Sights of Abkhazia. What to see in the Land of Soul
Almost all sights of Abkhazia are considered here. At the end of the article there is a detailed map of what to see in Abkhazia. In the text sights with photos, prices for admission tickets and GPS-coordinates are listed from west to east.
Sightseeing in western Abkhazia
Includes Gagra and Gudauta districts. This region contains the most popular places where tourists come when on vacation in Abkhazia.
✔ Khashupse River Canyon
- Note: the most beautiful canyon of the river Khashuapse with steep cliffs. On the bed in some places you must wade through swimming.
- Entry fee: free of charge. But in some places local businesses charge a fee when you approach the canyon.
- Coordinates: 43.41921, 40.17612
✔ Tsandripsh temple
✔ Stalin`s Cottage (Kholodnaya reka)
Sightseeings of Gagra
- Note: the main sights of Gagra are: Abaata fortress, the castle of Prince of Oldenburg, Gagripsh restaurant, colonnade, seaside park and zoo, water park, etc. Read more in the article about Gagra resort.
Sights of Pitsunda
- Note: The main attraction of Pitsunda is historical-architectural reserve “Great Pitsunda” and its components: fortress wall, Pitsunda Cathedral with the organ, history museum, dolmen, Byzantine stronghold. Read more in the article about the resort of Pitsunda.
The temple-fortress of Bzyb
✔ Hasan Abaa fortress
✔ Jirhva waterfall
- Note: There is a path leading to the waterfall 3 km from the bridge across the river Bzyp from the road to Ritsinskiy reserve.
- The cost of the entrance: free of charge.
- Coordinates: 43.30539, 40.42398
✔ Maiden’s Tears waterfall
✔ Ritsinski Nature Reserve
- Note: The most famous sight of Abkhazia is Ritza Reserve with many interesting places to visit: the Blue Lake, the Gegsky Waterfall, the Yupshar Canyon, the Men’s Tears Waterfall, the “Farewell, Motherland” viewing platform, Lakes Ritsa and Malaya Ritsa, Waterfalls Ptichy and Milky, Stalin and Gorbachev’s summer residence, as well as Alpine meadows, Seven Lakes Valley, Auadkhara spring, Lake Mzy, mountain village Pshu and others.
- Entrance fee: adults 350 rubles, children 8-12 years old 100 rubles, free of charge.
- Coordinates: 43.3416, 40.41317 (entrance).
✔ Dacha Stalin and Gorbachev (Musser)
✔ Ruins of the temple-fortress Ambar
✔ Trout farm and rock monastery
- Note: In the trout farm you can observe the cycle of fish cultivation and then, if you like, taste the trout. The territory is equipped for walking along the river, during which high on a rock the observant visitor will notice an ancient monastery.
- Entrance fee: 150 rubles, children under 15 years old – 50 rubles. You are required to pay 100 rubles for parking (price is negotiable).
- Coordinates: 43.23543, 40.49735
✔ Ottar dolmens.
- Note: Semi ruined complex of dolmens in the village Otkhara.
- The cost of the entrance: free of charge.
- Coordinates: 43.22405, 40.59719
✔ Dolmens of Huap village
- Note: Four ruined dolmens.
- Entrance fee: free of charge, on private property.
- Coordinates: 43.21893, 40.53172
✔ Aylaga-Abyku temple (ruins)
- Note: Ruins of the temple of Aylaga-Abyku (Gray Baba) of the VI – VII centuries in the village of Bambora.
- The cost of the entrance: free of charge.
- Coordinates: 43.10384, 40.56339
✔ The village Lyhny
The fortress Abahvatsa.
- Note: The ruins of an ancient fortress allegedly of the VI-VIII centuries.
- Coordinates: 43.14688, 40.71499
✔ The Habu Falls
- Note: Waterfalls Habu, Aac, Bull’s Head and Kurochkina + Habu Cave.
