Although Zugdidi might not be on your ultimate travel list to Georgia, it’s interesting to know that there are top places to visit in Zugdidi, Georgia, that you can’t afford to miss. This small capital of the lush and green Samegrelo province is an old city in a strategic location in Georgia. There are a couple of well-known attractions here. Zugdidi is also the biggest city and capital of Western Georgia’s Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region, with an interesting and strong cultural identity. Here are the top ten places to visit in Zugdidi, Georgia;
1. Dadiani Palace:
The ultimate and top place to visit in Zugdidi, Georgia, is the Dadiani Palace. It is a popular tourist attraction and a stately building located in the centre of a pristine ground adjacent to the Botanical Garden. In addition, the Dadiani royal complex consists of two large palaces, a monastery, and the family’s private estate, which is now a garden. The palace is distinct with its mix of neolithic and oriental elements and an elegant interior of Russian-Parisian vibes. Furthermore, there is the Dadiani Palace Museum which has a display of about 45000 items and some kept from the 10th century.
2. Enjoy the Evolution Of Post Bas-Relief:
Designed by the sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, the creation of bas-relief started in the 1980s. The relief shows the evolution of postal service across the world. Although most people walk by this relief without noticing or knowing the details, it is an incredible and fascinating art to admire and learn how postal services have developed over the years. The relief is on one side of the post office in Zugdidi above eye level.
3. Saint Virgin Mary of Vlacherna Church:
The church is situated very near the Dadiani palace. Known as the 19th-century church of the Saint Virgin Mary of Vlacherna, it’s best to visit during July. Every year in July, The Vlacherna church hosts a large pilgrimage festival where a robe, believed to be from Saint Mary, is taken from the Dadiani palace museum and brought into the church.
4. The Zugdidi Botanical Garden:
After the completion of the House of Dadiani, the family’s private palace grounds got altered into a stunning and accessible garden. Although it is more of a conservatory that displays different types of exotic trees rather than flowers or shrubs, the garden features an artificial lake and a tree-lined alleyway that cuts through the middle of the garden. Also, there is a wide range of other things to see, such as a greenhouse, a gardener’s house and the fascinating ruins of an orangery.
5. Rukhi Castle:
Rukhi is one of the must-visit destinations and the oldest village near Zugdidi. Rukhi is primarily famous for the medieval Rukhi castle built by Levan Dadiani. Built near Zugdidi and the Engiri River, the castle was to protect Zugdidi from invaders. In addition, a visit to the ruins of Rukhi castle is a half-day trip from Zugdidi. The castle is at the border with Abkhazia. However, get yourself ready to see the most breathtaking views from the top of the ruins.
6. Rukhi Soviet Mosaics:
Apart from making a trip to the Rukhi castle, you can also catch a glimpse of the beautiful Soviet Mosaics. You can walk from the Rukhi castle along the main road through the village to see these mosaics. Here, you will learn more about Rukhi’s history and how it was a critical tea-planting area in Soviet times. Furthermore, you’ll see these mosaics in the school, church, old cinema and the former palace of culture, which features more stunning mosaics.
7. Folk House Zugdidi:
Book a visit to Folk House for a moment you will never forget. This is undoubtedly one of the top places to visit in Zugdidi, Georgia. It is a one-person project owned by Besiki Tshitanava. He is a talented Megrelian who has dedicated most of his life to preserving and sharing his ethnic traditions. However, the folk house is home to artefacts, tools and instruments native to the region. The museum-studio-restaurant offers you cooking demonstrations by Besiki as well as a meal.
8. Megrelian Cuisine at Diaroni:
One of the top things to do in Zugdidi is to try its different popular dishes. Moreover, each region of Georgia has unique cuisines, which makes the meals in Georgia very diverse. The best place to enjoy a satisfying food trip in Zugdidi is the Diaroni restaurant. One of the most recommended meals you need to try here is the Megrelian cuisine. It is a spicy dish rich in aromas and flavors and known for being hot and spicy.
9. The Black Sea coast:
The Black Sea Coast is one of the top places to visit in Zugdidi, Georgia. There is a part of the black sea coast that spans to the Samegrelo region where Anaklia and Ganmukhuri beaches are the favorite destinations among locals during the summer months. The beaches are pebble and located very close to Zugdidi. Although the River Enguri brings a bit of dirt when it connects to the Black Sea in Anaklia, Ganmukhuri is the cleanest beach to visit in terms of swimming.
10. Zugdidi’s Handicraft Market:
The Samegrelo region is known for their handicrafts and folk traditions, including masonry clay pottery and wood carving. You can see some of these skills displayed at Zugdidi’s Handicraft Market. However, the market is a small bazaar held every weekend in front of the Botanical Garden. It is undoubtedly a great spot to shop for souvenirs and offer support to the local entrepreneurs in Zugdidi.