Unlike many of Georgia’s cities with their long and complicated histories, Poti was the result of a project aimed at creating a port city. Renowned 19th - 20th century public figure Niko Nikoladze played a major role in the development and foundation of the city. Alongside German architect Edmund Frick, Nikoladze planned Poti to mirror the boulevards of Paris, with elegant houses, spacious yards, and exceptional symmetry to rival that of any European city.
From May to October each year, Poti comes alive as a popular seaside resort. The Black Sea waters are especially shallow and warm here, making beaches such as Maltakva Beach popular choices for families with young children. Of course, there is plenty to entertain adults in Poti as well, with water skiing, jet skiing, sailing, and other water sports on offer.
Poti is also a great place for foodies. Tourists especially love the Megrelian chashushuli (veal with tomatoes), kupati, and elarji.
Poti’s unique architecture is perhaps best exemplified by the Resurrection of the Savior Cathedral. Located in a small park in the heart of the city, the cathedral is built in the Byzantine style as a miniature recreation of the Hagia Sophia. Nowhere else in Georgia will you find a church in this style.
There is also the statue of the famous French writer Alexandre Dumas in this park. Dumas spent a great deal of time in Poti during his trip through the Caucasus, and was present at the ceremony that opened the city’s port.
Poti Lighthouse is also worth visiting. Built by the British company Easton Amos and Son, it was first lit in 1864 and its light has not been extinguished since. Locals say that the lighthouse was saved from Nazi torpedoes during World War II through the vigilance of its overseer.
In southeastern Poti lies the third-largest lake in Georgia, Paliastomi. Set within Kolkheti National Park, the lake is a popular destination for both boating and fishing, although fishing does require a permit from the park’s administration.
Lake Paliastomi is also an amazing place for birdwatchers. Birds migrate through the area in early spring and late autumn, darkening the sky with their numbers.
If you think you’ve seen it all in Georgia, Poti might just prove you wrong. It is a city quite unlike anywhere else in the country.