Abkhazia is an unusually beautiful place at the junction of the mountains of the Caucasus and the Black Sea, immersed in the greenery of forests. Once in these generous lands, you can, in addition to admiring the beautiful views, visit the priceless monuments of antiquity – the historical sights of Abkhazia. The uniqueness of the nature of Abkhazia lies in the fact that several climatic zones intersect here in a small area, from the subtropics by the sea to meadows and eternal snows on mountain peaks. Therefore, lovers of contrasts know what to see in Abkhazia – literally in an hour of a trip you can cover the territory from the sea coast to picturesque gorges and dizzying mountain valleys with alpine meadows.
What to see in Abkhazia first of all
Abkhazia is famous for its hospitality, which has become a holy tradition for the locals. That is why hotels in Abkhazia accept new visitors with unfailing cordiality and openness, and local guides readily show guests the best sights of their country. The following review will allow you to familiarize yourself with the interesting, picturesque and memorable places of the “Country of the Soul” in advance.
1. Lake Ritsa
Mountain lake Ritsa is a natural pearl of Abkhazia
The list of main attractions opens with the Abkhazian pearl, the visiting card of the country – the emerald lake Ritsa, framed by extraordinary mountains and dense forests.
This is the largest alpine lake of karst origin in Abkhazia with an area of about 1.5 thousand square kilometers, formed as a result of the collapse of one of the mountains. The territories surrounding the lake belong to the protected area of the Ritsa National Reserve – numerous tourist trips are made here with visits to numerous corners of this protected area. It is the landscapes of Lake Ritsa that can most often be found on numerous memorable photos and other symbolic attributes that are sold in local tourist shops.
2. New Athos Monastery
Complex of Novo-Afonsky Monastery of the Holy Apostle Simon the Zealot
This is one of the most famous monasteries and Christian shrines in the Caucasus. The monastery was built in 1875 by monks from Old Athos, located in Greece. It is a complex of 6 temples, headed by the Panteleimon Cathedral. Numerous tourists, numbering several thousand annually, are attracted here by the spiritual and cultural significance of the majestic religious building.
The monastery building itself is distinguished by its scale and luxury. The red, white and orange walls are complemented by the shining gold of the domes, and all this, surrounded by green cypress trees, looks solemn and grandiose.
Official website: https://anyha.org/novoafonskij< /p>
3. Anakopia Fortress
Ruins of the tower and walls of the ancient citadel
The Anakopia fortress continues the rating – an ancient building on the Iberian Mountain in New Athos, the construction of which dates back to the 5th century AD. It was built at one time by the Romans and the Abazgs, in order to protect the city from the attacks of the Muslim peoples. It is known that New Athos once bore the name of Anakopia and served as the capital of the Abazg kingdom. Unfortunately, only the ruins of the fortress have survived to this day, only the main tower has not succumbed to the elements and the destructive role of time for many centuries, and from its top a dazzling view of the surrounding landscape opens – the edge of the sea coast, endless sea expanses and snowy mountain peaks.< /p>
4. Abaata Fortress
Church of St. Hypatius of Gagra on the territory of the fortress “Abaata”
Abaata is another record holder for longevity, what to see in Abkhazia should be among architectural structures. It was erected about 1.5 thousand years ago in order to block access to the Zhoekvar Gorge and the road to the west for ill-wishers. These walls have seen a lot in their lifetime, they were demolished and rebuilt, in the 19th century, battles took place in these territories between local residents and Russians who wanted to subordinate them to the power of the empire. And the hotel, built here at the beginning of the 20th century by order of the Prince of Oldenburg, as well as a restaurant and a museum, still exist today.
5. Gagra Colonnade
Picturesque enfilade overlooking the Black Sea
The colonnade in Gagra is the main symbol of the city, the center of old Gagra and a famous landmark of Abkhazia. It is the view of the colonnade that opens after crossing the Russian-Abkhazian border. This architectural ensemble was erected in 1949, so it is also considered a symbol of the revival of the USSR after the Great Patriotic War. Today this place is a landmark in terms of tourism, there is a trade in local souvenirs with might and main, there are a number of restaurants and cafes nearby, as well as hotels and guest houses.
