We didn’t have high expectations of Batumi and weren’t expecting too much of Georgia’s summer holiday hotspot and riviera of the Caucasus, on the Black Sea coast. However, it exceeded our expectations. I’ve got the Batumi on my list of places to write more about and intend to do so in the not so distant future, but in the meantime here’s an example of the interesting sculptures that you see dotted throughout the city.

Ali and Nino are 8-metre tall slow-moving statues that merge for a short embrace before moving poignantly away from each other once more. The sculpture is inspired by the novel of the same name by Azerbaijani author Kurban Said in which a Muslim boy from Azerbaijan (Ali) embarks on a romantic relationship with a Christian girl from Georgia (Nino). The novel is set in the early years of the twentieth century (circa 1917-18), a period when this part of the world was in deep political turmoil and the pair are eventually separated by the invasion of their respective countries by the Soviet Union.

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