107 Welcome to Abkhazia

Welcome to Abkhazia

Posted on June 2, 2010 by team

A trip to Abkhazia 2010, to the very south of the sunny country.

Looking out of the window of the hotel. Yeah, such a view…

Welcome to the hotel through this courtyard.

One of the streets of Ochamchira city.

A unique feature of Abkhazia – they always “do not care”, always relaxed. A carousel fell down about 15 years ago – don’t care, it doesn’t ask for food… a house is going to ruin – don’t care …

A typical picture. Municipal administration building – half of the building is with double-glass panes, another half as you may see. But some cool cars can be seen, and lanterns …


National dish – hominy.

Lots of ruined houses …

These streets used to be very active …

Density of the population leaves something to be desired, more than half of the houses are simply empty.

In the Soviet time there were private houses …

So they live – half of the house is collapsing and another half is with double-glass panes.


Garbage is everywhere, nobody thinks of scavenging.

And everything is pilfered …

A road to the station, in the past it was impossible to go through – crowds and cars…

The vast square was full of taxi cars.


Though, to our surprise, assistant station-master’s room still works, the rest of the station is abandoned.

In fact local people are rather hospitable.

Main views of the city.

Cosy bars.


Abandoned railway not far from the Georgian border. It turns out that from Abkhazia to Georgia minibuses are going!

Leaving Orchara you can see such weird sculptures… Maybe Tsereteli?

A little of Sukhumi after all … A famous station.

Sukhumi’s yards.


Former building of administration in the background – in such a sad state.

Monument of Lenin has been removed but the base has remained.

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107 responses to “Welcome to Abkhazia”

  1. Original Kirov says:

    makes me very sad

  2. Original Kirov says:

    there was war in Abkhazia, and most people fled. Also huge destruction by artillery and airplanes. Collapse of USSR is so sad, greatest catastrophe in Europe since WW2.

  3. CZenda says:

    Whoever came up with the text on the memorial was insane. “Abkhazian patriot killed by Georgian fascists in 1993″…

    • Sergey S. says:


      “The abhazian patriot Tsatsa Kazanba was burned here in September 1993 by georgian fascists. People, be watchful! This should not happen again!”

      • CZenda says:

        You Ruskies see fascists (Nazis, whatever) everywhere. Be careful – the persons next to you may not be who they seem to be… Be watchful – comrade Putin recommends that every Russian citizen should look under his/her bed to check there are no fascists hiding there…
        ROFL 😀

  4. Mara says:

    Abkhazia is not a country.

    • spear says:

      Georgia should shrink back to what it used to be when it signed the pact with Russia or at least stop day dreaming about absorbing ethnic groups that existed long before Georgians emerged as a single nation

  5. eger_666 says:

    Damn, what a sorry country (((

  6. The fall of Soviet Union would have gone much easier for the people of Georgia and Abhazia if Russia had elected not to support the Islamic separatists in Abhazia and supply them with weapons and military support. It was just a way to stick it to the Georgians, who were bent on independence, and provided an excuse for military intervention 15 years later. I agree with you Original Kirov, it is very sad Russia insists on supporting Abhazia and prolonging their hardship. Why do Russia’s neighbors despise her so? It’s because of policies like this.

    • spear says:

      Yeah, yeah, every nation’s ‘historians’ would always brag about how at its peak their nation occupied half of the world. Reality is you assimilated some of previously distinct groups into one Georgian nation, but got too weak to do the same to Abkhazians and Ossetians. So deal with reality and stop daydreaming about land that won’t be part of present day Georgia, which is considerably larger than it was when Russia conceded to take you in before Persians and Turks could finish you off.

    • rob says:

      there are no Islamic separatists in Abhazia as Abhazians are mostly Christian

  7. mayday* says:

    Urban Decay FTW !
    But this is kinda depressing to look at.

  8. V_Power says:

    This shows…where russia came there is no any good thing!!!

    • lena says:

      the russians actually helped Abkhazia defend themselves against Georgia, after Georgia suddenly decided to attack Abkhazia.