6. Blue Lake
< img title="Sights of Abkhazia: Top 25" src="/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/dostoprimechatelnosti-abhazii-top-25-90ec03a.jpg" alt="Sights of Abkhazia: Top 25" />< /p>Blue lake – karst well with azure water Hons084
A trip to the natural attractions of Abkhazia must necessarily include a visit to one amazingly beautiful lake. The Blue Lake is a precious emerald against the backdrop of the natural landscapes of Abkhazia. The purest lake with sky-blue waters is located on the banks of the Bzyb River. The lake owes its color to the lapis lazuli minerals that lie at the very bottom. Its depth is not known for certain, but according to various sources, it ranges from 25 to 76 meters. The waters of the lake are crystal clear, although at first glance they may not seem transparent enough – such an effect is created by a large water column of several tens of meters, coupled with the steep banks of the lake, which immediately go down.
7. Seaside Park (Gagra)< /h3>
Alley of palm trees in Primorsky Park Natalia Filatova
Another symbol of the republic, where new guests should go in Abkhazia, is the seaside park in Gagra. It is located right on the sea coast and occupies a segment of about 6 km. The date of its construction is considered to be 1902, this was preceded by the order of the Prince of Oldenburg on the construction of a resort on these lands and the allocation of about 14 hectares of coastal land for these purposes. Today, about 4 hundred species of plants grow here in the park, brought here from all over the world, and there is also a park system of reservoirs – ponds and lakes connected by channels.
8. Sukhumi Botanical Garden
Entrance to the oldest botanical garden in the Caucasus
The Botanical Garden in Sukhumi is the first thing to visit in Abkhazia for those who are interested in rare plant species. Indeed, today more than 5 thousand specimens of plants, collected here from different parts of the world, grow in the territory of the garden. In addition to local species, plants from Australia, Southeast Asia, and North America are represented here. The garden is fragrant and full of flowers in the warm season, but there are also plants that bloom even in winter. Once in this amazing oasis, you can walk along the bamboo alleys, and explore different types of palm trees, and admire the succulents from the desert.
Official website: http://www.bgci. org/garden.
9. Prince of Oldenburg Castle
Castle of the Prince of Oldenburg on the slope of Mount Natalia Filatova
This unique modernist building of 1902 is located at the beginning of Old Gagra, on a mountain slope. Today, this landmark of Abkhazia is in a semi-abandoned state, and once the castle belonged to one of the members of the family of the Russian emperor – Prince of Oldenburg. In the era of the USSR, a sanatorium named after Stalin was equipped here, then it was renamed the sanatorium “Seagull”. This monumental building was significantly damaged during the Georgian-Abkhaz war, but to this day it is of great historical value for Abkhazia.
10. Abkhaz State Museum
Ancient Abkhazian dolmen – an exhibit of the Sukhum Museum Alaexis
What to see in Abkhazia to get acquainted with its historical past? Reviews indicate that the most suitable place for this is the Abkhaz State Museum in Sukhumi, founded in the 60s of the last century. Since then, museum activists have been constantly collecting valuable materials, adding to the collection, and now there are about 100 thousand exhibits. Among the interesting finds are the Escher dolmen, a tombstone of the 5th century BC, a collection of weapons, a helmet of an ancient Greek warrior, as well as a complex of dwellings, representing a visual description of the living conditions of local residents.
11. Dachas I .IN. Stalin
I. V. Stalin's dacha in Abkhazia, painted green
Abkhazia has become a favorite vacation spot for many famous personalities, including political leaders – in this regard, you will find something to see in Abkhazia. For example, Stalin had at his disposal about 20 dachas throughout the USSR, but his favorite among them was in the paradise of Abkhazia, near Lake Ritsa. The dacha building, erected here in 1947, is distinguished by the richness of the interior – natural materials were used in the decoration, mainly from valuable trees. There is a hall, a living room, several bedrooms, a dining room, a bathroom, and for safety there are alarm buttons that still work today.
12. Gagripsh Restaurant
Entrance to the Gagripsh restaurant in Staraya Gagra Vyacheslav Stepanyuchenko
There is a truly legendary institution in Gagra, which has become a symbol of the resort – this is the restaurant “Gagripsh” with more than a century of history. It, like many other sights of Abkhazia, owes its discovery to the Prince of Oldenburg. In those years, the restaurant was a wooden house made in Norway – just like that, disassembled, it was purchased by the prince and assembled in 1902. The restaurant's balcony offers magnificent views of the sea and the coast, and the menu offers traditional local dishes.
