Borjomi

Borjomi

Things to do - general

Famous throughout the former Soviet Union for its salty-sour, love-it-or-hate-it fizzy mineral water, Borjomi is a likeable little resort town in the very green valley of the swift Mtkvari River, 850m above sea level. The town dates from 1829, when some soldiers discovered a health-giving mineral spring here. A Russian governor of the Caucasus, Count Vorontsov, developed Borjomi as a resort, one that became particularly fashionable after Duke Mikhail Romanov (brother of Tsar Alexander II) took a liking to it. In the 1890s Duke Mikhail built a summer residence, the Likani Palace, 2km west of Borjomi’s centre. It’s now a Georgian presidential residence.

After the USSR collapsed, Borjomi’s flow of visitors slowed to a trickle, but things have looked up since the town’s facilities were smartened up a few years ago. It’s popular with Georgians coming to imbibe the waters and with people visiting the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, right on Borjomi’s doorstep. Borjomi is also a good jumping-off point for Vardzia.

The main street, Rustaveli, runs along the northern bank of the Mtkvari. Just before you reach the heart of town (coming from the Tbilisi direction), a white suspension bridge crosses the river to the southern half of town, where Borjomi Park train station and the mineral water park are. Rustaveli becomes Meskheti 300m west of the bridge, continuing 300m more to the bus station and then a further 1km to the national park visitors centre.

Country Georgia
Region Samtskhe - Javakheti
CityBorjomi
Population14000
Languages spokenGeorgian, English, Russian
Phone Code367

Sights

Borjomi Mineral Waters

The most famous and incredible thing about Borjomi is its unique mineral waters that are at least the equal of the worlds best. Its natural high purity and healthy chemical components make it not only pleasant to drink but also a perfect preventive and curative against a number of diseases. The water is rich in the most Important and necessary microelements for life and each spring in the region are characterized by the effect these various properties have on the wildlife. There are hundreds of different springs and each one has its own unique taste and temperature. The water’s curative effects were well known to the locals since ancient times and a stone bathing tub dating back to the 1st century BC was recently found here.

Mineral Water Park

Borjomi’s mineral water park occupies a narrow, wooded valley and is a lovely place to walk. This was where the original mineral spring was discovered, and named Yekaterinsky Spring after the governor’s daughter, who was cured here. The park itself dates from 1850. To reach it, cross the little Borjomula River just east of Borjomi Park station, turn right along 9 Aprili and go 600m. Warm mineral water flows from taps in a pavilion straight in front of the entrance (you can fill bottles with it). Most of the park’s facilities – cafes, fun fair attractions, a cinema and a cable car (1 GEL each way) which will carry you up to a hilltop Ferris wheel – only operate from about late June to early September. If you walk about 3km up- stream through the park, you’ll find a small, natural, spring-fed swimming pool with a constant temperature of about 27°C.

A second public mineral-water spring (this one cold) emerges inside a metal cage over the Borjomula River just outside the park: cross the footbridge opposite 9 Aprili 46, then go left for about 40m. The Borjomi bottling plants draw their water from other mineral springs – there are about 40 in the area.

Borjomi Museum of Local Lore

Housed in the former Romanov offices, off the western end of Rustaveli, the diverse collection includes the first-ever bottle of Borjomi mineral water (1890) and other displays on the waters, plus china and glass from the Romanov palace, and sizeable exhibits of stuffed wildlife and historical paintings (mostly Soviet).

Activities

Sleeping

Borjomi has a handful of hotels, and more than 100 guesthouses and homestays (with shared bathrooms).

Culture and history info

Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park

The ranges of the Lesser Caucasus in southern Georgia are less well known and less high than the Great Caucasus, but they still contain some very beautiful and wild country. Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park provides the perfect chance to get out into this landscape. The park spreads over more than 850 sq km of forested hills and alpine meadows up to 2642m high, north and west of Borjomi.

The park is crisscrossed by nine walking trails of various lengths, most of them well marked and some suitable for horses as well as hikers. Most trails are open from May to October or November. Overnight accommodation is available at five basic shelters, and camping is also possible. Park wildlife includes about 90 brown bears.

The park office and visitors centre is 1km west of central Borjomi (2 GEL by taxi). It provides a free trail map, issues the free permits you need for visiting the park, and can furnish all the information you need, including on horse rentals (50 GEL per day) and drink- ing water sources along the trails. You can pay here for any nights in the park, and rent tents (10 GEL per night) and sleeping bags (5 GEL per night). Park permits are also available at Marelisi, just outside the park’s northern boundary.

Trail 1 (Likani to Marelisi) is a 40km, three- day route crossing the park from south to north via Mt Lomis Mta (2187m). A taxi from Borjomi to its start (2km off the Borjomi– Akhaltsikhe road) should be 5 GEL. A popu- lar day route of five or six hours, with an ascent of 800m, follows Trail 1 up to a clearing about 1760m high, then turns down Trail 6 to come out on the Akhaltsikhe road at Qvabiskhevi. Don’t miss the turning (next to a large park map) where Trail 1 heads off left uphill from the vehicle track that you have followed for the walk’s first 2.7km or so.

You can make Trails 1 and 6 into a two- day hike by continuing up Trail 1 to the Lo- mis Mta tourist shelter for the night. The longest and hardest route is Trail 2 (Atskuri to Marelisi), a north–south route of 50km taking three or four days.

Unfortunately there are no hotels at this location at the moment.

Unfortunately there are no self-catering offers at this location at the moment.

Unfortunately there are no tour offers at this location at the moment.