This region; situated between the Rioni, Tskenitskali and Enguri rivers. Samegrelo has its own very strong identity, symbolized by the use, alongside Georgian, of the Megruli (Megrelian) language. Samegrelo is however, famous for its cuisine, which tends to be spicier than elsewhere in Georgia, look out especially for Sulguni cheese and Ghomi maize porridge with Satsivi chicken. Poti Poti, Georgia’s main port. It was originally the Greek trading colony of Phasisi. Its history reflects the myth of Jason and the Argonauts. Maltakva. This resort is 3km to the South of Poti. In this direction there are more restaurants and other amenities, possibly due to proximity of the Supsa oil terminal and its foreign workers.
At Maltakva there is the Okros Tba (Golden Lake) water sports complex used in 1991 for the European water sports championships. Lake Paliastomi Of the many rivers and lakes here Lake Paliastomi is the most beautiful. It has an area of 18.2 sq. km. but its maximum depth is only 3m. The lake has an island, Bokveradzis Kundzuli, which is an excellent place for bird-watching. Zugdidi The Administrative center of samegrelo Zugdidi is 318km from Tbilisi, 104 km from Kutaisi. The first known reference to it dates from as late as the 17th century, when it became the residence of the local dukes, the Dadiani family.
For around 300 years the Turks hurried the Zugdidi area until in 1803 Grigol Dadiani agreed that Samegrelo should be an Russian protectorate. Afterwards the Dukes Levan and David paid a lot of attention to improving Zugdidi, laying out roads and a botanical garden among other projects. In 1855 The Turks captured Zugdidi and burnt the palace , but it was soon recaptured. Museum of History & Ethnography. This is located in the former palace of the Dadianis , in the square behind the football stadium in David Agmashenebelis Gamziri.
The original palace was built in the 17th century but what you see now mainly dates from 200 years later. It is an attractive mixture of neo-Gothic and Venetian, and was specially decorated as a kind of Wedding present by David Dadiani to his wife, Ekaterina Chavchavadze. After her husband ‘s death Ekatherina had to confront an uprising by Megrelian peasants , who occupied the palace, demanding changes in the law to ameliorate their serfdom. Her inability to understand their complaints led concerned Russian Imperial government to abolish the autonomous powers of the Dadiani family and to St. Petersburg in 1857. Her daughter Salome married Prince Achille Napoleon Murat , the grandson of Napoleon’s sister and Marshal Murat. The Palace contains of the three bronze copies of the death mask of Napoleon.
The museum collection includes Colchian artifacts, such as a very interesting 1st century golden head of a deer, many coins, fine pieces of glass and embroidery from the 11th to 13th centuries, icons from Megrelian Monasteries, including one which belonged to Queen Tamar’s mother, and examples of typical Megrelian Houses. There are also some religious relics, mostly from Khobi monastery, which are usually kept, locked up in the storerooms. Botanical Gardens These gardens were planned by David and Ekaterina Dadian. The plant are from Europe, Asia and North America. They used to be well maintained , but in recent times the gardens have suffered too. But they ‘re still Pleasant enough, and free.