“Adygea” by Ahmed Nagoev

Circassians in photo-session made by photographer Ahmed Nagoev, named “Adygea”

Ksani Fortress, South Ossetia/ Georgia

Ksani Fortress is located in the historical district of Mukhrani, north-eastern Georgia (now under South Ossetian/ Russian military control).

The fortress was built in the early XVI century at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Ksani rivers and it served as a principal stronghold in the area.

Mukhrani was an autonomous flourishing state of medieval Georgia run by the dukes of Ksani. The state of Mukhrani lasted until the Russian occupation in the XIX century.

* South Ossetia is a disputed region, officially part of Georgia but under Russian military control. More on South Ossetia conflict here *

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.

Sogratl’ Dagestan


Sogratl’ is an Avar village situated in Gunibsky district in the mountains of Dagestan. Avars are an ethnic Caucasus people and 90% of the population in Russia is located in the mountains of Dagestan. Not far from the village is the Vatan Memorial – dedicated to the battle fought in 1741 by the united forces of Dagestan against foreign invaders.

Christian Lower-Arkhyz churches, Karachai-Cherkessia

Lower Arkhyz churches (or Zelenchuk churches) is a cluster of three ancient Christian churches, built 1000 years ago.

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”.