The capital of Abkhazia has a quiet and calm atmosphere, which is necessary for a good rest. Lovers of antiquities and beautiful architecture will like it here — the city has many monuments of the heritage of the ancient Romans and Greeks, as well as ancient buildings.
Who and why should come to Sukhum
It is worth going to Sukhum if only for the sake of the ancient Roman and Greek ruins and fortresses. Here you can walk along the remains of the fortress of Dioscuria, take a look at the Kelasura wall (a defensive structure, fragments of which have yet to be searched) and the ruins of the Bagrat castle.
In the capital of Abkhazia, in general, there are a lot of interesting and ancient buildings that are worth seeing. For example, two bridges — Besletsky and Krasny, which played an important role in the history of the country and its people, as well as two transport hubs — the Sukhumi seaport and the railway station. Of the religious buildings, it is worth highlighting the Dranda and Annunciation Cathedrals, as well as the Koman Monastery, which is a center of pilgrimage.
If you want to enrich yourself culturally, you should go to the Abkhaz State Museum or the Abkhaz State Art Gallery, where many art objects are collected.
Love nature? Then be sure to go to the Botanical Garden to appreciate the diversity and beauty of the plants planted there, and in the Pskhu-Guministinsky Reserve you can see rare animals and birds. In the vicinity of the capital of Abkhazia, there are also many interesting places — Lake Amtkel, formed as a result of an earthquake, Sukhumi Mountain, which offers stunning views of the city, a deep cave of the Snow Abyss and the picturesque Kodori Gorge.
Cultural attractions and museums of Sukhum
The monastery is a center of pilgrimage and belongs to the Orthodox Abkhazian Church. The building was restored in 1986 on the site of the destroyed old church of the 11th century.
In ancient times, the territory of the monastery was surrounded by a stone wall. And during the restoration, two aisles and a three-story bell tower were added to it. In the temple there is a stone tomb of St. John Chrysostom and an icon with a particle of his relics.
Abkhaz State Art Gallery
In 1964, a branch of the Abkhaz State Museum was opened in Sukhum, which, 30 years later, received the status of a separate art gallery. 3000 works of art are collected here.
The first exhibits of the museum were paintings from the collection of E. Fishkov, including works by such masters as Bubnov, Brendel, Eshba, etc. Thematic exhibitions are regularly held in the building of the art gallery.
The cathedral is an architectural landmark of the city. This neo-Byzantine cruciform church topped with domes was built at the beginning of the 20th century at the expense of the Greek Orthodox community.
In the 80s, they carried out reconstruction and added extensions in connection with the expansion of the parish. Today it is the main cathedral of the Sukhum-Abkhaz and Pitsunda diocese.
Abkhaz State Museum
The largest museum in the country keeps in its funds more than 100 thousand rare exhibits made of textiles, clay and metal, as well as monuments of literature and writing. The pride of the museum is an antique wall made of marble and a bust of Abkhaz masters, which were found at the bottom of Sukhum Bay, as well as Assyrian and Greek shields of the 6th century BC. and aigrette preserved from the Bronze Age.
Ruins of Dioscuria
The ancient fortress was founded on the territory of the current capital of Abkhazia by the Greeks from the colony of Dioskurias. Due to a landslide, the ancient Greek settlement went under water, and in its place the Romans built a fortress city and gave it the name Sebastopolis.
Later, the Genoese and Ottomans settled here. After the arrival of Russian troops in the 19th century, a garrison was located in the fortress, and then a prison. Now on this place there is a good restaurant «Dioskuria».
The Kelasuri wall is an ancient defensive structure, the purpose of which is to protect the city from enemy attacks. It starts 5 km from Sukhum and stretches along the Black Sea coast. The Kelasur tower is also located there — one of the few parts of the fortification that have survived to this day. Finding fragments of the wall is not so easy, but many tourists enthusiastically go in search of it.
The massive Orthodox church, located near the capital of Abkhazia, was built around the 6th century. On its eastern façade there are three projections of the apses, which contain the side rooms and the altar.
The walls inside the cathedral were decorated with images of saints and biblical scenes, but over time they collapsed. Now the temple is undergoing restoration work to return it to its original appearance.
The ruins of the castle of Bagrat
The ancient castle was built on top of a hill over a thousand years ago during the reign of King Bagrat III. The fortress was necessary to protect the city from the Seljuk Turks, but then it lost its defensive significance and was abandoned.
Until today, only 2 towers, a gate made of stone boulders and a powerful wall 2 m thick have survived. From the tower at the western gate you can enjoy the panorama of the city and the Sukhum Bay.