  9. johnik says:

    looks like the north of England 🙂

  10. Annoy says:

    “It turns out that from Abkhazia to Georgia minibuses are going”

    Is this blog becoming Nashi propaganda?

  11. Testicules says:

    Is that Haiti?

  12. Byron76 says:

    It’s strange that a place has got no resourses or something to get up their economic situation. It’s sad to see such preety place in so poor condition. Courage and my best wishes to those people.
    Greetings from Argentina.

  13. Chris Wininger says:

    As sad as it is, it’s also very beautiful. I’m surprised people’s reactions are so overwhelmingly negative. There are many places like this left abandoned after the fall of the Soviet Union. It makes life difficult, and it’s easy to see why many are nostalgic for the Soviet Union, but there really is a serene beauty in desolation. I love seeing plants bursting through concrete. It reminds me of our own mortality in the face of natures continual renewal. I think the closest we have to a place like this in the US is Detroit. It’s very interesting to here how they are collapsing Detroit back down to it’s center and letting outlying areas go back to nature. For the sake of the people living in Abkhazia I hope commerce and prosperity returns, but I hope they don’t make a complete about face. There is a lot we can learn from situations like this.

  14. Original Kirov says:

    Problem is that the place was abandoned due 2 violence in the 1990’s. If not, this would be just another poor backwater in former USSR (I say again: collapse of USSR was huge catastrophe). Instead it is a poor backwater which is largely abandoned.

    • LITBALT says:

      As a Lithuanian, i can not see the huge catastrophe in the collapse of USSR. As a matter of fact, it was the single best thing to happen in the 20th century…

      • Original Kirov says:

        Lithuania? Oh you mean the country that was conquoured and gladly cooperated with Nazis…? Including in extermination of Jews…? Well obviously I see why Baltic countries disapproved of the USSR.

        • Partiii says:

          Of course, Kirov. It is allways russian way – “if you are with us, your’e good, if you are against us – you’re facist.” There are always good and bad people in every nation.

          During the WW2 most of the Baltic people was on the side of the less criminal nation. Extermination of jews by Germans is nothing in comparison what Stalin did afterwards (Jews just have better PR).

          During the WW2 my grandmother was a teenager and she allways rememebers how polite the German soldiers was. And she also tells how scared the Latvian people were when the Russian soldiers came – raping, robbing and murdering everything that crosses their way. Remember, both armies were occupants and bandits, but anyways – what a noticable difference.

      • RedBird says:

        Say this for Abkhazians

    • Lex says:

      Creation of the USSR was a huge catastrophe, the collapse of the USSR was just the inevitable. It will take time to rebuild a free society.

      • Ivana Benderova says:

        I sort of have to agree with Original Kirov. It was not the creation of USSR that a catastrophe, but their reluctance to abandon communism and the total corruption that went with it, until it was too late.

      • Luciano says:

        yeah right – Estonia and other Baltic stats were economicaly ahed of Russia about 40 years. After occupation, collectivizations and all the terror we fall back to stoneage like the USSR was until its end.
        But as we all konw, Stalin killed all russian educated people and maid the nation of workers and farmers. So it is normal that the genofond of russia got so badly damaged that you cant understand it totady!

      • Lex Mercatoria says:

        The Russian revolution & the subsequent creation of the USSR was a jewish enterprise. The results speak for themselves.

    • The tragedy was political reform came before econonmic reform. If this was reversed you may have been able to keep the good stuff.

      • SSSR says:

        Russia has more to offer now that the USSR is history!I grew up with many things in my country that the Russian Federation now has today!!!!

      • Aleksandr Rzanikov says:

        I agree with you,the fact is this is the case with everything on this site.. It is some foreigners putting up everything bad or to show how bad it was(which it wasnt) in the USSR and how horrible those countries are know!

