18 interesting sights that will surprise you in Gagra
Gagra is a city in Abkhazia, where you can rest economically, but still see all the colors of nature and visit the spacious beaches of the Black Sea. Local cuisine amazes tourists with its variety and great abundance of meat. This is a resort town, whose mountains protect Gagra from winds and cold. Bathing season begins in early May and ends in November.
What sights you can see on your own, what to visit in Gagra with a guide
Choosing what sights to see in Old and New Gagra, be guided by the availability of transport and your interests. So. if you don’t have a guide, but you have a car, you should definitely visit Lake Ritsa, which impresses with its beauty, and on the way stop at the Blue Lake. If you are interested in abandoned architecture, you should go and see the train station, the cinema and the fortress of Prince of Orenburg. And if you find a free day, you must visit the mountain Mamdzishkha, from which you can see the incredible beauty of local scenic beauty.
Most of the tours are taken already on the spot, because the locals love to haggle and you can negotiate a lower price. There are several excursions, for example, Lake Ritsa, Blue Lake and Mount Mamdzishkha. Tourists are not advised to get there on their own, because the route is quite heavy and has big rocks. Thus, it is advised to take a car with a driver for complete safety.
In Gagra you can nicely combine beach vacation and hiking in the mountains
On each of the excursions will have to spend almost a whole day. Excursions in Gagra and Sukhumi are offered at every step, you just need to know how to negotiate the best price.
Not far from the city of Gagra there are Alpine meadows, you can go to the Gagra waterfall, which is definitely advised to visit if you find yourself in the vicinity of this area. To drive to the waterfall is possible only from May to October, because at other times, the road is covered with snow and it is simply impossible to get there. Even in the summer to pass there only by UAZ trucks.
Bad weather in this place is very rare, because the mountains surrounding this city do not let the cold wind to enter and keep warm. Even if it’s raining or snowing in Gagra, Lake Ritsa and Blue Lake will still amaze with its beauty. There are many different restaurants and cafes with national Abkhaz cuisine.
Gagra is an interesting place where you can see incredible beauty of nature and ancient buildings of architecture, which are almost destroyed, under the influence of weather and time, and in the evening to find a pleasant entertainment.
The building of the railway station
The building of the railway station was built in 1943, during the Great Patriotic War and was of great strategic importance to the country. At the moment the station is not working, but the architecture of the place is striking for its beauty. Local authorities are planning to modernize the railway station to increase the flow of tourists. Opposite the station is a monument dedicated to the heroes of World War II.
Lake Ritsa became accessible to tourists only in 1936, when they built a road to this place. The water in the lake is considered therapeutic and is compared to the mineral water “Borjomi”. The lake is 115 meters deep and 65 square meters long. Tourists are very fond of this place, even in winter you can see a lot of guests in this place. It costs about 300 rubles to enter the territory of the lake. Near Lake Ritsa there are several cafes and developed infrastructure, such as rental of catamarans, etc.
According to some sources river Reproia is considered to be the shortest river in the world. The length of the river reaches only 18 meters. The river begins in a cave on the Arabica plateau and the deepest cave in the world, the Krubera Voronja, and flows into the Black Sea. The water temperature is constant throughout the year at 11 degrees. The river supplies 40 % of the drinking water of Gagra. During all the time the river has been studied, it never completely dried up.
Basilica is located near the town of Gagra, in the village Tsandripsh. The Tsandripsh Basilica was built in about the VI century AD and is made of roughly hewn stone. Most of the basilica has survived to this day. This temple was the largest in the area, and it was there that everyone was baptized. The temple was rebuilt in the IX-X centuries. The temple was built right on the seashore, next to the once Byzantine fortress.
The Church of Abaat
The Church of Abaat was built by Caucasian peasants in the VI century. In Abkhazia this church is one of the oldest structures built on this territory. At first it was called the Church of the Shroud of the Mother of God, then it was renamed the Church of Gagra or the Church of Abaata. There was both a museum and a powder cellar in it, but in 2007 services began to be held there again. Thus, the church is currently a working church. The church is made of rough unhewn blocks.
Cinema Gagra is situated on the coast of Black Sea. Earlier it was the Winter Theater, and the Soviet authorities renamed it into a movie theater. It was built in the middle of XX century. During the war, the theater was shelled, but much was restored. Now the cinema is not working, but from the outside it looks like a beautiful palace, which is a must visit. At the entrance to the theater there are two beautiful golden lions that are sure to attract the attention of tourists.
On the way to Lake Ritsa there is Blue Lake. The lake gives a very beautiful shade of caralic, because of the lazurite stone at the bottom of the lake. The area of the lake is 200 square meters, and its deepest part reaches 75 meters. Its origin is very interesting for tourists, because it was formed by underground tremors of the earth, after which the underground water came out and formed the Blue Lake. Water in the lake never freezes. The average temperature of the water in the lake during the whole year is 7-10 degrees above zero.
