The sovereign state from 1994, Abkhazia is also known as Kolkhida is the presidential republic located in Asia on the shores of the Black sea. Local people call themselves Apsua that can be translated as “Spiritual people”. The country’s coast has a total length of two hundred and fifteen kilometers. It neighbors Georgia, the Krasnodar Territory and the Republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessia (RF). In the mountains of the republic, one can find the most ancient monuments in the whole of the region – man-made dolmens (Celtic “table”). It is noteworthy that the mystery about their origin and what they were intended for has not been resolved until now. The puzzle is complicated by the fact that similar structures were discovered in the north of France and in Great Britain. Experienced tourists say that counting all the historical monuments in the region might turn into an endless story.
Traveling by car along the empty roads travelers can discover places of incredible natural beauty, but one has to be extremely cautious because roads in the mountain do not have barrier fences. Local beaches and quality of the seawater much better than in resort areas of neighboring countries and the towns of Gagry and Sukhum will enchant with its atmosphere and lush vegetation. In order to enjoy hydrogen sulfide health-improving procedures in conditions that are as close to natural as possible, one should head to the Kyndygsky spring. Water from hot springs runs through the pipes and falling from a high altitude creates the effect of a hot whirlpool. A special delight is a visit to these baths in winter when the temperature contrast is the maximum.
There is no airport, therefore, the most popular way of getting here is a flight to Adler airport (13 km from the republic) and further a ride by car/bus. The second option would be a train from St. Petersburg to Sukhum only if the traveler is willing to spend two days on the road and pay more than for the flight.
The total population is 242,584 people, including Greeks, Germans, Poles, and Megrels. Looking through numerous reviews on the results of the trip to Abkhazia, many people emphasize the good-natured local population – sympathetic and very hospitable. Soulfulness, but at the same time gallant restraint of Abkhazians can be observed at the celebration of weddings and jigging and national dances confronting them. The high code of honor “apusuar” forms from infancy the basis for understanding the plays (conscience with abh.). According to the latter, an unscrupulous act for an Abkhaz means “to die while still alive”.
Wine – as the main symbol of the region (semisweet, Psou and Lyhny brands), along with the traditional prayer before the meal, cheeses and large-chopped meat with Adjika sauce, as well as “atzhadzuya” (honey decoction, with lemon) are iconic for Abkhazian cuisine.
Climate & nature
Abkhazia has subtropical wet climate (excluding the mountainous region) with the average annual temperature +15.2° and the average annual precipitation 1385 mm. The region is located at the junction of two climatic zones - subtropical and temperate.
The main factor affecting the climate are the spurs of the Caucasian, Bzyb, Kodori, Gagra and Chkhalts ranges, that prevent the advance of northeastern air masses, as well as southern and southwestern warm winds. Winters are mostly not snowy. The thermometer rarely fell below the zero marks. Some plants begin the flowering period in early March due to warm temperature and abundance of sunlight. The average temperature in the winter period is + 6°. The swimming season lasts from late May to mid-October. In the spring seawater warms up to +17.5°, in the summer height + 24°, and by the end of the season can reach up to + 28°. Due to the humidity of 80%, the hottest months of the summer (July and August) are difficult to bear. The most comfortable temperature of + 25° is in the second decade of September.
A peculiar landscape allows travelers to combine walks along alpine meadows surrounded by snow-capped peaks and swimming in the sea and beach volleyball! A must-have of any tourist program is getting to a height of 882 meters above sea level from where opens a picturesque panorama of Lake Ritsa.
The mountains of Abkhazia in its northwestern part reach a height of 4 km (the highest point is Dombai-Ulgen 4048 meters). Krubera-Voronia is the deepest karst cave in the world (2,199 meters) located in the limestone massifs of Arabica. In 2014 speleologists discovered two entrances to the cave (at an altitude of 2,250 and 2,253 meters), classified the cave as of sub-vertical type, and measured the total depth of the system.
Culture and history info
An archaeological culture that the scientists called the Colchis (XVI - VII centuries BC) is most widely distributed on the lands of Abkhazia and the Western part of Georgia.
In the middle of the I millennium BC. e. for the first time Colchians are mentioned as a separate nationality in the works of the poet Pindar, the writer Aeschylus and the ancient Greek historian Herodotus. The latter gives sufficiently strong arguments in defense of the theory of the origin of the Kolkhos from the Egyptian people: firstly - only the Ethiopians, the Kolkhis and the Egyptians initially adhered to the circumcision rite, secondly - the same technology of producing fabric, as well as a similar language and way of life (the second book of History).
The Colchis kingdom existed in this territory from the VI century BC, was famous for its iron craft, the specific production of linen cloths, as well as jewelry. For Greece, Colchis was a region providing raw materials: a supplier of wine, forest, cannabis, and mainly gold sand. It was believed that the local kings - the descendants of Helios (nέλιοs - Greek myth.The God of the Sun). Since the 5th century BC the Colchis kingdom minted their own silver coins with the image of the bull's head and the male profile on the obverse.
In the eighth century BC the kingdom was the vassal of Assyria, and three centuries later the Colchis were under the rule of Persian king and paid him annual tribute in the form of two hundred slaves. Getting weaker the kingdom of the Colchians submitted to the Pontus king, and at the turn of millennia to the Roman emperor.
Bronze ware from the period of the Lazian kingdom or Egrisi (I-II centuries) were found on the territory of ancient Khorezm (Central Asia, Uzbekistan) with which the Colchians traded through the Caspian and the Black Sea. Chinese and Indian goods were delivered here as evidenced by the archaeological finds of the Caucasus. In 548 the Christian religion, brought here by Simon Kananit and Andrew the First-Called in the middle of the first century, was formally recognised. Lasik will prosper for the next two and a half centuries, but in 562 it will become a province of the Byzantine Empire.
In 738 the Arabian Mervan will destroy Sukhum and before the siege of the Anakopi fortress will lose most of its troops due to the outbreak of cholera.
Abkhazians, some tribes of Georgians and Adygea under the leadership of Prince Leon (Khazarian origin) by the beginning of the IX century form an independent kingdom with an administrative center in the city of Kutaisi. It will survive until the XIII century until the return of the Italians. Genoese factories have become successful silk trading centers since three routes of the Great Silk Road passed through the Abkhazian territory.
Since the 17th century, after the siege of Sevastopol (the center of Genoese factories), the Abkhazian population was forced to pay tribute to the Turkish sultan. And from 1724 - the year of the completion of the construction of the fortress of Sukhum-kale, Islam begins to spread.
1810 is the year of Abkhazia's annexation by the Russian Empire (with the preservation of autonomy) and the year of the beginning of the migration of the Abkhaz people to Turkey. The latter is referred to as "mahajirism", which intensified as a result of general disarmament of the nation after the 1866 uprising. In the battles of the Russian-Turkish war (1877-1878), the Abkhaz acted on the side of Turkey, for which thereafter were persecuted and referred to penal servitude. The peak of mahajirism in the post-war period led to the desolation of settlements and cities of Abkhazia, which were soon populated by Bulgarians, Greeks, Georgians and Russians.
1917 is the year of election of the first parliament of Abkhazia, in 1931 the Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia becomes part of the GSSR. The Georgian-Abkhaz war (1992-1993) claimed the lives of three thousand people, besides Abkhazia became a victim of cultural genocide.
In 1994, a new constitution is adopted and the first president elected.