- Coordinates: 43.18879, 40.76447 (Habu); 43.18859, 40.76481 (Aats); 43.2177, 40.79299 (Bychya Golova); 43.228, 40.79713 (Kurochkina); 43.19148, 40.79074 (Habu Cave).
✔ Mud cave in Primorsky
- Note: sulfurated thermal spring + therapeutic muds in Primorskoe village.
- Entrance cost: 150 rubles. Parking: 50 rubles.
- Coordinates: 43.10015, 40.75093
Sights of New Athos.
- Note: in New Athos are located the following sights of Abkhazia: Anakopia fortress, New Athos cave, New Athos monastery, Simon Kananit church, Simon Kananit caves, artificial waterfall, Psyrtskha station, Stalin’s summer house, Museum of Military Glory, Three Boilers gorge and others. Read more in the article about the resort of New Athos.
What to see in central Abkhazia
Includes Sukhumi and Gulrypsh districts.
Dolmen in the Upper Eshera
- Note: The ancient dolmen is located on the private territory of a resident of the village of Upper Eshera.
- Coordinates: 43.07795, 40.91048
✔ A cromlech in the Lower Eshere
- Note: cromlech of stones in the form of 4 circles. Megalith is more than 4 thousand years old.
- Coordinates: 43.0202, 40.94935
Sights of Sukhum.
- Note: attractions of the capital of Abkhazia include: fortress, Sukhum embankment, monkey nursery, botanical garden, Bagrat’s Castle, Drama Theater with a fountain, colonnade, Annunciation Cathedral, Abkhaz State Museum, lighthouse, Sukhum Mountain, and arboretum park. Read more in an article about the resort of Sukhum.
✔ Kamany temples
- Note: In the village of Kamany, St. John Chrysostom died in the early 5th century. Saint Martyr Basilisk is buried here as well. And nearby took place the third finding of the head of John the Baptist.
- The cost of the entrance: free of charge.
- Coordinates: 43.09568, 40.99702
✔ The Beslet Bridge
✔ Beslet hydropower station
- Note: HPP was built in 1905 and is one of the oldest in Abkhazia.
- Coordinates: 43.03507, 41.07185
✔ Merkheul mineral spring
- Note: It is a source with metallic and weak mineral water.
- Coordinates: 42.9608, 41.1032
✔ The gorge in Chernigovka
- Note: picturesque gorge arranged for walking + restaurant with Abkhazian cuisine Assir. Read more in an article about the gorge in Chernigovka.
- Entrance fee: 100 rubles. Parking free of charge. Toilet is paid.
- Coordinates: 43.019163 41.188369
✔ Waterfalls Wolf Gate (Olginskie).
- Note: A complex of waterfalls by the Sukhumian Military Road.
- Coordinates: 43.01451, 41.22771.
✔ Olginsky waterfall.
✔ Baryal waterfall.
- Note: the picturesque lake in the mountains was formed as a result of the mountain collapse during the earthquake.
- Coordinates: 43.09164, 41.29722
✔ Azant dolmen
- Note: the ancient Azant dolmen is located near Lake Amtkel.
- Coordinates: 43.08933, 41.29311
✔ Tsebeldy cave and spring
✔ Shakuran waterfall and caves
- Note: beautiful canyon, caves, waterfall and boxwoods covered in moss. One of the most beautiful natural attractions of Abkhazia.
- The cost of the entrance: free of charge.
- Coordinates: 43.028327, 41.329396 (waterfall), 43.029219, 41.332982 (middle cave).
✔ Dranda Monastery
Sightseeing in eastern Abkhazia
Includes Ochamchirsky, Tkuarchalsky and Gali districts. Here are the most remote sights from the border with Russia. Because of this not every tourist comes to see them.
Thermal spring Kandyg
✔ Thermal spring Kandyg-2
✔ Tamish fortress
✔ Ilorsky temple
✔ Hydrosulphuric hot spring
✔ Mokva Cathedral
✔ Otapa Caves
- Note: The karst caves with stalactites and stalagmites. Very interesting place of interest in Abkhazia. Read more in the article about Otapa caves.