        • rob says:

          Indeed – longevity in Central Asian Soviet republics rised from 44 years in 1920 to 69 years in 1979…in independent Afganistan which was the same as those Soviet Central Asia in 1920 – it was 44 years in 1920 and the same 44 in 1979 and the same 44 years now !!!(UN data) – and it was with equal starting conditions in 1920 and in 1979 not yet affected by war! Who can then say that USSR was all bad? People compare uncomparable like USA to USSR forgeting that the gap in development in betveen Russia and USA was even bigger then now in 19 century….they should compare equal weight category – like for example Uzbekistan (or other Soviet -stan) to independent Afganistan – and results are vivid (read above)

    • Real Kirov [Astrakhan] says:

      Problem is that c0mmunist system KILLED all that was ambitious and enterprising in peoples everywhere in USSR.
      Results can be seen everywhere: petty, egoistic predators and numbed victims. All co-existing in ruins or fake prosperity at best.
      Decline and poverty.

    • Real Kirov [Astrakhan] says:

      Problem is that c0mmunist system KILLED all that was ambitioous and enterprising in peoples everywhere in US.SR.
      Results can be seen everywhere: petty, ego-istic predators and numbed victims. All co-existing in ruins or fake prosperity at best.
      Decline and p0verty.

  15. It’s not BS. Russia has been Abkhazia’s ally for how long? And the country still looks like this? Nice to see they are helping you guys, maybe you should find new ally, US has given Georgians billions and they rebuild. What about you?

    • Kirov says:

      Abkhazia never will exchange freedom for a McDonalds.

      • Freedom to live in squalor? Look at the states the USA and USSR have supported. Which have done better? West Germany, or East Germany? North Korea, or South Korea. Words are words, the truth speaks for itself.

        • Kirov says:

          Erroneous comparison. Abkhazia poor but democratic republic. The basic source of incomes of Abkhazia – tourism has been completely destroyed by Georgia.

          • Abkhazia, is not a country. The majority of the population, Georgians, were forced out after the civil war. So, we have a democratically elected president in a land where 60 percent of the population was forced into exile. Stalin, was the one who gave the Abkhazian land to Georgian peasents. Now that political winds have changed, Russia decided to stick it to Georgia and created an artificial state that resulted in Georgians being thrown out. An election that only permits 40 percent (an ethnic minority) of a population to vote is not a democratic election.

            • spear says:

              And Germans used to call Koenigberg their home. Yet, no country today would dare to publicly question Kaliningrad’s status as a Russian province.
              So history is irrelevant.Any ethnic group is better off in a state of its own if only to avoid risk of assimilation. Deal with reality. You could have (10 percent possibility) wooed Abkhazia to join a confederation by excelling economically to become an attractive wealthy states Abkhazians would want to be part of. Instead you elected a tie-chewing ‘visionary’ who chose to use force to try re-take South Ossetia. Now the status quo is sealed and even U.S. acknowledges that: “To be very candid … I don’t see us having a strategy that can actually achieve that goal of reunifying Georgia’s borders,” the White House official said.http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64R1JP20100528?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews

        • asd says:

          Good luck choosing whom to sell yourself.

      • mike says:

        They will exchange freedom for a Lada, though.

    • rob says:

      no problem, dude, – just recognise Abhazian Independance and US Ambassador is welcome in Abhazia with his millions of $ – LOL!!!

  16. Boris Abramov says:

    What’s the problem,honey? After all, it was you country that declared swastika to be part of your national heritage. Don’t you feel proud?

    Incidentally, isn’t is ironic that the “archeologists” putting up the case for Swastika’s heritage status chose to present their “findings” in the form of placards on the day that is synonymous with Nazi salutes, SS uniforms and skinhead gatherings in Lithuania? 🙂


    Oh, you Baltic fascists are good! 😉

  17. ggfdgf says:

    Well Russia have freedom to abkhazia as did to chechenya. Simple true, abkhazia is new part of Russia, not free country, as Kremlin declares. It would be nice if Russia help to Abkhazia rebuild, but I’m afraid that reality would be same colapsed structures after ten years…

    • rob says:

      poor guy, – same you say? – same like what? – have you seen how Grozniy (Chechnya) have been rebuilt? – even Western media give respect to Russia for that

  18. mukmika says:

    Many cities were bombed almost out of existence in world war 2, but today they are beautiful and thriving. Too bad children have to grow up in such a place, but they will get over it, like like our generations did.

