10 things to do in Abkhazia

You have not decided where to go on vacation? Do you want at sea, but there is no desire to apply for a visa? We invite you to consider a vacation option in Abkhazia! Untouched nature, pristine beaches, Caucasian hospitality, and relative cheapness – these are just a few reasons why you should visit this place.

Task number 1: try the Abkhaz cuisine

You can safely go to Abkhazia on a gastronomic tour. Local cuisine pleases gourmets with all kinds of dishes. Here are five names that you should definitely find on the menu and order yourself for lunch:

  • Mamalyga (thick porridge made from cornmeal, which actually replaces bread);
  • Akash (Abkhazian cheese pie);
  • Akad and cheap (bean dishes served with greens and vegetables);
  • Akuma (stewed mutton with spices);
  • Barbecue.

Do not forget to try Abkhaz sweets, cheese, Ayran, and wine. They cook here so deliciously that this item rightfully takes first place in our list of tasks.

Task number 2: admire the wildlife

The economy of Abkhazia cannot boast of particular success. But there is no silver lining. The lack of industry has the best effect on the conservation of the environment. Russia and Abkhazia are bordered by protected lands; on the Russian side, it is the Caucasian Biosphere Reserve, on the Abkhaz side – the Ritsin Relic National Park. Reserved lands occupy 10% of the country’s territory and contribute to the preservation of diverse fauna and ancient preglacial species of flora.

In Ritsinsky relict national park grows more than 800 species of plants. In addition to the oaks, firs, firs, and pines well known to us, rare species of trees can be found here. For example, Iberian oak, Sosnowski maple, and black alder. 

When strolling through a national park, be careful. Large wild animals live here. It is quite possible to come across a boar, a wolf, a deer, and even a brown bear.

Task number 3: Visit the New Athos monastery

One of the most popular tourist places in Abkhazia is New Athos. The city has an ancient history, the first mention of it dates back to the III century. Archaeologists believe that before this city was a developed trading point. In 1875, Russian monks founded a man’s monastery at the foot of Mount Athos, and this place also became the largest religious center.

Once the monastery was visited by Emperor Alexander III with his family. As a gift to the monks, he brought chimes, which later began to adorn one of the bells of the monastery. 

Now in the New Athos monastery, there are six temples. They are open to visitors, but it is worth considering that women are allowed only with their heads covered and in long-sex clothes.

You can get to the monastery both from Sukhum and from Sochi. The easiest way to take a shuttle bus that takes you to the city of New Athos. If you do not want to travel on your own, you can contact the numerous tour companies. A visit to the monastery is included in all standard tours in Abkhazia.

Task №4: To see the New Athos cave

Near the New Athos monastery in 1961, a local resident discovered a giant underground cave. Since 1975, it is open to tourists. A special train will take you to a stunning underground complex, whose depth is 183 meters and a length of 3000 meters.

The cave consists of 9 halls, 6 of them can be accessed as part of standard sightseeing tours that take place daily. You will see stalactites and stalagmites, underground lakes and stone waterfalls. The cave has amazing acoustics, which is why music concerts are held in some rooms in the summer.

To visit this place, you need to get to the city of New Athos and get off at the Rakushka stop. You will recognize it by its characteristic design.

Task number 5: enjoy the view of Lake Ritsa

The picturesque Ritsa Lake is located at an altitude of 950 meters above sea level. It has a glacial-tectonic origin and was mapped relatively recently, in 1865. Prior to this, only local hunters and shepherds knew about its existence.

Surprisingly, the water in the lake changes color depending on the time of year. In summer and spring, the water here is green-yellow, and in autumn and winter – blue-blue. The beauty of this place was noted by the Soviet leaders. Right by the lake are the dachas of Stalin, Brezhnev, and Khrushchev. You can get into them by ordering a special tour.

You can get to the lake as part of sightseeing tours and by car. The road from the M-27 highway leads to this wonderful place. If you go from the direction of Sukhum, then the turn will be one kilometer after the bridge over the Bzyb River. If you get from Gagra, then the desired turn can be found a kilometer from the traffic police post.