Natural attractions and parks
Sukhumi is home to the oldest botanical garden in the Caucasus. It grows more than 5,000 varieties of shrubs, flowers and trees. Basically, the collection of the garden is represented by local flora, as well as plants from Australia, Asia, the Mediterranean and North America.
The main attraction is the Caucasian linden, which is over 300 years old. It has been growing here since before the foundation of the garden.
Sukhumi monkey nursery
The nursery was established in the 1920s to conduct medical research on primates. Different types of monkeys were able to take root here — baboons, Japanese monkeys, anubis, hamadryas, rhesus monkeys, etc. Today, about 300 primates live in the nursery, which benefit science, and 12 of its inhabitants have even been in space.
Not far from the capital of Abkhazia is the Kodori Gorge — one of the most picturesque places in the Caucasus. This is a river valley with two mountain villages, waterfalls, fast rivers, mountain lakes, mysterious caves and rocky cliffs.
The climate in the gorge is humid, so it is better to plan an excursion in the summer. Here you can enjoy beautiful views and admire the pristine nature. Hiking trails have been laid out for the convenience of tourists.
The height of only 200 m rises majestically above the city. There is a television tower on the mountain, and on the slopes there is the Pantheon of famous people of Abkhazia. Many writers and public figures are buried here.
There is also an Observation Pavilion on the mountain — a real monument of architecture, from which a breathtaking view opens. An asphalt road leads to it, originating from the monumental Arch.
Pskhu-Gumista State Reserve
The reserve, founded in 1946, is located near Sukhum on the slopes of the Bzyb Range. The area of its territory is about 13,000 hectares, where rare and relic species of trees grow — boxwood, Georgian oak, laurel cherry, oriental beech, Caucasian fir, berry yew, etc. Various animals and birds live here, and fish are found in the streams.
The lake was formed due to an earthquake that collapsed the slope of the Maly Shapach mountain on the banks of the Amtkel River. As a result, the channel was blocked, and in the upper reaches the water began to accumulate rapidly. And so the lake appeared, which became the second largest in Abkhazia.
The presence of a person is practically not visible here, so tourists come to Amtkel to admire the wildlife. The lake overflows heavily during heavy rains, and the water comes out through underground paths to the surface, then flowing into the Jampal River.
In fact, this is not an abyss, but a cave that was discovered in 1971 by Moscow speleologists. It is located on the Bzyb Ridge and is the longest and deepest in the territory of the former USSR.
The cave has two entrances, there really is snow inside, and under it a river with many tributaries flows, forming waterfalls and halls. There are many beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, gypsum flowers in the Snowy Abyss. Speleologists discovered many wells, two large halls and an underground river.
Presumably, the Beslet bridge served as an important military-strategic object in the 11th-12th centuries. According to historians, a transport route passed through the Besletka River, which connected several valleys.
The bridge was erected in compliance with all the canons of the architectural art of that time and is a single-span stone arch. It is very strong and even now has a load capacity of 8 tons.
The clock house is one of the main attractions of Sukhum. It was built in 1914 to house the local administration. In 1950, the Moscow authorities presented the city with chimes, which were built into the tower of the building — hence the name “House with a Clock” came from. The building organically fits into the architectural ensemble of the center.
The lighthouse was built in the Sukhumi Bay in the 19th century to warn ships of dangerous rocks and act as a navigator at night or in bad weather. You can go up to the observation deck of the lighthouse and look from above at the Black Sea and the metropolitan area with New Athos in the distance. Not far from the building is a sand and pebble beach, stretching for 3 km.
This bridge cannot be called remarkable in terms of architecture, but it is of great importance in the history of the people of Abkhazia. It was built in 1951 — a reinforced concrete arch bridge was needed to cross the Besletka River, as well as to connect the barracks of soldiers and officers’ quarters.
The building was painted red, hence its name. It was here in 1992 that the first line of defense of the Abkhaz troops against the invaders from Georgia was located.
Residence of the President of Abkhazia
The luxurious and majestic palace is located in the capital of Abkhazia. A well-groomed green area is laid out around the building, sprawling palm trees grow. In the evening, the backlight turns on here, with which the palace looks especially impressive. Tourists are allowed to approach the residence building and take photos, but they are not allowed inside.
Sukhumi railway station
The building of the Sukhumi railway station is worthy of being called a local landmark. This luxurious building with rich decoration and stucco was built in the 50s.
During the armed conflict in 1993, the building was almost completely destroyed and abandoned. Until now, figs and other trees grow on the second floor of the station, although now the station again serves trains.
The seaport of Sukhum is an important transport hub — it has three terminals. Previously, large ships from various countries of the Black Sea region arrived here. On the territory of the port there is a sea station, the building of which is made in the form of a ship.