Georgian Folklore with Gonio Fortress

From the pier drive past the main sights of Batumi on your way to Gonio-Apsaros Fortress--an architectural monument that is ground zero for the legend of the Argonauts. Local lore has it that King Ayet’s son was buried here. Ayet was the son of the king-god Helios and the nymph Perseis. He held the Golden Fleece coveted by the Argonauts, which they wrested from the Sleepless Dragon and took back with them to Iolcus. In the real world, Gonio-Apsaros was an important urban center during the Hellenistic and Roman eras. Originally the fortress had four entrances, but today only the western gate is used. The oldest archaeological layer excavated here dates back to around the 18th century BC. A theater and hippodrome existed here in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. One of the twelve apostles of Christ, St. Mathias, is buried in Apsaros. Today the remaining oldest structures of the fortress are from the Roman period. Remnants of the buildings here also exhibit Byzantine and Turkish characteristics, and combine with Colchis culture to create a diverse and fascinating heritage for the people of Adjara. A guided walking tour through the fortress will allow you to explore the ruins of this majestic history. Next, you will visit the Adjara State Museum, opened in 1925 and housed in the former Treasury. This classical two-story building dates back to the late 19th century. More than 100,000 exhibits introduce you to the history, culture and life of Adjara. The most treasured item is the antique ceramic vase found in Gonio, rated only third in the world for its historical and artistic value. There is one in the Polytechnic Museum of New York and another in the Louver in Paris. You will see the interior of a typical peasant’s house, household goods made of wood and metal, furniture items and a collection of the colorful folk costumes. Next, drive by motorcoach to a concert hall for a folkloric show performed by the Adjara State Company of Song & Dance. Georgian dancing boasts a vigor and spirit that makes an unforgettable impression. You’ll appreciate a taste of Georgian wine with local sweets and fruits before or after the performance as well as a first-rate introduction to the rich past of Adjara, once a part of Colchis Kingdom and now one of Georgia’s great treasure chests. Return to the ship.

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24o - 27o
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