Batumi is the second largest city of Georgia, located on the coast of the Black Sea in the country's southwest. Situated in a subtropical zone near the foot of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, Batumi is a popular tourist destination known for its varying weather–it is a bustling seaside resort during warm seasons, but can get entirely covered in snow during winter. Much of Batumi's economy revolves around tourism and gambling, but the city is also an important sea port and includes industries like shipbuilding, food processing, and light manufacturing. Since 2010, Batumi has been transformed by the construction of modern high-rise buildings, as well as the restoration of classical 19th century edifices lining its historic Old Town.
Batumi is located on the site of the ancient Greek colony in Colchis called Bathus or Bathys – derived from the Greek phrase βαθύς λιμεν bathus limen or βαθύς λιμήν bathys limin meaning "deep harbor. Under Hadrian (r. 117–138 AD), it was converted into a fortified Roman port and later deserted for the fortress of Petra founded in the time of Justinian I (r. 527–565). Garrisoned by the Roman-Byzantine forces, it was formally a possession of the kingdom of Lazica until being occupied briefly by the Arabs, who did not hold it; in the 9th century it formed part of the Bagratid monarchy of Tao-Klarjeti and at the close of the 10th century of the unified kingdom of Georgia which succeeded it.From 1010, it was governed by the eristavi (viceroy) of the king of Georgia. In the late 15th century, after the disintegration of the Georgian kingdom, Batumi passed to the princes (mtavari) of Guria, a western Georgian principality under the sovereignty of the kings of Imereti.A curious incident occurred in 1444 when a Burgundian flotilla, after a failed crusade against the Ottoman Empire, penetrated the Black Sea and engaged in piracy along its eastern coastline until the Burgundians under the knight Geoffroy de Thoisy were ambushed while landing to raid Vaty, as Europeans then knew Batumi. De Thoisy was taken captive and released through the mediation of the emperor John IV of Trebizond.
Batumi today is one of the main port cities of Georgia. It has the capacity for 80,000-tonne tankers to take materials such as oil that are shipped through Georgia from Central Asia. Additionally, the city exports regional agricultural products. Since 1995 the freight conversion of the port has constantly risen, with an approximate 8 million tonnes in 2001. The annual revenue from the port is estimated at between $200 million and $300 million.Since the change of power in Adjara, Batumi has attracted international investors, and the prices of real estate in the city have trebled since 2001. In July 2007, the seat of the Constitutional Court of Georgia was moved from Tbilisi to Batumi to stimulate regional development. Several new hotels opened after 2009, first the Sheraton in 2010 and the Radisson Blu in 2011. The Trump Tower and the Kempinski was scheduled to open in 2013.Batumi was host to the Russian 12th Military Base. Following the Rose Revolution, the central government pushed for the removal of these forces and reached agreement in 2005 with Moscow. According to the agreement, the process of withdrawal was planned to be completed in 2008, but the Russians completed the transfer of the Batumi base to Georgia on November 13, 2007, ahead of schedule.In 2013, TAM GEO LLC announced it was investing $70 million to start construction of the 170- meter, 45-storey mix-use complex Babillon Tower, which will be tallest residential building in Georgia.
Batumi lies at the southern periphery of the oceanic climate , but it is classified as humid subtropical according to Köppen's classification. The city's climate is heavily influenced by the onshore flow from the Black Sea and is subject to the orographic effect of the nearby hills and mountains, resulting in significant rainfall throughout most of the year, making Batumi the wettest city in both Georgia and the entire Caucasus Region.The average annual temperature in Batumi is approximately 14 °C (57 °F). January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 7 °C (45 °F). August is the hottest month, with an average temperature of 22 °C (72 °F). The absolute minimum recorded temperature is −6 °C (21 °F), and the absolute maximum is 40 °C (104 °F). The number of days with daily temperatures above 10 °C (50 °F) is 239. The city receives 1958 hours of sunshine per year.Batumi's average annual precipitation is 2,718 mm (107.0 in). September is the wettest month with an average of 335 mm (13.2 in) of precipitation, while May is the driest, averaging 92 mm (3.6 in). Batumi generally does not receive significant amounts of snow (accumulating snowfall of more than 30 cm (11.8 in)), and the number of days with snow cover for the year is 12. The average level of relative humidity ranges from 70–80%.