On the southern slopes of the Meskheti Range, overgrown with coniferous forests, is the famous resort of Abastumani (Georgia). It is famous for its climate, which is ideal for the treatment of lung diseases. In the spring period of pollination of pine, the air is saturated with yellow pollen, which favorably affects the respiratory tract. In addition to the climate, Abastumani became famous for its unique hyperthermal, low-mineralized sources. Thanks to their mineral waters, it is possible to recover from many diseases (gynecological, nervous system, musculoskeletal system, etc.).
Abastumani is a small village with a population of about 1.5 thousand people. It is located almost 240 km from Tbilisi and close (76 km) from the more famous resort of Borjomi . The village (about five kilometers long) is located along the picturesque gorge of the Otskhe River.
A bit of history
About the healing properties of this village was known 150 years ago.
To breathe clean air, to be treated with mineral waters and just to admire the beauty of nature, the Russian Empire came to know.
But the first who appreciated the resort of Abastumani was the brother of Tsar Nikolai Gregory. He had suffered from tuberculosis for a long time, and according to the urgent recommendations of the doctors, it was decided to send him to this village. Here for the royal family built a summer (wooden) and winter (stone) houses, which have survived to this day. Tsarevich Grigory lived here a quarter of his life and felt great. Improving his well-being, he was obliged to unusually clean air, which, according to the humorous assertion of the locals, can be “eaten with a spoon.”
In Soviet times, this village was remembered after 1932, when the Georgian National Astrophysical Observatory was created. It turned out that this is an ideal place not only for observing stars, but also for restoring health. Famous mineral springs were supplemented by sanatoriums, a bathroom building, a tuberculosis hospital and a polyclinic).
Today, Abastumani sanatoriums are attracted to improve their health and relax, as a rule, by residents of the CIS countries. Currently, the appearance of the village is poor – the facades of many buildings need restoration, roads need repair. But, nevertheless, Abastumani is changing every year: European-class hotels, bars and cafes are being built.
For several centuries, Abastumani has been famous for its thermal springs. In the past and present, they were used for swimming. At the expense of the imperial family, baths were built here, which operate in our days.
The bathhouse itself is a concrete building with pools located inside. They are filled with sulfuric water, which has amazing healing properties. The water temperature in the pool is about 40 degrees.
According to the reviews of those who were immersed in sulfuric water, the sensations after swimming are amazing – as if they were born again. For visiting the pool you need to pay 5 GEL. The attending physician will prescribe the number of sessions – there must be at least 10 sessions to improve the body.
Abastumani on the map of Georgia.
What to see in Abastumani
The main attraction of Abastumani is the observatory. No less interesting for tourists will be the Church of St. Alexander Nevsky and the Romanov Palace.
Created in 1932, it was the first observatory in the USSR, which worked in high altitude conditions. It is located at an altitude of more than 1600 meters above sea level and is located eight kilometers from the village. This facility is ideal for observing the planets, thanks to its surprisingly clear air and the complete absence of fogs.
The idea of creating an observatory is connected with the time of stay of Tsarevich George here. In his retinue was the astronomer Glazenap Sergey, who brought a telescope here to study the stars. He first realized that the process of observing planets depends on air quality. A small dome-shaped building was built near the palace and a telescope was installed there.
In Soviet times, the observatory was moved to Mount Kanobili, due to which the quality of observations improved significantly.
Interesting fact! In 1935, a small planet was discovered, which was given the name Abastumani.
The institution occupies a significant territory and consists of many buildings equipped with and without telescopes, residential five-story buildings and other buildings. This place from the village of Abastumani in Georgia can be reached by mountain serpentine or by cable car. However, the schedule of the cable car is not very convenient, and it closes at 18 hours. Therefore, it is best to take a taxi.
