This time, I will take you to Zugdidi which is situated in the Western Georgian historical province of Samargelo. It is the capital of the Samargelo-Zemo Svaneti region and the centre of the Zugdidi Municipality. The city serves as an important transport junction between Tbilisi/Kutaisi, Batumi, and Mestia in the Greater Caucasus Mountains.
It is the most dominant city in the region with a relatively large, but decreasing population. In 2002, according to the official census statistics, there lived 68,535 people in Zugdidi, in 2014 this number was as low as 42,998. As you walk through the town centre, this is an image that you get as it seems the local population is majorly composed of 'old' people.
During our visit, we focused on the urban/social 'attractions' which included long walks in the residential areas of block-houses and an interactive walk through the local market. We also discovered Zugdidi's not-so-hidden treasures including the Dadiani Palace and gardens, the city boulevard, and the currently revitalised Botanical Garden.
The Soviet-era architecture is still prominent in Zugdidi, but besides from a decreasing population, one can see some signs of modernisation too. It is one of the places in Georgia that certainly makes you feel like you are a time traveller and also an outsider as people here do not seem to get many tourists. This might be because even just a decade ago, Russian soldiers occupied parts of Georgia during the Russian-Georgian war, as it is very near the border to Abkhazia. This certainly has an impact on the population and also the incoming investments. Still, Zugdidi has treasures that are worth checking out. Have a look at my photos.
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