- Entrance fee: Entrance – 250 rubles, parking – 50 rubles (Abrasila). Entrance – 250 rubles, parking – free for now (Otapa’s Head).
- Coordinates: 42.92037, 41.55434 (Abraskila); (Otap’s Head).
✔ Goop Falls.
✔ Akarmar spring
- Note: thermal Akarmar radon spring.
- Coordinates: 42.85781, 41.76694
✔ Akarmar waterfall
- Note: picturesque waterfall on the territory of the cafe.
- Entrance fee: 100 rubles.
- Coordinates: 42.88116, 41.8102
✔ Giant Falls
✔ Bedia Cathedral
✔ Chigs Abaa Fortress
- Note: closed territory, you have to obtain a permit to enter the Kodori gorge.
- Coordinates: 43.09355, 41.67879
What to see in Abkhazia first
Perhaps the most important and easily accessible attractions of Abkhazia are Ritza Reserve, as well as historical, natural and religious sites of New Athos. Unusual and fascinating will be a trip to Shakuran waterfalls. In our opinion, the caves of Otapa are also worth visiting. If you have time and opportunity, it will be interesting to see the rest of the places of Abkhazia.
How to see sights
You can see the sights of Abkhazia in the following ways:
- By yourself by public transport . Thus, you can see sights of cities of Abkhazia (Gagra, Pitsunda, New Athos, Sukhum, etc.).
- Independently by private car . Park in paid parking lots and do not leave things in the cabin. In some places you can get only by SUV.
- As part of a group tour . With the prices for tours in Abkhazia can be found here.
- As a part of individual excursion . Personal excursion for a family or small company with a guide in his car (usually SUV).
Examples of individual excursions:
All sights of Abkhazia on the map
Map of attractions of Abkhazia:
The map is more convenient to use if you open it in a new window. If necessary you can change type (satellite/scheme), turn off or on some layers (resorts/attractions/other) in settings. By clicking on the marker, you will see GPS coordinates of the objects, prices and a link to a detailed article (if available).
⚠ The free mobile app maps.me is handy when traveling to get your bearings. It is enough to install and download a map of Abkhazia in advance, and then you can use it offline (i.e. without connecting to the Internet). The map maps.me already marks the points of most attractions of Abkhazia, as well as many hotels, cafes, stores and other useful objects.
Thanks to the illustrative list with photos, from the article it is easy to find out what to see in Abkhazia. Map with GPS-coordinates will help to orientate. If you know other sights of Abkhazia, write about it in comments, we will add them to this list.
25 best places of interest of Abkhazia.
Paradise corner of subtropics on the shores of the Black Sea, Abkhazia has attracted the attention of people since prehistoric times. Even 400 thousand years ago people lived here as evidenced by archaeological excavations. Blessed nature, warm climate and sea seduced Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Turks.
The young republic today is a place of tourist pilgrimage. The biggest flow of tourists tends to come here during the beach season. But at other times of the year here you can have a great vacation, medical treatment. Unique sights of Abkhazia give a special pleasure to holidaymakers.
Among the generous gifts of nature, the beauty of which takes one’s breath away, there is a real miracle in the Gagra area – the Geg waterfall. It is named after the river of the same name that flows down from the mountain top. Looking at the gurgling 70-meter-long stream from below, it seems as if it is a huge stream pouring from an open stone mouth. It is impossible to take your eyes off the sparkling drops.
The sound of the falling water can be heard far away, and you can tell the location of the waterfall by it. On the dark background of the rocks the crystal cascade of jets looks like a fountain. At any time of the year, even in the heat of summer, the water in it is icy. It is not easy to get very close to it, as the icy splashes fly far away. The picture of falling water is complemented by stunning landscapes around.
Dark gray, white rocks, overgrown with bright greenery, captivate the eye with their pristine nature. Mysterious gorges and caves, picturesque stones, mighty peaks create an impression of a place untouched by civilization. Everybody leaves here in admiration, being for a long time under the impression of a divine picture.
