Lazika (planned city)
Lazika (Georgian: ლაზიკა) is a proposed planned city in Georgia, on the country’s Black Sea littoral, named after the ancient kingdom of Lazica. Proposed in 2011 by the-then President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, it was to be built south to Anaklia—a sea resort immediately south to breakaway Abkhazia—and north to Kulevi, a port north to Poti, Georgia's key Black Sea port city. The project was largely abandoned after the change of government in Georgia in 2012.
An intent to construct a new large settlement, with the potential to make the city into the country's second largest—after the capital of Tbilisi—and a major economic hub of western Georgia, was unveiled by President Mikheil Saakashvili on December 4, 2011. The name "Lazika" is a reference to the Greco-Roman designation of this region, a part of ancient Colchis. According to Saakashvili, the construction would be launched in 2012 and the government of Georgia had already been in talks with several large investment groups in Asia and Europe. Several politicians and commentators have been skeptical of the project. Critics have also pointed out to the potential harm to the flora and fauna of the Kolkheti National Park, which lies adjacent to the area. The NDI-sponsored public opinion polls in 2012 showed support for the construction of the city.
Lazika was intended to have a special legal status, with the English law model for commercial transactions instead of a codified civil law established in Georgia. To this end, the Parliament of Georgia passed, on June 29, 2012, a constitutional amendment that would allow the lawmakers to adopt a law concerning the future status of Lazika.
Abandoning the project
In October 2012, after the defeat of Saakashvili's party to the Georgian Dream coalition in the parliamentary election, the incoming Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said that construction of Lazika was not feasible. This was also confirmed by Kakha Kaladze, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources. The project has fallen silent since then, but the new government confirmed their intention to build the Anaklia port in the vicinity of the would-be city of Lazika.
- Saakashvili Plans 'New Large City' on Black Sea Coast. Civil Georgia. December 4, 2011.
- Georgia to Build City of Half a Million People on Black Sea. Bloomberg Businessweek. December 6, 2011.
- (Georgian) რა ბედი ელის კოლხეთის ეროვნულ პარკს?! (What will be the fate of the Kolkheti National Park?!). Voice of America. December 7, 2011.
- On Black Sea Swamp, Big Plans for Instant City. The New York Times. April 21, 2012.
- NDI Releases Public Opinion Survey. Civil Georgia. July 10, 2012.
- Constitutional Amendment for Planned New City Lazika Approved. Civil Georgia. June 29, 2012.
- Georgian president lays foundation of new city. Trend. September 24.
- Lazika building underway. The Messenger. September 24.
- Lomsadze, Giorgi (October 3, 2012). Georgia: Whither the City of Lazika?. Eurasianet.org.
- Lazika construction to be stopped in Georgia
- Adzinbaia, Zviad (July 17, 2014). Lazika: Georgian Economic Breakthrough. Georgia Today.