From Academic Kids

A view of Batumi, circa, 1911, towards the mountains
A view of Batumi, circa, 1911, towards the mountains

Batumi (also Batum or Batoum) is a seaside city (population: approximately 137,000) on the Black Sea coast and capital of Ajaria, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia.

Batumi, with its large port and commercial center, is also the last stop of the Trans-Caucasian railroad and the Baku oil pipeline. It is situated some 20 km (12 mi) from the Turkish border, in a subtropical zone, rich in citrus fruit and tea. Industries include oil refineries, shipbuilding, food processing, and light manufacturing.

Batumi is located on the site of the ancient Greek colony of Batis. It has been known since the 11th century for its fortifications. A part of Georgia since the Middle Ages, it came under Turkish rule in the 16th century and was annexed by Russia in 1878 in accordance with Treaty of San Stefano between Russia and the Ottoman Empire (ratified on March 23). Instead, accordingly to Secret Anglo-Ottoman agreement, Ottomans were to be allowed to occupy Cyprus - "Cuprum probatum". Joseph Stalin was in the city in 1901 to organize strikes.

Unrest during World War I led to Turkey re-entering in April 1918, followed by the British in December, who stayed until July 1920. Then Kemal Ataturk ceded it to Lenin's Bolsheviks, on the condition that it be granted autonomy, for the sake of the Muslims among Batum's mixed population. When the U.S.S.R. collapsed, Aslan Abashidze was the appointed head of Ajaria's governing council and subsequently held onto power. In May 2004 he fled the region to Russia because of mass protests against his rule.

The town is home to all the major religions of the Caucasus, with a mixed population of Catholics, Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church, Muslims, and Jews. Attractions include the Ajar Museum, botanical gardens, which were started by professor Krasnov (brother of the general Pyotr Krasnov), aquarium - the only one in the former USSR, circus, and a former resort area along the Black Sea coast.

The stamps of Batumi

Missing image
Batumi, Georgia stamps from British Empire occupation with overprint

During the British occupation, the stock of postage stamps started to run out, and so in February 1919 the administration produced its own stamps. These were imperforate, depicted an aloe tree and were inscribed БАТУМСКАЯ ПОЧТА (BATUMSKAYA POCHTA). The British later overprinted these with "BRITISH OCCUPATION", and surcharged the remaining Russian stamps in a variety of styles. Inflation also took hold, and by 1920, the tree stamps, which had been as little as 5 kopecks, had to be reprinted in denominations up to 50 rubles. Despite the short period of British rule, the tree stamps exist in large numbers (probably additional ones were printed after the occupation was over), but the overprinted Russian stamps are not common, and in 2003 some command prices of over $500 USD.

External links

ca:Batum da:Batumi de:Batumi et:Bathumi eo:Batumi ka:ბათუმი ja:バトゥミ nl:Batoemi no:Batumi pl:Batumi ro:Batumi ru:Батуми uk:Батумі sv:Batumi sr:Батуми


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