A day tour costs 4 GEL (about one and a half dollars), but the most interesting can be seen on a starry night. The ability to view celestial bodies in the dark until 23:00 will cost 6 GEL, and after 23:00 and until 03:00 at night, the ticket costs 20 GEL. But you will see the Moon as “in the palm of your hand” – its relief and craters, as well as many interesting things in unlimited Cosmos.
There are not many cable cars in Georgia, but there is one in Abastumani. The cable car here has a distinctive feature – it rises very high uphill and stretches far through the forest. The cableway cabins depart from the Grove station located below and move up to the Observatory. The fare is 1 GEL.
A disadvantage of the local cable car is its schedule. She works from 8:00 to 18:00 with an interval between flights of 1-2 hours. Therefore, getting on the evening excursions that begin after 20:00 will not work.
The temple in Abastumani began to be built in 1896 by decision of Tsarevich George. The church was dedicated to Alexander Nevsky and was created in the style of the most ancient architectural monuments of Georgia. Outwardly, it is very similar to the ancient temple of the Zarzma monastery.
The wall painting of the church was entrusted to the Russian artist Mikhail Nesterov, for whom it was the first independent work. Unfortunately, the prince did not live to see the decoration of the temple. He died of consumption in 1899, and the painting was completed in 1904.
With the advent of Soviet power, the church was abandoned and served as utility rooms. And only in 2004 it was completely restored, and the paintings on the walls were restored. Today she looks very elegant and solemn.
- The Alexander Nevsky Temple in Abastumani is open from 9:00 to 19:00.
- The entrance is free.
The residence of the Romanov family was built in the 19th century, when Tsarevich George was recommended by doctors to change the climate for health reasons. These were two houses (wooden and stone), standing opposite each other. They were separated by the Otskhe River, and a beautiful park surrounded. It’s hard to call these buildings palaces – only the graceful decoration of balconies and small carved columns made the buildings unlike simple huts.
Members of the royal family regularly visited George. Here you could have a great rest and improve your health. But after his death, the resort of Abastumani in Georgia for many years lost its popularity.
Now both buildings are in good condition, however, utility outbuildings have become unusable. Some of them were given to the convent.
Where to settle
The infrastructure in Abastumani is not very well developed, but the resort can satisfy the basic needs of tourists. In the village there are several hotels of different price categories. Book rooms better in advance. So accommodation at the Abastumani Residence hotel will cost from $ 60 per day (breakfast included). A modest room at the Sastumro Abastumani guesthouse will cost $ 30-40 depending on the season.
In addition to hotels, there is housing in the private sector. You can stay in a comfortable house for less than $ 20 per day. Moreover, this amount includes food and bathing in a sulfur bath. So the prices at the resort of Abastumani are quite reasonable.
Climate in Abastumani
The climate in these parts is quite mild. It is not hot here in summer: + 20 … + 25 degrees. during the day and + 8 … + 10 at night. Snow lies all winter, the temperature in winter is -1 … -2 degrees. in the daytime and -6 … -10 in the dark.
The air temperature in Abastumani is favorable for rest and treatment throughout the year. But if there is an opportunity it is better not to plan a trip for May-June – these are the rainiest months, precipitation falls almost every other day. There are no strong winds in these places. The mountains are covered with coniferous forests, which saturate the air with pleasant aromas and phytoncides useful for human health.
How to get to Abastumani
If you decide to go to Abastumani, first you need to get to the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi. From there, from the bus station near the Didube metro station, minibuses go to Akhaltsikhe every half hour. The journey takes about five hours. The fare is 12 GEL. From Akhaltsikhe to the resort of Abastumani, drive about forty minutes. Minibuses go every hour, a ticket costs 2 GEL.
If financial opportunities allow, it is very convenient to take a taxi for the day. It is necessary to bargain with taxi drivers – you can significantly “bring down” the originally named price of 20-50 percent. Traveling from Akhaltsikhe to Abastumani and back, with a stop in all the places of interest, will cost about 60 GEL.
Prices on the page are for May 2019.
Video: what the Abastumani Observatory looks like inside and a view of the resort from above.