17 best attractions of New Athos – description and photos

17 New Athos sights worth seeing

dostoprimechatelnosti-novogo-afona

Novy Afon is a small town in Abkhazia, located on the Black Sea coast. Back in the III century there was a large trading center in its place, and in the VIII century it became the capital of the Abkhazian kingdom. Today the sights of New Athos remind us of its history: ancient fortresses and temples.

Tourists also come here to admire the picturesque surroundings of the resort: the sea coast and mountain caves, subtropical forests and man-made groves.

Iversky mountain

Iverskaya mountain

Iberian Mountain.

Iverskaya mountain is 344 meters tall and can be seen from any part of the city. Several of the resort’s landmarks are located here, including the ancient Anakopia Fortress, founded in the 5th century, and the deep New Athos Cave.

Why visit:

Iversky Mountain is visited not only for the natural and historical sights, but also for the beautiful views. From the top you can see a large part of the Black Sea coast – from Cape Pitsunda in the west to Sukhumi in the east.

You can climb to the top by road, which serpentine runs along the slopes. Walking will take about an hour, you can also order a horseback ride.

Address: Iverskaya mountain, New Athos, Abkhazia.

New Athos Cave

New Athos Cave

New Athos Cave.

New Athos Cave, one of the largest karst cavities in Abkhazia, is located under Iversky Mount. The total volume of the halls of the cave, opened by a local resident in the 1960s, is about one million cubic meters.

Why visit:

The cave is equipped for tourists. A small railroad line was even built for visitors: it runs through a tunnel in the rock, and it takes only a few minutes to get to the entrance of the cave by electric train.

There are guided tours through the underground halls, during which you can see several lakes, picturesque garlands of stalactites and bizarre stone piles. Standard excursion takes about one and a half hours and it is recommended to take warm clothes for visiting (even in the height of summer it is not more than +14 degrees in the cave).

Address: New Athos Cave, Chanba Street, New Athos, Abkhazia.

New Athos Monastery

New Athos Monastery

New Athos Monastery.

In 1875 a large territory near New Athos was given to the Orthodox monks who founded a monastery here. The construction of the complex lasted for several years, and by the beginning of the 20th century it became a big Christian center. In 1924, however, the monastery was closed by the Soviet authorities. In 1994 the revival of the monastery began.

Why visit:

The New Athos Monastery is active, but it is open for visitors. The monastery is situated in a picturesque place – on a hill near the seashore, it is surrounded with forests and groves. However, the main attractions of the complex are architectural and religious.

The pearl of the complex is the late 19th century Panteleimon Cathedral. This majestic building is in New Byzantine style and is crowned with 5 gilt domes. Inside the walls of the cathedral are painted with frescoes. During the tour around the monastery you can also see the residential and service buildings that surround the main temple.

Address: New Athos Monastery, New Athos, Abkhazia.

The best excursions in New Athos:

Trail of Sinners

Path of sinners

Path of sinners.

The Path of Sinners is sometimes called the Cypress Alley leading to the New Athos Monastery. According to an old local legend, to earn forgiveness of sins, you must climb this stony path on your knees.

Why visit:

The Sinner’s Trail runs through scenic areas: it is surrounded by parkland with cypress, lemon, olive and other trees. Tourists often stroll along the alley, so street vendors can be found along the way: locals sell souvenirs, homemade wine, and groceries.

Address: Cypress Alley, New Athos, Abkhazia.

Anakopia Fortress

Anakopia Fortress

Anakopia Fortress.

In the IV-V centuries on the top of the mountain Iversky was built a fortress designed to protect the settlement Anakopia from raids. Well-fortified citadel was repeatedly attacked, but relatively well preserved to this day. In 2008 the complex was partially reconstructed.

Why visit:

Anakopia Fortress is one of the most popular historical sites throughout Abkhazia. Fragments of solid stone walls have been preserved here, as well as several towers, one of which was recently reconstructed. In the fortress there is also an Inexhaustible well – a complex system of vessels, in which the dew and rainwater accumulated. The well works properly until now.

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Tours of the fortress are available at the ticket office, which is located on the road below the complex. Near the ticket office there is a paid parking lot and viewing platform.

Address: Anakopia Fortress, New Athos, Abkhazia.

Psyrtskha Reserve

Psyrtskha reserve

Psyrtskha Reserve.

Psyrtskha River flows through New Athos, on the banks of which the reserve is located. On its territory there are both natural and historical attractions.

Why visit:

In the reserve, not far from the Psyrtskha railway station, there is the grotto of Simon Kananit, a secluded monastic cell, which can be reached by a mountain path. Tourists also come here to breathe the clean air of pine forest, taste the water from local springs, admire the beautiful mountains and waterfall.

