Abkhazia – called ‘Apsny’ in the Abkhazian language, i.e. ‘the Land of Soul’ –borders in the north on the Greater Caucasian Range slopes and is washed by the Black Sea in the south. The Western boarder (between Abkhasia and the Russian Federation) follows the Psou river, while the Inguri river in the East separates Abkhazia from Georgia.
Beautiful Abkhazia stretches on a strip of land between the steep ridges of the Caucasus and the Black Sea. The Land of the Soul is a very accurate description of this fantastic piece of land. One could hardly find some other name which would as accurately describe the gorgeous ravines, grand-looking peaks crowned with never-melting snow, boisterous white-water rivers embraced by banks of lavish tropical flora, and the warm and sunny seafront.
A Sea of Impressions
Abkhazia is not a big country, yet it is full of surprises. This is one of the few places in the world where on a single day one can visit all known climatic zones – from the subtropical zone on the Black Sea shore, to the arctic zone on the summits of the Caucasian Range. The holiday opportunities in Abkhazia are impressive. Exciting options are available both to those who prefer sunbathing on the beach, and to those who prefer trips to the local tourist attractions, as well as to national cuisine connoisseurs, and to active pastime adepts .
Abkhazian tourist resorts and residential settlements
Sukhum is the capital of Abkhazia. It is not only the administrative center but also a balneological seaside resort. The city, rich in ever-green parks and gardens, stretches around the port bay. A majestic dizzying scenic panorama over the city opens from the top of Sukhum mountain.
Sukhum downtown is right at the seafront. Ancient ruins of some fortress built over 3 thousand years ago are there to explore. Another outstanding landmark is the castle of tsar Bagrat III (the first ruler of the united Georgia), which is two thousand years younger. It was built in the X century to defend the southern quarters of the town. It is well-preserved and can be seen in the south-eastern part of Sukhum.
In the vicinity of Sukhum, there are many architectural monuments, mostly dating back to the medieval times. Among them are the ruins of Kelasurski monastery and a stone castle on the very top of a 50-meter rock (to get there one has to climb the rock).
Novy Afon ranks second in Abkhazia by its importance and beauty
It is considered one of the most picturesque seaside resorts not only in Abkhazia but on the Caucasian coat at large. Novy Afon is securely protected from the northern cold winds by mountain ridges, therefore the local climate and the sea are warm all the year round. One of the most renowned and important landmarks in the Caucasus is the Novoafonski cathedral built at the foot of Afon mountain. On the top of Iverskaya mountain, one can see ruins of an ancient temple and an ancient fortress, with karst caves below them. There are many caves near Novy Afon, Novoafonskaya and Anacopijskaya caves are the best-known of them.
Gagra is the warmest town in Abkhazia. It is actually a huge botanical garden. Over 1000 species of tropical plants grow there: coconut palms from the Latin America, date palms from the Canaries, and many others.
Pitzunda is another unique place in Abkhazia. Because of the pines that grow practically on the sea shore, it is called the Blue Lukomorje (Blue Fairytale Land). One of the pine groves in Pitzunda is considered the oldest one in the Caucasus. The historical-architectural museum in Pitzunda houses artifacts found during excavation of the town of Pitiunta that existed in 1100-800 B.C.
One of the oldest towns in Abkhazia is its former capital Lyhny. It is interesting to study there ruins of a palace of princes Shevashidze that dates back to 16-17 century, and the Uspenski (Assumption) cathedral lavishly decorated with frescoes of the 8-10 centuries.
Recreation and leisure in Abkhazia
Abkhazia is actually a perfect place for alpine tourism, hiking and many other types of active pursuits. Very popular among amateurs and beginners is a trail across the Bsyb karst bridge which is shaped as a 1-2 km-wide plateau stretching for 10 km from West to East, with a definite turn to South. A splendid vista opens from the highest point of the plateau over the Gagra ridge and Atsetuka, Agepsta and Arabica mountains.
Nature in Abkhazia is as specific and exciting, as the unique bright local customs, history, culture and hospitality – the guarantee for your unforgettable and comfortable stay in these wonderful places praised in many folk songs and legends.