13. Bedia Cathedral
Medieval Bedia Cathedral on a high picturesque mountain plateau
Fans of ancient religious monuments have something to see in Abkhazia – a striking example is the Bedia Cathedral. There is nothing intricate, intricate carvings or elaborate frescoes about this structure, but its simple architecture and more than a thousand years of history are endlessly attractive to visitors. And the wonderful surrounding landscape gives this place its own unique atmosphere. The tomb of King Bagrat III has been located here since 1014. Since then, the temple has been repeatedly destroyed, reconstructed and returned to life again, and today it is a vivid example of Georgian architecture.
14. Lykhny Temple
Lykhny Church – the oldest Orthodox church in Abkhazia Andrey Panisko
The temple in Lykhny, built in the 10th-11th centuries, is another important landmark of Abkhazia, an ancient evidence of unshakable faith. From time immemorial, local residents visited the temple to bow to God and bring a sacrificial goat, as well as bury a jug of wine on the territory of the temple. An ancient icon of the Mother of God of the Sign is kept inside – this is the first known icon with an Abkhazian inscription. Also here is the tomb of one of the influential Abkhazian princes.
15. Patriarchal Cathedral in Pitsunda
Side view of the Christian Cathedral in honor of the Apostle Andrew the First-Called
The largest ancient temple in Abkhazia, built in the 10th century, is located in the heart of Pitsunda. Here lie the relics of one of the 12 apostles – Simon the Canaanite, who died in the 1st century AD. The relics of St. Andrew the First-Called, revered not only in the public, but also beyond its borders, are also located here. Services are not held in the cathedral today, but inside there is a concert hall with an organ. Its interior decoration combines medieval painting with various subjects and the face of Jesus under the dome.
Official website: http://pitsundaorgan.tk/
16 Koman Monastery
P.Kinareevski Church of the Koman Monastery
What to see in Abkhazia for those wishing to go on a pilgrimage to its holy places? The Koman Monastery is a shrine that is visited by over 50,000 pilgrims every year. The relics of St. John Chrysostom rest on the territory of this quiet monastery. The monastery was restored on the foundation of a medieval temple. In the dashing years of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, the building, like the village of Koman, was badly damaged, but it was completely restored by the forces of the Abkhazian diocese. From 2001 to the present, a monastery has been located here.
Official website: http://aiasha.ru/hram/375/
17. Beslet Bridge
Bridge of Queen Tamara across the Besletka River http://cyxymu.livejournal.com
The Besletsky bridge is an ancient stone arch bridge that served as an important military-strategic object in the 11th-12th centuries. It was built in a picturesque gorge on the Basla River more than 8 centuries ago and has been perfectly preserved to this day. The bridge was made of limestone slabs connected with a lime composition, in the form of a low arch. In the old days, a path to the mountains passed through the bridge. Not far from the bridge, even the ruins of ancient defensive structures of those times have been preserved. Today, the bridge is a popular attraction in Abkhazia, where many tourist routes lead through a beautiful walnut grove.
18. Sukhum monkey nursery
Sukhumi monkey nursery. Building (NIIEPiT) of the Academy of Sciences of Abkhazia Hons084
When creating the Monkey Nursery in Sukhumi, the goal was initially pursued, in addition to observing the behavior and habits of different species of monkeys, to investigate various human diseases in the process of experiments on primates. Sukhum was chosen as the most suitable city in terms of climatic conditions for breeding primates. Today, on the territory of the nursery, you can get acquainted with its lovely inhabitants and see the monument to monkeys erected for their great contribution to medicine. The monument was erected in the image of a specific individual – Murray the monkey, who was the leader of a flock of hamadryas.
Official website: http://www.niiepit.com/
19. Yupshar Canyon
Stone Bag – a picturesque gorge of the Yupshara River with sheer cliffs
Lovers of beautiful and at the same time extreme mountain landscapes will definitely find something to visit in Abkhazia – the Yupshar Canyon, a beautiful and bewitching natural monument in the mountains of Abkhazia, is ideal for this. It was formed in the rock by the waters of the Yupshara River, which eroded a deep gorge in the rock over thousands of years. The canyon stretches for 8 kilometers in length, and on the road that runs at the bottom of the gorge, mysterious twilight, coolness and dampness always reign, and only a narrow strip of sky opens up from above. The narrowest passage in the gorge is 20 meters wide and is called
20. New Athos Cave
Speleologists' Hall in New Athos cave Hons084
The largest cave in the republic lies in the bowels of the Iverskaya Mountain in New Athos. It is a giant cavity of karst origin with a length of about 1.9 km. There are nine halls in total, each of which is unique in its own way: the largest hall of speleologists, in the hall of Narta there is an underground lake, Ayukha, which was once a river bed, Iveria with amazing acoustics, Apsny, stunning in beauty with an unusual stone “waterfall”, the highest Givi Smyra with a cavity height of up to hundreds of meters, Helict with amazing branching formations – helictites.