Address: Historical gorge of the PSYrdzha river, New Athos, Abkhazia.

The New Athos embankment

New Athos seafront

The New Athos embankment.

Along the coast of the Black Sea in New Athos there is an embankment, which is approximately 6 km long. Here there are flowerbeds, planted palms and decorative shrubs, next to which there is a walking area.

Why visit:

New Athos promenade is a good place for walking. Locals and tourists come here to admire the seascapes and take pictures. The promenade is well lit, near the main tourist infrastructure of the resort, so there are also many holidaymakers in the evenings.

Address: New Athos Beach, New Athos, Abkhazia.

New Athos waterfall

New Athos waterfall

New Athos Waterfall.

In 1882 for the needs of the New Athos Monastery under construction on the Psyrtskha river there was a hydroelectric power plant with a dam. As a result, there appeared a man-made waterfall which was used for irrigation and other household needs. After the closure of the monastery in the 1920s, the hydroelectric power plant stopped working, but in 2012 it was re-launched.

Why visit:

The waterfall is over 8 meters high and about 20 meters long. It can be viewed during a tour of Novoafonsky monastery or included in a walk in the neighborhood. Nearby there is a picturesque railway station Psyrtskha, the temple of Simon Kananit, there are souvenir stores and cafes.

Address: New Athos Waterfall, New Athos, Abkhazia.

The temple and grotto of Simon Kananit

Simon Kananit Church

The temple of Simon Kananit.

In New Athos is the site where the Christian apostle Simon Kananit was murdered in the first century AD. This saint was one of the first preachers of Christianity in Abkhazia, so he has long been revered by local residents. In IX-X centuries on the place of the apostle’s death was built a temple. There is also a cell next to it, where, according to legend, the saint lived.

Why visit:

The Temple of Simon the Zealot is a small building in the laconic Byzantine style typical of ancient Abkhazian churches. Its walls are built of white limestone, and ancient inscriptions in Greek, which date back to the early Middle Ages, are preserved above the entrance.

The cave cell of the Apostle is located in a gorge on the territory of Psyrtskha Reserve. You can get there by the path that starts near the temple and leads up the slope. Along the way you will come across a spring and a lot of convenient viewing platforms.

Address: Simon Kananit Temple, New Athos, Abkhazia.

Seaside Park

Seaside Park

Seaside Park. | Photo: wikimedia.

At the end of the XIX century, during the construction of the New Athos Monastery a large park was laid out next to it. On the territory there were artificial ponds, in which fish was bred, and there were planted fruit trees and bushes. In Soviet times, the park was not abandoned – new sculptures were installed here, and local residents and tourists continued to walk along the green alleys.

Why visit:

Seaside Park remains a popular place for a relaxing holiday even today. There are many beautiful shady alleys, there are walking paths, flowerbeds and benches. Also you can walk around the artificial ponds, to which swans often come.

Address: Seaside Park, New Athos, Abkhazia.

Abkhaz Kingdom Museum

Museum of the Kingdom of Abkhazia

Museum of Kingdom of Abkhazia.

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The museum dedicated to the ancient kingdom of Abkhazia was recently opened in New Athos in 2010. Its exposition covers different periods of development of the state and tells both about important historical events and about the life of ordinary people.

Why visit:

The museum’s collection includes samples of weapons, household items, household implements, documents and other exhibits. During the tour you can see an ancient winemaking press, a reconstructed boat of the 19th century, and a large exposition about the building of the New Athos monastery.

Address: Museum of local history, New Athos, Abkhazia.

Psyrtskha Tower

Psyrtskha Tower

Psyrtskha Tower.

In the XIII-XIV centuries the Genoese colony was located in New Athos. The old Psyrtskhinskaya Tower belongs to that period: it was part of the defensive wall, which ran along the coast. Later the fortifications were destroyed, and a new building was added to the surviving ruins of the tower in the XIX.

Why visit:

The Psyrtskha Tower survived to this day surrounded by later constructions. It stands out against the neighbouring buildings: there are battlement windows in rough stone walls, which remind of the tower’s military past. The roof is modern, and the old interior (except for the floor) is not preserved.

The tower can be viewed during a walk through the Seaside Park. A fragment of the ancient fortifications is located on Lakoba Street.

Address: Lakoba Street, New Athos, Abkhazia.

Three Cauldrons

Three Cauldrons

The Three Cauldrons.

Three Cauldrons are called karst baths, located at the bottom of the gorge, approximately 2.5 km from the New Athos Cave. The natural voids, formed here many years ago, are filled with pure river water.

