* Abkhazia is a disputed region, officially part of Georgia but under Russian military control. The state is recognized by Russia and a handful of small countries. More on Abkhazia conflict here *
Gagra is a coastal resort city on the Black sea coastline, situated below thick forests running up the foothills of the Gagra Mountains (of the Great Caucasus mountains). It is located 60 km from Sochi, spot of the 2014 Olympic Games.
In 1989, Abkhazia had a population of 525.000. people – with 48% Georgians, 17% Abkhazians and other minorities (Russians, Armenians, Greeks).
In 1991, following the collapse of Soviet Union and the independence declaration of Georgia – Abkhazians, backed by Russian forces, fought to separate Abkhazia from Georgia. During the 1991-1994 war – up to 15.000 Georgians were “ethnically cleansed” (read more CNN.com) and 200.000-250.000 were permanently displaced. Armenians, Greeks, Russians and moderate Abkhaz were also killed.
As a consequence, numerous villages and towns in Abkhazia were virtually emptied of its population (including Gagra), leaving behind “ghost cities”.