Abastumani is a small Czarist era spa town and Soviet built astrophysical observatory in the Samtskhe-Javakheti Region.
Relatively undiscovered by foreign tourists, Abastumani was once a thriving spa and resort town during the last period of the Russian Czars. Today it sits quiet for most of the year, waiting for the summer rush of Georgian tourists who come to breathe its clean air and walk in the pristine forests.
Abastumani is reached by either taxi or marshutka (mini-bus) from the Akhaltsikhe bus station. The drive takes approximately 30 minutes in a taxi or around 50 minutes in the marshutka depending on how many stops it makes.
The lower town is 7km from one end to the other and relatively flat, so it is easily walkable. The observatory is 4km above the town. To reach it you can either take a cable car which has a sporadic schedule, or walk one hour up a trail or a little longer by road.
There are many wooden, mostly abandoned, Czarist era buildings to view and photograph. The Czar's Bath is currently under renovation, but the guard will probably let you look around. Ride up the cable car and walk around the surreal and seemingly abandoned astrophysical observatory complex. The Romanov palace complex was probably once a great site, but today it barely warrants the walk out of town to visit it. Of the three original buildings only one remains in its former state and lies fenced off, windowless and in a state of steady decay. Several years ago one building caught fire and is currently being rebuilt, and the main house was sold to private owners who have altered the original appearance beyond recognition.
There is a small bazaar on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday from 8-12:30 where you can buy local products such as fresh cheese, milk, vegetable, wine, and honey.