Why visit:

The area near the Three Cauldrons is great for picnics and other outdoor recreation. The water in them is almost always clear, and you can also see the streams pouring into the karst baths in beautiful waterfalls. There are also views of a picturesque canyon with vines and trees. There is a café next to the attraction where you can grab a bite to eat after your walk.

Location: 2,5 km. from New Athos Cave.

Stalin’s Dacha

Stalin's dacha

Stalin’s Dacha.

In the neighborhood of New Athos Monastery there is a government residence, built by Stalin’s order. Since 1947 soviet General Secretary and his guests used to regularly stay here. After the collapse of the USSR, the complex was rarely used.

Why visit:

Stalin’s Dacha is now turned into a museum. Stop by for a tour to see the restored interiors of the study, bedroom, reception area, bathrooms, and other rooms. Much of the furnishings were lost in the 1990s, but the facility is gradually being reconstructed.

Address: Stalin’s Dacha, Abkhazia, New Athos, Abkhazia.

Chapel of Theotokos of Iveron

The Chapel of Our Lady of Iver

Chapel of Our Lady of Iveron.

Iverskie Mount in New Athos got its name in honor of the icon of Our Lady of Iveron. It was kept in a small temple at the top of the mountain, built back in the 7th century and later destroyed. In 1913, local monks erected a new chapel, and ancient bas-reliefs found during excavations of the Anakopia citadel were used for the construction.

Why visit:

The small stone chapel is open to the public, and all are welcome to enter. Inside there is an icon of the Iveron Mother of God. Near the church there is a source, the water from which is considered healing.

Address: Anakopia Fortress, New Athos, Abkhazia.

Museum of Military Glory

Museum of Military Glory

Museum of Military Glory.

On the Heroes’ Square in New Athos there is a memorial dedicated to the Georgian-Abkhazian war of 1992-1993. The complex is a snow-white structure with a belfry that houses a museum.

Why visit:

The Museum of Military Glory houses a small permanent exhibit, which can be viewed for free. The museum’s collection includes photos and documents, and you can also learn about local people who died during the conflict. On September 30, the day the war ended, memorial events are held near the memorial.

Address: New Athos Museum of Military Glory, Tbilisi – Senaki – Leselidz Hayway, New Athos, Abkhazia.

Tskvara

Thermal springs of Tskvara

Thermal springs of Tskvara.

Choosing what to see in New Athos, pay attention to the outskirts of the city. Just 7 km away is the village of Tskvara, a famous balneological resort.

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Why visit:

There is a hydrogen sulfide spring in Tskvara, the water from which is used to treat gastrointestinal diseases and other ailments. You can take a preventive or therapeutic course in the local health resort. The resort also uses curative mud and offers massage procedures.

The surroundings of the village are very picturesque. Near the resort flows a rough mountain river with a waterfall, you can find places for picnics or walks.

The 20 best attractions of New Athos

Novy Afon is a cozy resort town in Abkhazia, spread out on the Black Sea coast. It is an amazing place, famous for its marvelous nature, architectural monuments, clean beaches.

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Who comes to New Athos and why?

New Athos, founded in the III century, attracts tourists with its turbulent past full of interesting events. The city buried in verdure has preserved fragments of defensive walls, military fortresses, ancient monasteries and temples. People come to see the picturesque historical center, take a walk along the waterfront, breathe the air, impregnated with needles and sea salt.

In New Athos cultures of different countries and peoples are harmoniously intertwined. To learn about history, tourists explore the main museum. There are exhibits covering events since Byzantine times, Turkish rule and becoming a part of the Russian Empire.

New Athos is popular among gourmets. There are many restaurants and cafes that specialize in preparing dishes of national cuisine. Guests go to taste the real Abkhazian adjika, shish kebab of lamb, yeast pie with cheese, stuffed eggplant with nuts, mamaliga, bean soup with peppers.

New Athos does not allow anyone to be bored. Lovers of unhurried rest spend their days surrounded by magnolias, eucalyptus trees, mountain forests, waterfalls, enjoying the scenery and silence. Active people go hiking in the countryside, explore the mountain slopes, ride horses, swim in canoes, go fishing.

Here is a well organized children’s leisure. Hotels and guest houses have pools with inflatable slides, playgrounds, and game rooms. For walks in the fresh air the embankment, city park, coniferous groves are suitable. An unforgettable experience is guaranteed by a sightseeing tour of historical sites and a tour of the New Athos Waterfall.