The pearl among the local wonders of nature, Lake Ritsa is the main attraction of the country. To visit this unique mountain lake inveterate tourist considers it a must. People go there as a part of excursions or alone. The road to the lake turns into a journey through the magical places.
All the way along the mountain serpentine open irresistible views that make you swoon with admiration. But they pale at the sight of the miraculous beauty of Lake Ritsa. The turquoise-blue water smooth surface is located on the height of 900 m above sea level. The water area is 2.5 km long and 870 m wide and its depth is 140 m in some places.
The necklace of mountain peaks surrounds the lake on all sides, protecting it from winds. There is a legend about the origin of the lake, about three brothers and their sister Ritza. The sister, who could not bear the shame, threw herself into the overflowing river and turned into a lake, and the 3 brothers remained frozen forever, guarding the peace of her sister.
The peaks of Agepsta, Pshegishkha and Atsetuk represent the brothers, and the rivers Gega and Yupshara represent the robbers who attacked the girl. Only one river Yupshara flows out of Ritza, while six rivers flow into it. In 1936 a highway was built to Ritza, and it became possible to get here. Today there is a hotel, restaurant, boat and catamaran rental. Nearby is the famous Stalin’s dacha-museum.
Stalin’s dacha on Lake Ritsa
The Soviet leader Stalin could not remain indifferent to Abkhazia, for whom six suburban residences were built here. One of them is a dacha on Lake Ritsa, which has become an object of tourists’ visits today. Outwardly the three-storey building looks modest and unassuming. The green color of the facade is a typical feature of all Stalin residences.
The natural splendor of these places gives picturesqueness to the cottage complex. All buildings are densely covered with dense flora so that it is difficult to notice them at once. In 1937, a structure resembling a hunting lodge was built. After 10 years, it was demolished and a building of impressive size was erected, and later it was surrounded by various buildings.
The complex included houses for guards and servants, a sauna, a kitchen. There was a berth for ships, an area for helicopters, an autonomous hydroelectric power station. When a residence of the same style was built next to Khrushchev’s, they were united by the gallery. Now there are organized group tours and self-guided tours.
Those who want to spend the night can rent a room in the former houses of the guards. Hunters to stay in Stalin’s mansion need a written permission from the president. All the interior and exterior decoration of the building is devoid of pomp and pretentiousness, but is carefully made of natural materials. Even the sleeping mattresses were stuffed with medicinal herbs and seaweed. The tourists appreciate the authenticity of the constructions.
New Athos Cave
Among the numerous underground formations of the country the largest of them is New Athos Cave. It is situated in the thickness of Iverskaya mountain, in the town of Novy Afon. This fantastic underground cave was formed as a result of the millennial processes in the Earth’s crust. It is a complicated system of its branches, corridors and halls.
The spatial volume of the natural monument, which staggers with its size, is 3 million cubic meters. The discoverer of the New Athos Cave Givi Smyr discovered it in 1961. When the visitors were allowed to come here (1975), he became the permanent director of the site to this day. A visit to the cave complex is an educational dive into the world of stalactites, stalagmites, stalagnates, frozen waterfalls, and underground lakes.
There are 11 halls in total, of which only 5 are open for viewing. The latter have names – Anakopia, Narta, Apsny and others. One of the halls is for specialists’ work, the rest are used for scientific research. They are opened on certain days for some time. The long stay of people in them can affect the unique microclimate of the cave cavities.
A gigantic work has been done here: air passages have been equipped for movement, three artificial entrances have been created on the sides. The hole of natural origin, through which the researcher first entered, is at the top. Concerts are organized from time to time in the Apherza Hall.
Prince of Oldenburg Castle
Resorts walking through the Seaside Park in Gagra, always pay attention to an unusual by modern standards construction. This interesting landmark – the Castle of Prince of Oldenburg built in the early 20th century, the great grandson of Paul I. A hereditary representative of the dukes and princes of the ancient German family, AP Oldenburgsky was the founder of the resort of Gagra.