  19. paul says:

    looks like Detroit

  20. spear says:

    Clearly photographer is biased. Almost in every country you can find slums and ruins. Of course, Abkhazia, having suffered a devastating war, has more of these than European countries. But I bet you that with determination you can find as many slums to take photos of even in France.
    For the other side of the coin see here for instance

  21. Finnish-Trash says:

    I can see that this place has really had an economic boom since they became independent… Looks like time has been standing still here since the collapse of the USSR.

  22. Ag says:

    Picture 1: People like to spent more money on cars than on housing.
    Nice to see, how nature is capturing urban places

  23. RoseWart says:

    This place was my home, well Suchumi was at least, but my family fled just as so many others did. 🙁 It looks all desolate. I went there with my fiancee last year but only for one day as it would have possibly caused some issues, but imagine this: after 17 years going back for one day, it was heartbreaking for me, I did not want to leave. I didn’t know that it would affect me so much after so many years. I wish everyone who is still out there all the strenght in the world.

  24. If you go to Georgia you will hear a different story. That Abkhazia is part of Georgia and has been for a very long time.Any special status bestowed upon Abkhazia was the result of those two old sob’s, Stalin and Beria, manipulating the system so THEIR communists would have control there. When you live in a place where the press is controlled by the state you don’t the whole picture or even a small percentage of it. Georgia has a right to Abkhazia, only Russia and her ridiculous client states, Cuba, Venezuela, recognize it has a independent state. The world does not. Russia got what she wanted and she still hasn’t cleaned up the mess, LOOK with your own eyes.

    • mike says:

      Err, technically Stalin was the one who incorporated Abkhazia into the Georgian SSR after Lenin’s invasion destroyed the federation that its leaders had agreed to (after some Turkish meddling). That was really the only pro-Georgian thing Stalin ever did. And Abkhazia deserved its autonomous status. The Abkhaz were only such a small minority because the Tsarists had exiled them in the previous century because they resisted Russian rule so much. It’s a sad story, because the Georgians and Abkhaz should have been natural allies. Some say that Stalin’s deportation of the Greeks allowed the war to happen, since there was no third party to oppose ethnic bloodshed.

    • Ivana Benderova says:

      Agreed. Sort of similar situation of Moldova and Romania, and many others. There is a big difference between arbitrary lines re-drawn on a map, and the reality of history and culture when you live in an place such as this.

      • BorisBadenov says:

        Actually, Georgia is an ancient country. That means it’s much older than Stalin or the USSR. Georgia ruled this land beginning in the 9th to the 6th century BC. The only time Abkhazia enjoyed any form of independence was under the rule of David the Builder, a Georgian, who empowered a group there to rule under his behest. This family was called “Shervashidze”, a Georgian name, although you will find the Abkhazians today duspute this, naturally. The only other time Abkhazia enjoyed any kind of independence was under the Ottomans, this wasn’t until the 1570’s. Even then Abkhazia was just a client state of the Ottoman’s. The Russians recaptured Abkhazia in 1864. By this time Georgia was under Russian Imperial rule as well. ABKHAZIA IS GEORGIAN TERRITORY.

  25. I wish I read Rosewart’s message first: here we have Kirov and I, Russian and American, argueing over a country like it is a piece of meat. When the people who live and lived there, Georgians and Abkhazians, suffer. Another victim of the world real politik.

  26. mad1982 says:

    look poor city . that sad…

  27. mike says:

    Whenever a caucasian says genocide, it is time to stop listening. On second thought, extend that to Russians too. They carefully helped define the word so Katyn didn’t count, and now they say the criminal application of half a dozen rocket launchers on Tskinvali qualifies.

  28. Orignal Kirov says:

    Hey, Original Fake Kirov (is it you, MaxD? 2 dumb to invent ur own name…?), the guy I once smashed so badly in a debate that u started 2 fake me, you have no idea what ur talking about.

    Stalin ADDED Abkhazia 2 Georgia you dimbwit. That’s because Stalin and Beria were Georgian nationals, and still felt Georgian.

