Bakuriani is Georgia’s, Borjomi region’s popular skiing zone. It’s located on 1700 meters altitude on the Trialeti slope’s left side. Bakuriani is surrounded with pine forests(mainly conifers). The skiing area is in 30 km away from Borjomi, on so-called Bakuriani lowland. The city was created on the lava, which dismounted from Mukheri volcano. The highest skiing mountain, Kokhtagora is located on the 2200 meters from the sea level. Bakuriani climate is transitional from continental to mild.
Winter in Bakuriani is cold and snowy, summer is long and warm.The average annual air temperature is 4-3 В° C. In January the average air temperature is 7-3 В° C, and in August it is approximately 15 В° C. Annual precipitation reaches 734 mm. Snow depth from December to March is 64 sm. Georgia Sciences Academy’s famous Botanical garden is located in Bakuriani.
Beautiful nature, excellent climate conditions, with moderate snow cover, fantastic forest surrounding the village, 240 local population – this is a short description of the Bakuriani in 19th century. There are lot of villages in Georgia like this, but certain conditions made this ordinary village the best resort in Georgia.
We will try to name the main circumstances of this transformation :
In XIX century, the Borjomi mineral water, because of its unique medicinal properties, Borjomi valley deserved a great interest. In 1871 Russian Tsar Alexander II granted his brother Mikhail Romanov the Borjomi valley. significant shift happened in the development of valley, Investments were attracted, mineral water bottling plant,resting houses and railways built during the Romanov rule (1898 – 1901). Also Borjomi – Bakuriani narrow-gauge railway was opened during the stewarship of Mikhail Romanov.
Also because of “Guguli”(railway train), Bakuriani began a new life.
The existence of the railway in Bakuriani in 1902-1910, made the Botanical Garden construction on Kokhtagora slope much easier. The building of Botanical garden and its hospitable leader Kozlovski became contributors for beginner skiers.
All those important reasons or conditions would be nothing, without the main factor – human restless dreaming, passion and labour and only after this, the legend was revived and the reality was created. Today its name is – Bakuriani.
Men dreamer case, fortunately turned out to be quite in Georgia.
For that time, skiing boom was in Europe and because of that, Giorgi Nikoladze with his friends started dreaming about the popularization of skiing in Georgia. He was the first, who brought foreign skiers in Bakuriani.
in 1934, PTES(proletarian tourist excursions and society) leased children sanatorium building and founded ski and winter school there.
Remarkable climatic conditions for fox breeding, led to creation of hunting industry in 1932. In the beginning the economy had only 36 pairs of foxes, whose number by 1952 reached 2600. Farm staff, with G. Giorgidze guidance achieved great success in foxes breed improvement. They created and /breeded/ white fox variety and called it “Georgian white fox”. Specialists concluded that scientists failed to create and breed white fox in Western Europe and the US.
1935 year is birth year for Bakuriani as a ski center. In the beginning of January it was already overcrowded. Arrived the TransCaucasian industrial institute(later the Polytechnic institute, and today – the Technical University) students, who were united in the institute skiing section. By institute leader, Bojgua support, students training assemblies in Bakuriani became a tradition. During this period, Tbilisi Medical Institute and State University representatives were sent in Bakuriani.
On 6 January 1935, Ski school of Physical Culture was solemnly opened in Bakuriani. The head of this school was Gogi Bakradze. At the same year, South Caucasian team was formed : Makhashvili, Geladze, Mikaberidze, Kosmachevski, Furceladze, Gvalia, Molovichko,Boiko,Smirnov, Selezniova. Russian skiers were charmed of Bakuriani climate and diversity. They called Bakuriani – “Soviet Skiing Sport Capital”. At the same time in the press Bakuriani was called “Soviet Davos” as well.
In 1950, 45 meters high springboard was built, and then 75 meters high, which attracted more skiing fans from all Europe.
In 1954, In Bakuriani, the first towline was built in Soviet Union. From today’s view it is hard to believe but, until this year, the skiers had to climb the Kokhtagora’s top at the foot.
In 1960, Bakuriani electrification was completed.
In the beginning of 90-ies, Bakuriani is empty, because of the country’s ethnoconflicts and civil wars, Bakuriani dream is destroyed. Bakuriani is in a crisis.
But fortunately, Bakuriani, as the idea, is impossible to disappear. Dreamers continued to believe in this dream and they helped Bakuriani to continue living.
Today Bakuriani arises again : new hotels are built, new ropeways, skiing tracks, new, miracle projects are created. It’s impossible to stop this upgrades. We just have to wish good luck to those people, who do not economy their powers for building and upgrading Bakuriani.