After the construction of the castle according to the project of the architect Lucersky a luxurious park was laid out. Lucersky, who was attracted to unusual trends in architecture, created the castle in the Art Nouveau style. In Soviet times, on Stalin’s orders, the castle buildings were turned into the elite sanatorium “Chaika”.
In the era of perestroika, when the Soviet Union collapsed, the sanatorium ceased to exist. The castle was deteriorating, and the subsequent Georgian-Abkhazian war added to the destruction of the beautiful structure. The conflict parties and vandals looted everything inside, and the outer walls are dented with dents from bullets and shells.
The complex now belongs to a private owner who is reconstructing it. The entrance to the castle is closed, but you can climb to the observation deck at the entrance and take a look around. Nearby there is a restaurant “Gagripsh”, which was built during Oldenburg’s reign. It is famous for the fact that it was built without a single nail and that it was visited by Chaliapin, Gorky, Bunin.
Ritsinsky relic reserve
The territory between the rivers Pshitsa and Gegha covered with primeval forests was declared Ritza Relict Reserve in 1996. It occupies 39 thousand ha on the southern slope of the Caucasian Ridge. The national park is divided into two zones: a reserved zone and an economic zone. In the reserved zone, it’s forbidden to be engaged in any industrial and household activities.
In the economic part, it is allowed to graze cattle, to place medical and resort institutions, to conduct research work. Here it is possible to conduct excursions and develop tourism. Relict Park – a collection of 900 species of diverse flora, a habitat for many rare animals.
Broad-leaved and coniferous forests, alpine meadows with a huge variety of flowers, shrubs and herbs give an opportunity to explore the ancient flora. The Ritza Reserve is a collection of fantastic natural masterpieces. Giant waterfalls, picturesque gorges and canyons, mountain peaks and ridges, glacial lakes create incredible pictures.
Just look at Lake Ritsa – the main attraction and pride of the Republic. Lake Malaya Ritsa and Blue Lake, with water of bright azure, are also very beautiful. Each of the five waterfalls – Male Tears, Maiden’s Tears, Ptichy, Milky and Gegsky – is extraordinarily beautiful. Impress the steep cliffs of Yupshar Gorge, in some places reaching a height of 500 meters.
The White Cliffs
This amazing place created by nature on the seashore is located at the entrance to Tsandripsh. It is the wild beach “White Rocks”, which attracts with its peculiar view. At the very edge of the water here come up an array of limestone cliffs, popularly known as marble.
The sea water here has an azure color due to basalt rocks. The combination of the blue azure of the sea and the whiteness of the rocks creates a beautiful landscape. The rocky walls stretch out along the coast for about 200 m, reaching a height of 5 m.
There is no infrastructure on the pebble beach, so there are not many holidaymakers. The place is loved by fans of wild secluded recreation and locals. It’s comfortable to sunbathe here: the white color reflects the sun’s rays, leaving the rocks cool even in the intense heat.
In 30 meters from the beach there is a luxury hotel of the same name, in Tsandripsh rent guest houses. In the cafe “White Cliffs” prepare dishes of Caucasian cuisine. Almost every day the natural landmark is visited by tourists on excursions.
A picture of the authentic Middle Ages opens before your eyes if you look from the coast at the fortress Abaata, hidden on the mountainside among the woods. Built by Abkhazians around the 5th century, the fortress protected Gagra from the side of Zheoekvar Gorge.
From there the settlement was often attacked by Circassians, so Abaata became a strategic point. The fortress was destroyed many times and then rebuilt again. It was destroyed several times, and rebuilt again.
When the country came under Russian control (19th century), loopholes and bastions were built in the fortress. On the walls installed cannons, created additional fortifications. A great role in the history of Abaati played Prince Oldenburgski, who was engaged in the creation of the resort of Gagra.
He used the former fortress in the implementation of his plan. The fortress wall facing the sea was demolished. Instead of it a hotel was built, which functions up to this day. The Abata fortress is a popular tourist attraction and the main symbol of Gagra.