A brand-new exhibition hall opened its doors to visitors in the heart of Machakhela National Park.
The exhibition hall helps navigate the rich history of the Machakhela Gorge and dive into its unique nature. Impressive collections include samples of minerals and geological formations, dummies of rare mushrooms and plants, historic artefacts, and colourful installations showcasing how the Gorge’s environmental, economic and social landscapes have been developing over centuries. Interactive virtual tours help tourists select their routes and enjoy the unforgettable Machakhela experience to the fullest.
The exhibition hall was established by the Agency of Protected Areas of Georgia’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Georgian National Museum designed and planned its premises and the non-governmental Association of Mtirala and Machakhela Protected Areas’ Friends contributed with expertise and technical support.
Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture Iuri Nozadze, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Anna Chernyshova, Chairperson of the Agency of Protected Areas David Iosebashvili, and Minister of Agriculture of the Ajara Autonomous Republic Zaza Shavadze visited Machakhela National Park on 19 July to join the first visitors to the exhibition hall.
“Thanks to UNDP support, we arranged a modern exhibition hall at the visitors’ centre of Machakhela National Park. This great space meets the demands of people of any age and helps visitors to experience the Machakheli Gorge. It increases touristic interest in the region, which has a positive impact on the local communities’ livelihoods,” said Deputy Minister Nozadze.
“Georgia’s spectacular protected areas are so much more than just beautiful scenery. They preserve the history and culture and tell stories of the people’s everyday lives through generations. We should treasure this natural and cultural historic heritage, ensuring that Machakhela National Park and other protected areas continue serving people and the planet,” said Chernyshova.
Together with Mtirala and Kintrishi in Georgia and Turkey’s bordering Jamili Biosphere Reserve, Machakhela National Park is the latest in a chain of protected areas created to conserve the unique Colchic rainforests, safeguarded by the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Machakhela National Park absorbs thousands of tons of greenhouse gas emissions each month while providing livelihoods for over 3,000 households.
UNDP and the Global Environment Facility have been supporting Machakhela National Park since its establishment in 2012. This assistance is focused on ensuring the sustainable management of the protected area, improving biodiversity monitoring, and building sustainable economic and social opportunities for local communities.