Official website: https://afon-cave.ru/
Sights of Abkhazia: what else to visit in Abkhazia
In addition to the main attractions, guides in Abkhazia will open a lot of interesting places of unusual beauty in this generous corner of the earth for experienced tourists. You will find something to see in Abkhazia in 1 day, if after visiting the main sights you have a small reserve of time at your disposal.
21. Mount Mamdzyshkha
Stunning view of the mountain ranges Vyacheslav Stepanyuchenko
Mamdzyshkha is a natural landmark of Abkhazia, captivating with its beauty. All the main beauty of this place opens from the top of the mountain, at a level of about 1.9 km above the sea. Here, in contrast to the rest of the mountain surface, where forests grow, an open windy place with grassy meadows has formed. From here you can see a magnificent view of Gagra, Pitsunda, and in especially clear weather in the evening you can see the lights of distant Sochi. The road to the top of the mountain is paved, in two places there are equipped observation platforms: one at the beginning of the ascent, in the form of a large concrete balcony, and the other approximately in the middle of the ascent.
22. Alpine meadows of Abkhazia
Alpine meadows among the majestic mountains of Abkhazia
Green alpine meadows are a treasure not only of Abkhazia, but also of the Caucasus Mountains as a whole. Mountain valleys, immersed in greenery and flowers, attract with their extraordinary beauty, freshness, heady air and amazing peace that stay there brings. Such fields can be seen at an altitude of about 2 km, on the territory of the Ritsa National Reserve. This truly bewitching sight is worth climbing high into the mountains and seeing everything with your own eyes.
23. New Athos Waterfall
Artificial New Athos waterfall on the river Psyrtsha
The New Athos waterfall with Lake Psyrtsha is a picturesque man-made complex that has become a famous landmark of Abkhazia and a unique example of what a miracle a person can create, being in harmony with nature. The waterfall became a kind of consequence of the construction of the hydroelectric dam, which was carried out by the inhabitants of the New Athos Monastery. The splendor and power of the waterfall cannot be described in words: the height of the waterfall is about 9 meters, and the width of the cascade, made in the form of a semi-arch, is 21 meters. There is also an observation deck for contemplating the splendor that has opened up.
24. Gegsky waterfall
The water cascade of the charming Geg waterfall
Abkhazia is rich in reservoirs and waterfalls, but one of the waterfalls is especially beautiful and noticeable. This is the Gegsky waterfall – the largest waterfall in the republic. It is fed by the fast mountain river Gega, which, starting its journey somewhere in the peaks of the Caucasus Mountains, after passing about 25 kilometers, flows into the Bzyb River. On this relatively short stretch, it manages to form several small waterfalls along the way and, having reached a karst crevasse, hides in it for several hundred meters and, finally, with a powerful stream from a 70-meter height, falls down, forming the Gegsky waterfall.
25. Maiden's Tears Waterfall
Tied multicolored ribbons for making wishes come true Hons084
The romantic name “Girl's Tears” was given to one attraction of Abkhazia, endowed with its sad and beautiful legend about a crying girl. The waterfall “Girl's Tears” is not quite like a waterfall in its classical sense. Instead of the noise of water streams, clean and clear water runs down the sheer stones in thousands of streams, resembling quiet tears. The crystal network of streams sparkles, shimmering in the sun's rays. The waterfall is located on one of the banks of the mountain river Bzyb.
Abkhazia is the pearl of the Caucasus on the Black Sea coast, which will meet you with amazingly beautiful nature and the sincere hospitality of its inhabitants. Today, excursions in Abkhazia are regaining their former popularity. Magnificent panoramic views, a riot of greenery and flowers, high-level hotels, an extensive excursion program – all this will give the country of the soul of Abkhazia, and the above recommendations will help you decide on the choice of attractions and turn your trip into a vivid adventure. Read also about the best sights of Madagascar and get inspired for your next trip to Asia!