Task number 6: Explore the Sukhumi Botanical Garden

If you want to hide from the southern heat in the shade of trees, you can’t imagine a better place than the Sukhumi Botanical Garden. The garden was laid in 1838, its area is more than 30 hectares. The main attraction is the Caucasian linden, which grew here even before the foundation of the garden. She is about 300 years old and this is a very large tree – a trunk of more than three meters in diameter. The Botanical Garden boasts another centenarian – sequoia planted in 1848. 

In total, about 5 thousand different species of trees and plants from around the world are represented in the garden. There are “guests” from Southeast Asia, America, and even Australia.

The Botanical Garden is located at 22. D. Gulia Street, 22. It is easy to find, as there are other famous sights of Sukhum nearby. For example, the Philharmonic.

Task number 7: Feed the monkeys in the Sukhumi nursery

Another interesting place for tourists in Abkhazia is the Sukhumi monkey nursery. It was founded in 1927. It conducted experiments on monkeys, the purpose of which was to study various diseases.

Today the nursery belongs to the research institute of experimental pathology and therapy of the Academy of Sciences of Abkhazia. It contains about a thousand primates.

Since the monkey nursery is going through hard times, animals need more care and care. Therefore, the staff of the nursery is very pleased to meet every tourist, because the sale of food for monkeys is an important source of income for this establishment.

To find the monkey nursery, you need to walk along the Botanical Garden and climb the mountain through a special staircase. Such an ascent will take no more than 15 minutes.

Task number 8: Find the Bedia Cathedral

It is very interesting to travel by car through the territory of Abkhazia. The country is small, but the history of this land is rich. Passing by the next village, field or mountain plateau, do not forget to look around. Probably on the way you will come across ancient buildings, many of which have long been abandoned. Do not spare time, stop and take a walk near the ruins. Surrounded by walls that are several hundred years old, it seems that the very course of time is changing.

You can start your search by traveling to Bedia Cathedral. It was built in the 10th century in honor of the Vlaherna Icon of the Mother of God. The walls of the temple partially preserved three layers of frescoes, which date back to the X, XIII and XVI centuries. Currently, the temple is undergoing restoration work.

Finding a cathedral is not so easy. It is located ten kilometers from the border with Georgia. Public transport practically does not go here. Have to take a car or negotiate with a private trader. From Sukhum, you need to drive about 77 kilometers along the Abzhui highway in the direction of Tbilisi and not miss a turn to the villages of Bedia and Agubedia.

Task №9: Take a picture of Gegsky waterfall

In the valley of the Gega river at an altitude of more than 500 meters above sea level is the famous Gegsky waterfall. You could see him in such popular Soviet films as “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson”, “Sportloto-82” and “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”.

The waterfall is located five kilometers from the road leading to Lake Ritsa, but it is difficult to get to it. Only owners of SUVs will be able to go straight to the waterfall, the rest will have to go on foot.

Task number 10: Walk in the alpine meadows of Abkhazia

Eco-tourists from all over the world travel to Abkhazia to, among other things, look at the picturesque alpine meadows of the Caucasus. In Abkhazia, they are found northeast of the mountain village of Avadhara at an altitude of more than two thousand meters.

In the zone of alpine meadows, there is a mountain Mamdzyshha popular with tourists. Climbing to the top will take 6-7 hours if you dare to go on foot, and 50 minutes by car; but the view of the surrounding cliffs, winding rivers and magnificent meadows you will never forget.

You can get to Mamdzyshha Mountain from Gagra. It is necessary to overcome six kilometers on a good asphalt road. You can get there by car, taxi or minibus. In addition, excursion groups regularly go to the mountain.

Delicious national cuisine, stunning nature, ancient temples, underground caves, and waterfalls are just a small part of the beauties of Abkhazia, where, without any doubt, you can have a great vacation and have a good rest.

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