  29. I am Latvian says:

    I am Latvian, should I tell something from my point of view?

  30. dlund says:

    seen just as bad in the USA.

  31. FromRussia says:

    and the British, too, do not do anything good! Russia the best country! It was the best, is the best and will be the best!

  32. Juel says:

    ‘russians ar puting labels with swastika on lithuanian products’
    oh really? What a refined stuff! Pls tell me, where could I buy such things? … i asked my friend from kaunas, but hi don’t know. 🙂

    juel. vologda, russia

  33. torike says:

    Abkhazia is our home. Abkhazia, I miss you. ;(;(;(

  34. David Cameron Lord Ruler Supreme says:

    “and the British, too, do not do anything good! Russia the best country! It was the best, is the best and will be the best!”

    I’ll have you whipped for impertinence. By God I’d thrash you myself but I don’t want to spill my gin and tonice. Guards! Take this man away and roger his gary glitter!

  35. Ivan says:

    The place rightfully looks like the rest of mother Russia Abkhazia is aspired to be a part of.

    As to ethnic violence Russians like to talk about so much, how come Abkhazs ethnically cleansed all the Georgians from Abkhazia especially considering that the Georgians used to outnumber Abkhazs in Abkhazia 3 to 1? can’t wait till Abkhazia becomes a part of Russia and more Russian money pours into Abkhazia for “reconstruction” like today happens with Chechnia.

    • rob says:

      all those Georgians fled to Russia, not to Georgia by the way – since 1991 one million of Georgians emigrated to Russia from all parts of Georgia (that is 20% of Georgian population (info from newsletter of Georgian Embassy in Moscow of 2006)-google…it says a lot about both Russia and Georgia – isn’t it?

  36. Ivan says:

    Yea, we know about ethnic violence. When then Russian pawn Shamil Basayev was playing soccer with severed human heads from Georgian bodies. And when Russian SUs were bombing people houses in Ochamchiri. We know all about it. Later on Russians expanded on that experience by flattening Grozny. What goes for Russians that they don’t really care who they kill in mass. In Grozny at least 40% of their victims were ethnic Russians.

  37. BigCrow says:

    I’m taking some of these pictures to my blog. and P.S. Abkhazia is not a country, it’s part of Georgia. Was, is and will be.

  38. todd keiloholz says:

    Todd Ray Keilholz

    Date of Birth: 07/21/1963

    SS #: 492-80-6401

  39. humanafterall says:

    sad, very sad.
    war doesn’t do good to anybody, if not criminals and bandits.
    poor abkhazians, left with russia alone, who can’t even take care of their own old problems in caucasus, like chechnya and ingushetia. why not independence for them? why they deserve less than abkhazians? they’ve definitely fought more for it, but somehow not as successful as this pretty small group of abkhazians.
    btw for all those talking about history (who haven’t read anything but heard of beria/stalin), do google at least, if u don’t have books at home or library. the origin of conflict may’ve started in stalin’s time,but georgians and abkhazians have lived together for years

    • rob says:

      very easy answer for your question – when events in Chechnya started therte was International Law in force which prevented parts of a Federal country to separate (the same in Spain – basq country, UK -Northern Ireland, France – Korsika etc..)- so RUSSIANS FOUIGHT against separatists, but in 2008 United States violated this Law and set a precedent in Kosovo – since that moment it became OK for ethnic minorities to separate – that is why Russia changed its position after Saakashvilli attacked S.Ossetia (before august 2008 Russia was against separation od Abhazia and S.Ossetia- it was repeatedly stated)…as for Chechnya now – they don’t want to separate anymore as they vote for pro-Kremlin Kadyrov and were fed up with sharia laws and Al-Queda rules in de-facto separated Chechnya in 1996-99….now all the Islamist-separatists who are still attacking from time to time with terrorist attacks -they are ALL ON US TERRORIST LISTS as everybody understand that they want “independance” in the form of Khaliphate (and they don’t make a secret of it)under Al-Queda rule- are you american? You support Islamist-terrorists, or what?- why you asked such question?

