Beautiful decay – Sukhumi, Abkhazia/ Georgia

Sukhumi – capital of Abkhazia, sitting on the shores of the Black Sea (142 km from Sochi).

Sukhumi became popular for being an exotic subtropical resort city. However the collapse of the Soviet Union, the war that followed and the international isolation of the small republic in the last 20 years have lead to significant decay of the once flourishing resort, like the neighboring Gagra resort town.

Certain spots have been recently renovated with the purpose of turning it into a tourist attraction during (and after) the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.

* Abkhazia is a disputed region, officially part of Georgia but under Russian military control. More on Abkhazia conflict here Russia-Georgia war *

 

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Sukhumi massacre

During the war, on september 27th 1993, opposition forces broke the ceasefire agreement initiated by the United Nations and rounded up Georgian civilians in Sukhumi, who were executed. Many civilians had remained in the capital due to the ceasefire agreement; the number of  september 27th massacre victims was 1200.

Georgian civilians were massacred throughout Abkhazia in what has been officially classified as “ethnic cleansing” by OSCE. Georgian civilians evacuated towns in Abkhazia and left by foot to the Georgian border; many died on the way to the border due to the harsh conditions. More details here Russia – Georgia conflict.

Russia Georgia war Abkhazia Sukhumi massacre genocide Caucasus war

Civilians evacuating Sukhumi

Russia Georgia war Abkhazia Sukhumi attack North Caucasus war

Civilians evacuating Sukhumi last minute

Civilians Caught in Battle During Georgian Civil War

Russia Georgia war Abkhazia Sukhumi massacre genocide North Caucasus war

Streets of Sukhumi after the massacre

Russia Georgia war Abkhazia Sukhumi massacre genocide North Caucasus wars

Russia Georgia war Abkhazia Sukhumi massacre genocide North Caucasus conflict

Russia Georgia war Abkhazia Sukhumi massacre genocide North Caucasus conflicts

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Streets of Sukhumi after the massacre

Sukhumi hospital

Sukhumi hospital

Government House of Abkhazia Sukhumi Georgia North Caucasus

Government building

Murudzhu lake, Karachay–Cherkessia (Western Caucasus mountains)

Murudzhu lake is a deep blue lake, situated in Karachayevsk district of Karachay–Cherkessia.

The lake is found at altitude of 2.800 meters in Teberdinsky Nature Reserve of the Great Caucasus mountains, not far from Dombay resort.

New Athos monastery (Novy Afon), Abkhazia/ Georgia

* Abkhazia is a disputed region, officially part of Georgia but under Russian military control. Its independence is recognized by Russia and a handful of small countries. More on Abkhazia conflict here *

 

New Athos monastery (Novy Afon monastery) is located on the shores of the Black Sea in Abkhazia.

Bezengi valley/ glacier, Kabardino-Balkaria

Bezengi area represents the highest region of the Caucasus.

Outside Elbrus mountain (which is the single highest peak at 5,642 meters – 18,510 feet), Bezengi has six of the highest mountains with heights raging from 4.300 meters (14.000 feet) to 5.300 meters (17.300 feet).

Bezengi 6 highest peaks of Caucasus mountains (CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE)

Bezengi 6 of the highest peaks in the Caucasus mountains

Bezengi Cherek (Khulam Cherek) rises from the 13-kilometre Bezengi glacier.

Bezengi region is found in the Cherekskiy district of Kabardino-Balkaria state in North Caucasus.

The following pictures are from Bezengi valley

Arkhyz, Karachai-Cherkessia (Western Caucasus mountains)

Arkhyz is a settlement situated in Karachai-Cherkessia, 70 km inland from the Black Sea in North Caucasus.

In Arkhyz valley one can find the ancient Christian churches built a millennium ago by the Alan empire (see here Lower-Arkhyz churches, and Shoana temple in neighboring valley).

Arkhyz was an important part of the Great Silk Road. During the trek it is possible to see some other remains of the Silk Road.

The Great Caucasus mountains here rise more than 3.000 meters above the sea.

Gagra beautiful ghost city – Abkhazia

* 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”.