whereas resorts like Bakuriani or Surami are in the list of the urban-type settlements of Georgia.

Rural life in Sakartvelo has its own beauty and can even be called exotic. Caucasus region is not fully tamed by industrialization yet and many towns still live the life of good old days, reluctantly leading themselves to the pillars of developed world.

Wrecked Soviet car in Borjomi

Wrecked Soviet car in Borjomi

Soviet past has left its footprint on Georgia and that is why many settlements and villages have the spirit of 80s and 90s. Colorful and exotic diversity make Georgia an exceptional place to visit no matter what time of the year it is.

While talking about urbanization and villages in Georgia it is impossible not to mention a small town that cannot be categorized in any division.

Borjomi

View to Borjomi

The town ia situated in the mountains and for a big surprise it is not a hard-to-reach place. Borjomi – a famous mineral water resort that is a real discovery for people who speak the language of nature and peacefulness. It is very common to see houses popping out of fir-trees like copper mushrooms on the sides of the mountains. Green is the actual color of the territory as the town is surrounded by a forest. The town itself is like a big park excepting the center which always is under the big sunny umbrella. In summer air is fresher comparatively to other Georgian cities in the valleys though no one will leave Borjomi without getting mountain tan. The time seems to flow really slowly and motivates guests to find the ways to entertain themselves, like for example, having long walks in the forest or just by examining the streets of hospitable and fainéant Borjomi. You won’t find Opera Halls or immense music clubs with loud music so mostly you have to rely on your imagination how to make the day memorable. By the way, it is interesting to know that the town that was frequently visited by Joseph Stalin and Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

When arriving in Borjomi you may question yourself ‘Where should I get the directions?’ or ‘Where can I stay overnight?’ but better to calm down and just enjoy your arrival. Locals will help you to find the tourist office that is right near the station. By the way, mostly guests rent a room from the locals and live right in their houses, sometimes sharing the bathroom though you may find nice-looking rooms in the hostels that are mostly grouped in the street (9 April str.) that leads to the Central Park.

After having found accommodation it is time to explore Borjomi! You will immediately notice three bridges – one of them is suspension bridge, in the center of the town. The closest to the city entrance is called ‘The Bridge of Beauty’ that is illuminated at night. It leads to the Central Park and as it finishes you appear at the railway. That place always has the scent of burnt rubber and gives flashbacks of romantic movies with old trains.

In the parallel of the Bridge of Beauty there is a suspension bridge. You can find men with fishing rods, calmly waiting for the fish to bite. It ends up at the terminus and a little source with drinking water. In past people often created long queues to fill plastic bottles with water as previously there were problems with pipes in the city. Nowadays water is drinkable from the tap.

The third bridge is right above the bazari (Georgian wholesale market) and it gives a panoramic view of the deep-green mountains as this bridge is a little bit elevated. It goes through a short street that connects to a Small Park, not far from the Central Park.

It goes without saying that the main tourist attraction is the Central Park itself (entrance fee is 2 GEL) where you can drink salutary mineral water Borjomi, the world-known brand. People with gastrointestinal problems visit the place and go through a course of treatment that miraculously heals digestive system. The Central Park is the favorite place of families, especially the ones with children. You can find cozy cafes right at the bank of the river, take interesting pictures, ride carousels, and even go jogging!

Borjomi Spring water Dome house

Borjomi Spring water Dome house 

A road that goes into a thicker part of the forest at the place where park’s territory ends you may find a pool and sulfur baths. The way is not very short but the beauty of the forest with the play of the sunlight in the tree branches will make your heart beat faster. The town of Borjomi really deserves a great attention from the tourists as the atmosphere is really unprecedented. You feel at home and lost somewhere in the greenery at the same time.

Open air sulphur pools in Borjomi

Open air sulphur pools in Borjomi

Not less consideration is given to the Small Park that you have to pass before getting to the Central Park. It is a small place with just one path where you can see vendors selling their merchandise (mostly toys, honey, or fir-cone jam).

Near the Small Park there is an interesting café called ‘Turisto’ that suggests a big variety of Georgian dishes that are cooked with a great hospitality. The interior of the café is eye-catching and atmospheric. The owner is the cook himself and likes to speak Russian.

After passing the café you will have to walk once more on the Bridge of Beauty and cross the street. If you look up you will see an interesting construction on the upper hill that looks like an abandoned fortress. It is Gogias Tsikhe that remained from medieval times. Even though not much has been preserved you can get a broad view of Borjomi scenery from the top of the hill. The best option to get there is by asking for information at the tourist office or you may start your journey from Nino Tsminda Street and get directions from the local people who can be sitting on the benches as if waiting for passerby.

Borjomi changes your heart and purifies soul. That might be the true miraculous power of the mountains and clear fresh air or the reason may lay in the climate and tasty organic fruit and vegetables of the district. Still without any doubt the memory of this place will always stay alive no matter who you are and where you came from.