Gagra Water Park is the only water park on the territory of Abkhazia. It is open only in the summer season. The cost of a season ticket for adults is 1000 rubles, for children 800 rubles for the whole day. Remember that if you have to leave the water park, you have to buy a new subscription to enter. There are 9 slides in the water park, one of which is the most “adrenaline,” and start there only adults. The length of this slide is 101 meters. From the height of the slides opens up a beautiful panorama of the city and the Black Sea.
The city is divided into Old and New Gagra. The nominal dividing line is the river Tsikherva. It is in Old Gagra where all the sights and ancient buildings are located, but there is almost no place for tourists to live here, for this there is New Gagra, where there are many resorts, markets and transport. In Old Gagra you can have a quiet moderate holiday, without the noise and various entertainment venues. Here you can see picturesque views of nature and architecture buildings. At the beach of Old Gagra there are much less people resting than in New Gagra.
Opening of the restaurant “Gagripsh” in 1903 is associated with the birth of the resort of Gagra. Earlier, next to the restaurant, there was Eugenia Oldenburgskaya Castle, but the palace did not survive to this day. The restaurant serves national food. It is worth going to “Gagripsh” at least once, or at least to see it from outside and take photos. The restaurant is open only in the tourist season, and the rest of the time it can’t be visited by tourists and locals.
The park was founded in 1902. Plants were brought to Seaside Park from different parts of the world: from Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Locals and tourists are frequent visitors to this park, because there are more than 400 species of plants. Earlier in the Seaside Park were statues, fountains and ponds, but to this day, almost nothing has survived. A few small ponds with peacocks and swans remained. There are date and coconut palms, Himalayan cedars, and a candy tree.
The tower was built from the constant raids of mountaineers from the Northwest Caucasus. It was where the highlanders crossed from one ridge to the other. The architect of this tower was Colonel K. P. Danzas, whom Pushkin invited to be his second in a duel. Marlinsky Tower was made in the form of a cylinder and was built in the middle of the 19th century. However, the tower in its entirety has not survived to this day. At the moment, this fortress separates the two houses standing next door to each other. After the flood in 1940, the Marlinski tower was almost a ruin.
The fortress of Abaata
In the 5th century AD the Abaata fortress was built in Abkhazia. Near the fortress is the temple of St. Hypatia. In the XX century, Prince of Oldenburg ordered to break one of the walls of the fortress and turn it into a hotel. Several times the fortress was destroyed, but it is constantly trying to restore the local authorities. Near the fortress is a park of Prince of Oldenburg. From the fortress little remained, because part of it was given under the hotel Abaata, part under the restaurant and the temple.
The castle of Prince of Oldenburg.
The castle was built in 1902 for the Prince of Oldenburg, who dreamed of transforming the picturesque area into a resort town in which he could shelter guests to recuperate and rest their souls. But soon, the prince had to go to war, thus leaving all the buildings. At the moment the castle belongs to private individuals who are planning to reconstruct the building. On the way to the castle there is a small pond, which is inhabited by herons that are not afraid of people. For a while this place was called Stalin’s sanatorium, later it was renamed “Chaika”. At the moment is the castle of Prince of Oldenburg.
In the center of Old Gagra is the Gagra Colonnade. It consists of 4 large towers, between each tower there are 8 mini arches. The length of the colonnade is 60 meters. To look at this attraction is absolutely free. This place was often filmed in different movies, the most famous of which is “A Winter Evening in Gagra. This monument of architecture was officially opened in 1956, and it was the year when Gagra was called a resort city. Also, at night the colonnade is illuminated by a beautiful backlight, which allows you to admire the arch not only during the day but also in the evening.
Cicherva River Gorge
River Tsikherva divides the Old and New Gagra. If you go deep into the gorge, you can see a stone cave of Evpatii, which consists of two spacious rooms. Not far from the cave, if you walk along the road, there is a waterfall. If you go further, you can see the stalactite cave. There are also beautiful panoramic views of Gagra, Pitsunda and Bzyb River. Tsikherva can be translated from Abkhazian as “dried up spring”.
The gorge is located on the territory of Old Gagra. The gorge is named after the river Joekvary (Abkhazian for “12 springs”). The area of this place is vast. In the gorge were found ancient paths that most likely belonged to the ancient Spartans of the Caucasus. In Joekvar Gorge you can see some structures. One of them is a watchtower built in 1841, which is called Marlinsky Tower. Tourists who have visited this gorge, note the picturesque view and ancient structures located in it.
The height of Mount Mamdzishkha reaches 1842 meters. One can climb it either on foot, which takes half a day, or by car. To get to the top, you must travel about 30 kilometers. On the mountain there are several viewing platforms, which offer an incredibly beautiful view. On the way there is a cafe. Before 5 km to the top, two roads branch off, one of which leads to the meadows and the other to the caves. You can paraglide down the mountain. This place is a must-see for tourists if you manage to come to Gagry.