Hiking Gonio Town — Batumi Hill Cross, 311m

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Batumi Hill Cross Hike details:

Location: Batumi

Batumi Hill Cross

As for many things in Georgia, it is impossible to find any information on the Batumi Hill Cross in English language. As to this day it remains somewhat enigmatic to me and I only did this hike, because I saw the cross a day before enlightened on a hill near our hotel.

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Christianity in Georgia

It is no surprise for such a symbol to stand on a hill as such religious statues could be found across Christian countries. Georgian people are proud to be one of the first Christian countries in the world. In a matter of fact, the region is famous for that as a neighbouring country, Armenia is officially the first Christian country in the world. 80% of Georgia’s population belongs to Georgian Orthodox Church, which to my surprise is way more modest compared to other Orthodox Churches I’ve seen. It is believed that Christianity first was preached in the 1st century AD by Apostles Andrew and Simon, but it was Saint Nino, a woman with a mysterious background, who converted the country into Christianity in 327 AD. The Georgian Kingdom of Kartli (Modern central Georgia) is believed to be the second country to be Christianized.

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Getting to Batumi Hill Cross

There are two ways to reach the cross. First one being way more popular because it proved an access by a car. All you need to do is to exit E70 road to an unnamed one toward the South, once you pass a bridge through Chorokhi River.

Facilities by Batumi Hill Cross

Like anywhere else in Georgia, the tourism infrastructure is relatively untouched. Don’t expect to find a WC or any food or water on the road, take everything with you.

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Hiking to Batumi Hill Cross

After lunching, swimming and a small break at our hotel we decided to hike up to a monument 4,3 km away from our hotel which looked like a giant cross. The ascent was 300 m. And the road was really steep or at least at the start.

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The depths of Gonio town

From the beach, we could only observe a few bigger villas, but apparently, whole mountains are inhabited with smaller houses. What seemed like a small resort town appeared to be a town filled with locals as well. To our surprise, we passed through all kinds of houses, from collapsing old ones to shinning renovated ones. Even traffic was relatively busy. From place to place we found some local folks gathered and discussing their ever-important business. Somewhere else, children were playing their creative never-get-boring games, even some grandpas were slowly crawling the road with their old-but-strong sticks.

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Wonderful Panorama of Batumi

The view to the seaside provided a glimpse of Gonio town and our final goal — the cross, the view into mainland was full of valleys and mountains. I didn’t expect that, but thanks to that I know at least know something about how lower Caucasus mountains look like.

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The Gonio Cross

Near the main cross, there was a lot of people, we hiked up just in time for the sunset. It seemed like a popular place to say good bays to the Sun as the Earth rotates you out of Its vision. It was easy to understand why there are so many people, it was easy to see the sea and even Gonio town with Kvariati peeking from behind a smaller mountain.

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My impressions of visiting Batumi Hill Cross

Though the beginning of the walk is really boring and steep, the second part of the hike is truly awarding. Compared to anything else I’ve seen in the region, I enjoyed observing the green valleys of Lesser Caucasus Mountains the most. It felt like a true refuge from noisy tourists and locals trying to profit in any way they can.

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