1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Poti

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POTI, a seaport of Russian Transcaucasia, in the government of Kutais, at the mouth of the Rion on the coast of the Black Sea, 193 m. by rail W.N.W. of Tiflis and 35 m. by sea N. of Batum. Pop. (1882), 3112; (1897), 7666. The white walls of the fortress contrast with the green trees which surround them, and the lighthouse, 117 ft. high, is visible 17 m. Situated in a marshy delta not more than 2½ ft. above the level of the river, Poti is extremely unhealthy, fever and ague prevailing in summer and autumn. The Russians have improved the town and port, but the latter is still exposed to west and south-west gales. A new entrance was constructed in 1905, and a new inner harbour was at the same time under construction. The shipping trade amounts to £500,000 to £600,000 a year, almost entirely manganese ore, with some maize.

Poti represents the ancient Phasis, a commercial colony of the Greek city of Miletus. The present fortress was built in 1578 by Sultan Murad III. of Turkey at the time of a war with Persia. In 1640 it was destroyed by the Imeretians (Georgians), but it was restored and enlarged. The town was a great slave market. It was captured by the Russians in 1812 and 1829.