Interesting places and architecture

Anakopia Fortress

anakopiska krepost

On Anakopia Mountain is an ancient Abkhazian fortress. It was founded in the VII century by the Byzantines and was intended to protect the city from the Arabs. The powerful fortification consisted of a fortress wall and towers. It was possible to get into the courtyard only by the attached ladder.

Today Anakopia fortress lies in ruins. During the reconstruction it was possible to restore the watchtower, fragments of the circumferential walls, some outbuildings. On a tour people explore the magnificent example of ancient architecture, climb to the observation deck, try the water from the inexhaustible well.

Psyrtskha Tower

pscirhinska basnia

There are military fortifications of XI-XII centuries in New Athos, protecting the area from the sea. In the 19th century new premises were added to them and they were used as a hotel. Later in the original house opened a health complex “Abkhazia”.

The Psyrtskha Tower is still part of modern buildings, standing out due to its simple trapezoidal shape, rough masonry and narrow windows. From internal furnish has remained the ancient stone floor.

New Athos Monastery

novoafonski monastir

At the foot of the Afonsky Mount there is an Orthodox monastery, founded in 1875. There are six temples, houses of monks, refectory and outbuildings. The central cathedral, built in the Neobyzantine style, is crowned with five domes. The interior walls are painted with paintings with Biblical scenes.

Shortly before his death the monastery was visited by the Russian emperor Alexander III. Chimes on the bell tower, presented by the tsar, the alley of cypress trees, laid out from the port to the monastery, and the chapel, built on the place of the meeting of the monarch with the abbot remind of his visit.

Temple of Simon the Zealot

hram simona kananita

The temple, built during the Abkhaz Kingdom, is a unique monument of ancient architectural architecture. The modest tri-chapseed church of white limestone has a high central dome topped with a cross. Inside, Greek early Christian inscriptions carved on the walls have been preserved.

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The active church is a place of pilgrimage for the faithful. People from all over the country come here to participate in divine services, to ask for the happiness of their families and the intercession of the saint.

Chapel of Theotokos of Iveron

chasovnia

In 1913 on Mount Athos the monks erected a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Iveron. The small structure was used to store the miraculous icon brought from St. Panteleimon Monastery. The monks believed that the Iveron Mother of God depicted on it protected the mountain from invaders.

The walls of the building are painted with Christian symbols: shamrocks, crosses, fishes. Near the chapel there is a holy spring from which the faithful draw healing water.

The grotto of Simon the Zealot

grot simona

In the gorge Psyrtskha there is a grotto, in which, according to legend, was the cell of the Apostle Simon Kananit. Monks from Mount Athos blessed it and converted it into a chapel.

The road to the cell goes along the river Psyrtskha. On the way there is a huge boulder with the imprint of a human foot, believers believe that it was left by Simon Kananita himself. Climbing up the cliff in a grotto, you can see ancient icons and a cross carved on the wall.

Museums

Abkhaz Kingdom Museum

musei abhaskogo carstva

There is a museum in New Athos that preserves the treasures of the Kingdom of Abkhazia and tells about the culture and life of the people who inhabit this region.

Archaeological finds, items of arts and crafts, jewelry, ancient kitchen utensils, medieval weapons, musical instruments, national costumes are exhibited in spacious halls. A separate room contains documents, maps and photos, showing how the appearance of New Athos changed from the early 20th century to the present.

Stalin’s Dacha

dacha stalina

In 1947 not far from the New Athos Monastery Stalin’s dacha was built. The two-storeyed house was decorated with a valuable species of trees, the walls were braided with wild grapes. The dacha is surrounded by a lush park of cypresses, olive trees, eucalyptus. In the green zone, alleys are continued, benches for relaxing are installed, beds with roses are laid out.

Stalin’s house is used for official meetings of the government of Abkhazia. At other times it is used for organized excursions for tourists.

Memorial of Military Glory

memorial boevoi slavi

On the square of heroes in 2002 opened a memorial museum in memory of those killed in the Georgian-Abkhazian war. It is a snow-white belfry in the form of an arch, which is accessed by broad steps. Inside the museum there is an exposition that describes the events of past years.

On the walls there are pictures of soldiers and portraits of heroes. Glass niches hold documents, maps and books. Near the memorial complex there is an alley of memory planted. Every year on September 30th people gather here to honor the memory of the fallen.

Ethnographic Museum

etno musei

There is a small ethnographic museum in New Athos. Several halls contain things that illustrate the life and culture of Abkhazians. Tourists can see models of rural cabins made of twigs and straw, old tools, crockery, hand-made carpets, musical instruments. In a separate collection presents national clothes and shoes.

