Machakhela National Park
Machakhela National Park was founded in 2012, in the valley of Machakhlistskali, Khelvachauri Municipality, Adjara region. Supported by CNF (Caucasus Nature Fund), Machakhela National Park preserves unique biological, landscape biodiversity and ecosystem of Colchic forests, maintaining environmental tourism, recreational activities and ecological safety long term. The park area totals 8733 hectares and is divided into 3 zones:
- Traditional use zone - 7203.9 hectares
- Reserve zone - 1178.2 hectares
- Regulable protected area- 350.9 hectares
Machakhela ecozone is located at the administrative border of Khelvachauri and Keda Municipalities, in Machakhela River Valley and is part of the environmental corridor-Kolkheti biogeographical region, which links together protected areas of south-west Georgia (Mtirala National Park and Kintrishi Protected Areas) and north-east Turkey (Jamil Biosphere Reserve). It is also a member of Emerald Network, involved in 34 internationally important spots of conservation.
Situated close to the Turkish border, Machakhela Park boasts about 548 species of plants, out of which 55 are endemic, 25-Colchic, 21-Caucasian, 4 Adjara-Lazeti, 3 of them are species of Georgia, and 2-Adjarian. The park territory, 500-600 meters above sea level, is covered by 95% of forest and bush, expanding protection of the diverse ecosystems of Colchic forests-tropical and sub-tropical habitats, which are rich in relict plants of the tertiary period, some of them listed in the Red Book of Georgia: chestnut copse, Colchic boxwood, rhododendron, Georgian nut, yew, elm, hazel-nut, sycamore, bot sumach; 500-1000 (1200) meters above sea level: ash-tree, bot lime, hornbeam, ash, Chestnut, white bot acacia; 1000-1500 (1800) meters above sea level: red beech copse, which consists of hornbeam, Colchic plush, laurel, pontic rhododendron, bot Jupiter’s distaff, bot maple, strawberry, bot medlar.
The park provides a habitat for a wide variety of fauna, presented by 92 species of birds, 43 species of mammals, 31-fish. Among them: wolves, jackals, martens, badgers, roe deer, squirrels, wild boars, as well as the brown bear, lynx, and chamois listed in the Red List of Georgia.
Besides having a great diversity of plants and animals, Machakhela National Park is remarkable for its historical and cultural monuments as well:
- Middle Ages Arch Bridges (Tamara Arch Bridges)-there are centuries-old arch bridges in Machakhela Valley, 2 km far from Machakhela National Park’s Administration and 27 km from Batumi. Chomakhisuri Arch Bridge is located in the village Kokoleti, 8 km far from the administration building, 33 km from Batumi. Chkheri Arch Bridge is located 15 km far from Machakhela Valley and 40 km from Batumi. These bridges are constructed in the feudal era. The biggest of them is Tskhemlara Bridge, with a length of 25 m and width-2 m.
- Machakhela Historical-Ethnographic Museum-stands in Machakhela gorge, the village of Zemo Chkhutuneti, 14 km from the administrative building and 39 km far from Batumi, The museum has been functioning since June 9, 1984. The resident of Zeda Chkhutuneti village-Zurab Nagervadze is the initiator and founder of the museum. Located in the three-storey building of the former Turkish mosque, the museum presents more than 800 exhibits characteristic of the valley and ethnographic items depicting the culture, religion, and history of locals. Here you will see archaeological materials, a mock-room of the ancient dwelling of local residents, household utensils, weapons, antique pieces of furniture, pottery, silver jewelry-dowry of local brides, carved wood from local breeds, paintings and craft works of local artists, products made of wood, silver or clay, documental materials, and photos. Traces of former Turkish rules are also preserved here-under the ceiling there are a small ornamental dome, carved walls, and stairs. The work on carving and painting was performed by Georgian masters, who in protest against the Ottoman Empire rule, secretly weaved into the ornament elements of the Georgian painting-grape brushes with antennae. Surprisingly, no one noticed this, and these patterns have survived to this day.
- Matchakhela Gun Monument-located 7 km far from Machakhela National Park Administration and 18 km from Batumi. Since the 18th-century Machakhela gorge was rich with blacksmiths and forges where weapons, household, and agricultural implements were manufactured. The monument to a Gun was built here in 2007, as a symbol of pistol and gun-making traditions. “Machakhela Topi”-the gun is still kept in the museum, being a special pride of local residents.
- Siege-Gun-was used during World War II. It is located 1 km far from Machakhela National Park’s administration and 26 km from Batumi.
- Gvara Fortress-built in the 5th-6th century AD. on a hill, the fortress is located 300 meters away from river Chorokhi and Machakhela water inflow, 9 km from Machakhela National Park’s Administration and 20 km far from Batumi. Gvara had great strategic importance because of its successful geographical location, which allowed the owners to control two gorges and roads passing there, over the way to the black sea. At present, most of the fortress walls are destroyed, especially in the south and north-west. The remaining ones reach a height of 5-6 meters. Upon arrival, one needs to go down the 300 steps that lead directly to the fortress.
- Chkhutuneti Fortress-dating back to the 9th-13th centuries, the fortress is located in Chokhatauri, 5 km from the crossroad of villages Chkhutuneti and Chikuneti, 30 km far from Batumi.
- The cellar of 15th Century-located in village Chikuneti, 8 km far from the administration building of Machakhela National Park and 33 km from Batumi.
- 10th-12th centuries Cellar of Ilia-located 6 km far from the administration of Machakhela National Park and 31 km from Batumi.
Once reaching “Mtavarangelozi” mountain visitors can enjoy spectacular views of Batumi from here, river Machakhela gorge, and delta of the river and Black sea. Become familiar with camping, hiking, horse-riding, fishing, traditional rules of cattle breeding, poultry raising, vegetable growing, and beekeeping, participate in cooking local dishes; Visit historical and cultural sites, learn about the history of creating gun "Machakhela", as well as the popular national trades of knitting, embroidery, wickerwork with baskets and long baskets, winemaking, and vodka brewing (seasonal).
There are 3 easy, driving roads integrated with pedestrian trails. If you are eager to spend time in nature, enjoy beautiful landscapes, and create fun outdoor memories, you can organize hiking tours in Machakhela National Park.
There are 2 tourist routes here:
Route 1: The path of the Archangel-the 8.3 km trail begins in the village of Sindieti, goes through forests, mountain streams, and springs to the Archangel Mountain.
Route 2: Kokoleti trail-length of the trail is 6 kilometers. It goes through mixed deciduous and coniferous forests. Here is a place for camping and 1.6 km from it is a platform with a panoramic view of the mountains, views of the Turkish territory, and the old villages of Machakhela gorge.
In order to plan and organize a hiking tour in Machakhela National Park, please contact us here
To book the private tour, please, contact us here or follow the link below:
1 Day trip from Batumi Nature Tour In Machakhela Gorge