After attaining its independence from the USSR in 1991, Georgia has had to cope with many obstacles. Still, lately, it has veered towards modernizing its economy by diversifying its many industries, including tourism. The great appeal of Georgia lies in its breathtaking landscape—the Caucasus Mountains. Much of the country is dominated by rugged hills, dense forests, and mountainous alpine/sub-alpine terrain, with many quaint villages perched either high above or down on verdant valleys. The country also has a vast coast on the Black Sea, with many cities attracting thousands of visitors every year.
With an immense array of nationalities, Georgia's capital is one of the most cosmopolitan; given its landscape of high lush hills and classical architecture, it is also one of the most beautiful in the Caucasus region. Old Tbilisi is a collection of picturesque buildings and cobbled streets packed with open-air cafes, the best way to admire the surrounding mountains and forests. Much of the city combines Byzantine, Neoclassical, and Art Nouveau architecture in such landmarks as the Rustaveli Theatre, the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, the charming Freedom Square and the fashionable Rustaveli Avenue, the imposing Sameba Cathedral, the Bridge of Peace linking the Old and New quarters over the Kura River, and the vast Nairkala fortress perched on a green hill overlooking the city.
The fastest-growing and second-largest city in the Caucasus, Batumi combines many charming qualities like forested hills giving way to a seaside of classic and contemporary buildings, all eclectically converging to provide a unique profile of the city. As the main port, much of the economy centers on manufacturing, exporting, and importing, which has allowed for a booming spree to dominate Batumi with such names as Hilton, Radisson, Kempinsky, and even Trump Tower overlooking the scene. Neptune Square is the most iconic city and the most beautiful, as is the boulevard and beach. Other major sights include the impressive Batumi Botanical Garden, the wildly inventive Alphabet Tower. A panoramic view of Batumi is very much like looking at an enlarged Monaco, only that it's not as flashy and expensive.