Natural attractions

New Athos Cave

novoafonska peshera

On the slope of Iversky Mountain there is a huge karst cave, discovered by accident in 1961. About 10 years speleologists explored this cascade of wells and tunnels. The explored areas were opened to the public in 1975. Today, excursions are conducted in nine halls.

Tourists explore the underground lakes filled with emerald and blue water, the Coral Grotto, the gallery of stone flowers, stalactite palaces. Journey through the depths of New Athos Cave is made by electric train, which accommodates up to 90 people. At the stations, people get off and admire the natural sights.

Waterfall

vodopad

To drain the swamps, in 1882 a dam with a waterfall was built on the Psyrtskha river. The height of the water fall is 8.6 meters and its length is 21 meters. Nearby was built hydroelectric power station, which for many years faithfully performed its functions. During the construction of hydroelectric power station near a picturesque lake – it is easy to get up to it by stone stairs.

Nowadays the station is not working and is a historical monument of Abkhazia. Artificial waterfall, which is considered one of the largest in the world, is located near the temple of Simon Kananit.

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Three Cauldrons

three kotla

On the outskirts of New Athos at the bottom of the gorge, three karst cauldrons have formed. The cavities are filled with the water from Psyrtxa, which flows there through the rocky ledges. The clear and clean water stays cold even in the hottest heat.

When swimming in the sinkholes, you should be careful, because the depth of peculiar lakes reaches 2 meters. High rocks and vegetation reliably shield this place from noise, so people often come here to meditate.

Psyrtskha Reserve

sapovednik

There is a large reserve along the Psyrtskha river. On its territory there is a lush pine forest, beautiful mountains, waterfalls, springs with spring water.

Tourists and locals come here to admire wonderful landscapes, to rest from urban noise. Within the territory of the reserve is the grotto of Simon the Zealot. You can easily get there by the trail, which goes from “Psyrtskha” railway station.

River Psyrtskha

reka pscirha

River Psyrtskha flows through New Athos, taking its source high in the mountains. Its impetuous current leads it through gorges and slopes right into the Black Sea.

Psyrtskha water is considered sacred, because holy apostle lived not far from here. Near the town there are several waterfalls, for tourists across the river there are wooden and rope bridges. Resting here, you can have a great time and take great pictures.

Agca Grotto

grot agca

In the village of Anuhwa not far from the city there is Agca Grotto hidden among the rocks. It was discovered in 1940 by a team of speleologists. The entrance to the grotto is at a height of 30 meters, and inside there is a long corridor. The ceiling height reaches 2.5 meters.

On the walls are preserved ancient rock paintings depicting human palms, crosses, tools. The mysterious tunnel has not yet been fully explored. Scientists assume that in ancient times it was used for religious ceremonies.

Hydrosulfuric spring

serovodorodni istochnik

People come to New Athos not only to rest, but also to be treated. In the village of Primorskoe, not far from the city, there is a recreational complex with sulfurated springs, curative mud, pools with mineral water.

Hydrosulfuric baths have a restorative effect, improve the heart, digestive tract, nervous system, cleanse the skin. There are changing rooms, a massage room and a cafeteria on the territory of the clinic.

Parks

Seaside Park

primorski park

In the 19th century, monks founded a beautiful park in the center of New Athos. First of all they dug out seven ponds by hand, tiled them, filled them with river water and started growing fish. Afterward, they planted trees, planted flowerbeds, paved paths, and installed carved benches around them.

Today the park is the centerpiece of the city. Spread out trees provide coolness and shade. The ponds are inhabited by ducks, swans and geese, which are not afraid of people and are eager to make contact. Near the park is the chapel of Emperor Alexander.

Quay .

naberegna

Along the sea stretches six kilometers of embankment, characterized by elegance and beauty. At any time here is fun, crowded and noisy. The wide road is framed by palm trees, between them grow stunted shrubs, flowerbeds and lawns.

In the pedestrian zone are open souvenir shops, stores and cafes. There are amusement rides for children. There are places where you can rent an electric car, a bicycle and roller skates. In the evenings the embankment is illuminated by decorative lanterns. Vacationers watch performances of street musicians, admire the night sea, have fun in the clubs and bars.

City beach

gor pliag

Almost the entire coastal area of New Athos is suitable for swimming, but not everywhere the area is perfectly equipped. Good conditions for comfortable rest are created near boarding houses and hotels. The seashore is covered with fine pebbles with an admixture of sand and surrounded by coniferous trees.

Clean cool water, hot sun, shady awnings, sun beds make the recreation pleasant for adults and children. Such beaches have sun beds, umbrellas, locker rooms, showers, small cafes. Those wishing to take part in water rides, order a ride on a yacht or go scuba diving.

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