  40. Aimi says:

    Sad. It looks like it could be nice there. Some of the streets look very pretty and those single family houses could be nice places to live but instead have totally fallen into disrepair and squalor. The toll of war and extreme poverty is staggering.

    The office building with half the windows gone still in use is interesting, almost humorous. Abkhazians seem resilient at least.

    I see pictures of beautiful buildings like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dramatic_theatre_Chanba.jpg
    and it seems like there is potential. Maybe someday. But Georgia is a failed state, that whole region is a total mess and Georgia and Russia aren’t making it any better.

  41. exUSSR says:

    Abhazia was beautiful till they started war of independence and theyr citys were bombed by georgians..
    i my self im from kavkaz region and remember that in soviet times Abkhazia was a beautiful place to live in.

  42. Daniel says:

    This is so depressing, it reminds me of Detroit.

  43. authorized1 says:

    I wonder where all the Russian taxpayers’ money is…
    Still looks like 20 years ago during the war.

  44. Ed Franks says:

    What is the ethnicity/language/religion of the current majority population of Abkhazia? Sorry for such a basic question, but finding such answers is tough in this age of political correctness. If most Georgians have left (either voluntarily, or by force, then who remains?
    Thank you.

    • rob says:

      why don’t you want to google in Wikipedia – their language is Abhazian and it has nothing to do with Georgian language, they are mostly Orthodox Christians, but there are some muslims among them (up to 30%)

  45. Andrasone-HUN says:


  46. BORIA says:

    yes everything is truth but i want to live in here.

    from poland with love 🙂

  47. agunda says:


    The majority of people are Abkhazians. Abkhazians are an ancient Circassian tribe who are the true native people of the region like other Circassian tribes. Because of the successful Russification and Russinization policy people speak Russian. Old people also can speak Abkhazian language. Abkhazians are Orthodox Christians.

    It is very funny seeing Georgian And Russian fighting over Abkhazia here. Georgia the invader of Abkhazia, Russia the responsible of the big Circassian Genocide can not decide who tortured Abkhazian most.

    By the way Abkhazia still is a heaven despite the memories of the war on the buildings. These pictures focus on the very bad side. You can represent any country like a misery if you go and picture just garbage.

    • max says:

      They are collaborating with the enemy that erased the homeland of their own kin. You say Georgia is an enemy but who were the 30,000 victims of the war in 1993?

  48. im currently searching through loads of blogs for my wedding. I just came across yours and i absolutely adore it! Keep up the good work!

  49. Dork says:

    The best place to shot an effective horror movie! (I’m serious!) Especially the #17 picuture very lovely with that empty street light.

  50. jo says:

    I agree, you will see more abandoned and trashed cities and buildings in USA’s future, except that the remaining residents will be either the scared hiding behind their doors or the thugs shooting it out on the street.

    I am sorry for failed societies anywhere, but the folks pictured here seem to be struggling with dignity and order. Why not pilfer fixtures in abandonded buildings? Why invest in buildings you dont own? Let the brush grow, soon a forest will appear.

    If their men and boys can stay away from alcohol and cigarettes…if they go back to basic activities like market gardening, repair of infrastructure, and small-scale fabrication…if the homeless could be given shelter in exchange for picking up the litter and cleaning up the dumps…if their historic or distinctive features can be preserved…if they can prevent toxic waste dumping…if mafia and warlords can be kept out…

    Then Abkhazia has a brighter future than most of USA and thousands of towns worldwide.

    Best of luck and best of human wisdom to you!

  51. saumil says:

    Nice and unexplored place surely visit once

    form india.

  52. Sergei says:

    What the hell happened to this place?

  53. lena says:

    I think Abkhazia is it’s own country and it still is beautiful, if you go there and walk trough the mountains and nature you’ll be surprised. In my opinion it still is and always will be one of the most beautiful places on this earth.

  54. max says:

    “Welcome to Abkhazia” Is this a joke? ALL of the pictures contain abandoned buildings with occasional bullet holes. Nonetheless it looks very russian.

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