The Long Wait for the Batumi Football Stadium

Football is a symbol of unity, support and respect in Georgia. “It used to draw us together at the Stadium to watch football matches to enjoy time with family and friends cheering for our favorite teams. It is unfortunate that over the years one of the most developed cities in Georgia had no stadium,” says Nikoloz Merabishvili, a resident of Batumi.

The first stadium in Batumi was built in 1935. With a great location at the seaside it offered fans 18,000 seats. In 2002, the local government started to destroy it aiming to use the area for luxurious hotels and business center by the sea. Four years later, the stadium was gone, forcing local football teams to practice in various venues throughout the region- at Kobuleti stadium ‘Chele-Arena,’ for example, 30 km away from Batumi, or at the small stadium in Ureki.

However, after 14 years of this discomfort, Batumi is at last to have its own 20,000 seat stadium as the Government of Adjara has decided to spend 38,000 000 GEL to build a new one. It announced a design contest which the Turkish company Bahadur Kul Architects won. The company has designed 22 stadium projects and 17 sport centers all around the world, including in Turkey and Kazakhstan.

The new stadium will no longer occupy a prime real estate location near the beach but will be located inland, spread over 8 hectares on Leonidze Street, in the suburbs of Batumi .

“The stadium will satisfy the standards of UEFA and FIFA,” said Ramaz Bolkvadze Adjara Minister of Economy and Finance. “In addition, it will also serve the region for holding cultural events such as large scale concerts. The stadium zone will have cafés, shops, parking and comfortable spaces for people to spend time in, and will be fully adapted to the needs of the disabled. The stadium may wellbecome a tourist destination, too,” he added.

The façade of stadium is to replicate the Georgian national dance ‘Khorumi,’ designed to look like dancers who moving and dancing. The stadium will be roofed and will house an elaborate lighting system able to be changed according to the event. The exterior of the stadium will light up in the colors of the flags of Georgia, Adjara AR and Dinamo Batumi.

The construction of the stadium is set for completion in 2019.

Batumi inhabitants feel positive about the new design of the stadium. They say the project is modern and innovative and hope that local people will find employment there through all stages of construction and after the stadium is built.

Mariko Natsarishvili

29 September 2016 19:44