Abkhazia is located in the northwestern part of the Caucasus by the Black Sea. The area is 8.6 thousand square kilometers. The average length of the territory from west to east is 160 km., From south to north 54 km. The length of the coastline is 210 km.
The capital of Abkhazia (Sukhum) is located on the Black Sea coast 107 km from the border with Russia. The history of the city is longer than 2500 years, during which it has changed different names: Dioscuriada, Sebastopolis, Sukhum-Kale. The Abkhaz call their capital Akua.
The population is over 320 thousand people (2001) - Abkhazians, Armenians, Russians, Georgians, Greeks, Estonians, Germans, Poles, etc. The urban population is over 50%.
Among the believers, the Orthodox predominate. State languages are Abkhazian and Russian. 7 district administrations, 7 cities, 5 urban-type settlements. The capital is Sukhum.
The mountains occupy 64% of the territory - the Main Caucasian, Bzyb, Gagra, Chkhaltsky, Kodori ranges and their spurs. The greatest height is 4046 m. (Dombai-Ulgen). In the south there are hills and lowlands.
Karst caves: "Novo-Athos", "Snow", cave-abyss on the Arabica ridge - the deepest in the world (1860 m).
Rivers: Psou, Bzyb, Gumista, Kodor, Aldzga, Ingur, and others.
Lakes: Ritsa, Amtkel, Incite, Blue, Bebeisir.
Forests cover more than 55% of the territory (oak, beech, hornbeam, chestnut, fir, spruce), on the coast there is a subtropical vegetation.
Climate of Abkhazia
The climate is humid subtropical, the average January temperature on the coast is +4 +7 C, in the mountains from +2 to -2 C, in July, respectively + 22 + 24C. Precipitation is 1300-2400 mm. in year.
Communication in Abkhazia
In large cities (Sukhum, Gagara) there are Internet cafes.
You can access the Internet on your phone (3G).
Communication standards GSM 900. Mobile operators "Aquafon" and "A-Mobile" provide a confident reception in all resort towns of Abkhazia. Automatic roaming with most Russian companies.
Tips and advice on a trip to Abkhazia
The criminal situation in the country is quite calm. Being outside on the evenings and at nights is pretty safe. Money, documents and other valuables should be deposited in the hotel safe.
The sun is very strong in Abkhazia. You can get sunburn without sunbathing on the beach. It is strongly recommended to use sunscreen at any time of the year.
Sights of Abkhazia
The most famous of the Abkhazian sights are the ruins of ancient cities: Sebastopolis (in Sukhum), Anakopia (in Novy Afon), Pitiunt (in Pitsunda), basilicas in Pitsunda (4-5 centuries.), Tsandripsha (6-8 centuries), Lykhny (6th century), also the New Athos Monastery, the cave, Bagrat Castle in Sukhum and the Lake Ritsa.
Official holidays and days off in Abkhazia
January 1-2 - New Year's Day January 7 - Christmas January 14 - Azhyrnoyu (the day of the creation of the world) March 8 - International Women's Day May 9 - Victory Day May 23 - St. Simon Kananit's Day May 31 - Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Caucasian War and the Forcible eviction of the mountain peoples of the Caucasus July 23 - Day of the Abkhazian Flag August 14 - Day of Remembrance of the Defenders of the Fatherland September 30 - Liberation Day of the Republic of Abkhazia October 11 - Armed Forces Day of Abkhazia November 26 - Constitution Day of the Republic of Abkhazia
Language in Abkhazia
Abkhazian, Russian. Both languages are legislatively equal. Russian is common both in speech and in writing.
The cuisine of Abkhazia is distinguished by an abundance of meat and vegetable dishes, in addition to which there are necessarily sharp spices and spicy herbs.
A variety of cooked meat, various kinds of shish kebabs, dishes from chicken and turkey, as well as sea and river fish form the basis of the Abkhazian cuisine.
Mamalyga (abyista) replaces bread for Abkhazians and is often served as a main course. Mamaligu is cooked from corn groats, which after boiling are covered with corn flour. In the ready-made abysta often cheese suluguni or condiments are put. Among the side dishes boiled beans with condiments (akud) are popular.
The most popular seasoning for literally all dishes is adzhika. Spicy and fragrant sauces are also made from tomatoes, cherry plums and grapes. On the table there are always greens and pickles, vegetable and nut snacks, fresh or smoked cheese suluguni.
Sour milk (ahartsva) is a national milk drink. It is made from cow or buffalo milk.
Alcoholic beverages are the pride of the Abkhazian feast. The Abkhazian wine is famous for its delicate taste and sweet smell. Strong drink chacha can be either from grapes, or from any other fruit and berries.
Money in Abkhazia
The national currency is ruble.
The National Bank of Abkhazia issued a series of jubilee coins with the nominal value of 10 and 50 apsaras, have an equivalent in Russian rubles (1 apsar is equal to 10 rubles) and are accepted for payment throughout the country.
Banks & Currency Exchange
Money can be exchanged in banks of big cities.
The currency is not accepted everywhere, it is difficult to exchange dollars or euros for rubles, and the rate is very unprofitable. Therefore, it is better to take rubles with you.
There are no ATMs in Abkhazia. It is impossible to withdraw money from bank cards even in large banks. Payment by bank cards in shops and hotels is also impossible.
Formalities and rules for entering Abkhazia
To cross the border, you must have civil or foreign passport and for children under 14 years you must bring with you a birth certificate. Crossing the border using temporary identity cards is impossible. For children under 18 accompanied by one of the parents or accompanying, a notarized power of attorney from one or both parents is required for the departure of the child from the Russian Federation. Rules for the passage of citizens, transportation of goods and currency across the border of Russia and Abkhazia are contained in the Code of Customs Regulations of the Russian Federation and, basically, comply with the rules for leaving the Russian Federation in any other country.
To cross the border, it is necessary to get out of transport before the Russian customs, walk through the control zone by foot, show documents and luggage, declare the currency and items to be declared, pass the checkpoint on the Abkhaz side and then get into transport again.
To cross the border on motor transport, you must have driver's license and a technical passport (and when crossing a border on someone else's car - and a general power of attorney for it, in which this vehicle is allowed to go abroad). Formalities on the border can take from 20 minutes to two or more hours and depend only on the density of the flow of people and cars there.