Gagra is a city that is considered the most beautiful and most expensive in Abkhazia. This resort is very popular with tourists due to its proximity to the Russian Adler and its glory since the days of the Soviet Union.
The history of the emergence and development of Gagra is very ancient. In the 2nd century BC, Greek merchants founded a city called Triglyph . After the arrival of the Romans, the city was renamed Nitika . Then there was a long series of names: Byzantine Trachea, Kakara and Hakari, Venetian Kontesi and Kakura, Persian Derbent and Turkish Badalag . With the annexation of the Caucasus to Russia, the city was named Gagra, which means “the sanctuary of the Hagba clan .”
Initially, the city was founded as a trading port, attracting merchants from all over the world to its shores. It became a resort thanks to the Prince of Oldenburg, who considered it necessary to make Gagra a resort city, a health resort city, provide electricity, build a climate station, and lay a park. After a couple of years, tourists from all over the world began to come here for rest and treatment. And today Gagra invites lovers of clean air and warm sea to its land. There are no harmful industries in Gagra. The air is saturated with ions, sea salts and oxygen. And this healing cocktail contributes to the healthy rest of the guests and residents of Gagra.
The resort is suitable for both young people and couples with children. The city has a wide variety of entertainments, places for recreation, excursions are held.
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|Population||15 700 people|
|Founded||2nd century BC|
|Square||261 km 2|
|Population density||60 people / km 2|
|Timezone||UTC + 4|
|International dialing code||+784023|
Climate and weather
Gagra’s climate was formed under the influence of sea air. Cold mainland winds have almost no access to the city thanks to the Gagra ridge. Mountains and gorges create special ventilation here, cooling the air in summer and warming it in winter. Many people note that Gagra has warmer and milder weather compared to other Black Sea cities.
The hottest time of the year is July-August. Day temperature rises to + 27 … + 30 C ° , and at night does not fall below +20 ° C . Sea warmed up to + 22 C … 24 ° . The beginning of autumn – the best time to stay at the resort: the air is warm, the thermometer rises to the level of + 23 … + 25, the C ° , and the sea water warms up and does + 24 … 26, the C ° . The swimming season starts in May and ends in November.
The winter is mild. The coldest month of the year is January. Frosts are extremely rare and do not last long (10-12 days). The average temperature in the winter – + 8 … + 10 C ° . Water cooled to + 9 … + 12 C ° .
Most of the precipitation falls in winter and early spring. Sunny days – more than 7 months a year.
The Gagra resort is located in a picturesque place – between the blue sea and a high mountain range, immersed in greenery. The rivers Bzyb and Psou flow near the city . They are complemented by picturesque waterfalls and rock tunnels. Lake Ritsa is located 50 kilometers from Gagra among the mountains . It is small, but very deep, with clear azure water. In Gagra itself, the rivers Gagripsh, Zhoekvara, Tsikherva and Reprua flow – the shortest river in the world (18 meters). Some of them flow into the Black Sea.
Not far from the city rises Mount Mamzishkha , whose height reaches 1878 meters. Mamzishkhi offers a stunning view of the sea surface, lush greenery and distant mountain peaks.
The mountain slopes near Gagra are mostly covered with beech forest. Not far from the city, in deciduous forests, you can find groves of seaside pine trees, which purify the air, giving it a unique aroma. These forests are often called the Gagra forest dacha . High in the mountains, you can enjoy alpine meadows with lush grass and vibrant flowers. The peaks of the mountain ranges are covered with eternal snow that does not melt even on the hottest days. Tangerines, lemons, oranges, and boxwood grow on the seashore. There are vineyards, olive trees, figs, laurel in Gagra.
In the vicinity of Gagra, there are tur, chamois, deer, roe deer, wild boar, bear, jackal, wolf, fox, wild cat; also nightingales, blackbirds, jays, starlings, pheasants, golden eagles, falcons love to nest here. The sea is inhabited by trout and perch, dolphin and stingray, in the rivers – zander and river trout.
Not far from the resort is the Zhoekvarskoe gorge , along the bottom of which the river Zhoekvara flows . The gorge is covered with dense thickets of boxwood, moss and other plants. The Caucasian linden tree grows here, which is more than 500 years old.
Gagra is divided by the Tsikherva River into the Old City and New Gagra. The old part of the resort was built before the October Revolution; the main attractions are concentrated in it. New Gagra is equipped with modern infrastructure.
The most notable attraction of Gagra, which occupies almost the entire coastal area of the city, is the Primorsky Park of the Prince of Oldenburg . The park contains more than six hundred different plants: dates, coconuts, magnolias, bananas, candy trees. All of them were brought from various parts of the world. The park is decorated with sculptures by Zurab Tsereteli. Swans and ducks swim in the ponds. In the park there is the oldest restaurant in Abkhazia – ” Gagripsh “, which is more than 100 years old. Chekhov, Bunin, Gorky rested in it.
The oldest attraction of the resort is located on the banks of the Joequara River . This is the castella fortress of the same name , which was built by the Romans in the 4th century. Not far from the Zhoekvara fortress are the remains of a 6th century fortress.
The Gagra Temple , a massive monumental structure, has a special atmosphere . A path made of thousands of slabs polished to shine leads to the temple. It is surrounded on two sides by tall cypresses. Today the temple is inactive, it houses the Museum of Abkhazian weapons with a unique collection of swords, knives, daggers.
A peculiar attraction of Gagra is the castle of the Prince of Oldenburg , which was built back in 1902. It was with him that the construction of the resort town began.
The most striking early Christian monument of Abkhazia and Gagra is the Tsandripsh Basilica, erected on the Black Sea coast in acacia thickets.
The Old Town has many parks, attractions, but few cafes and restaurants, and if there are any, then, as a rule, they remain from Soviet times. There are much more modern catering establishments in Novaya Gagra. Cafes and restaurants are usually open until 24:00. The prices are quite high; you can eat on a budget only in buffets and canteens (full lunch – from $ 5 to $ 10).
One of the most popular places among tourists in Staraya Gagra is the summer cafe ” Araucaria ” in the Seaside Park, not far from the boarding house ” Kolkhida “. The cost of lunch per person is $ 15-25.
Cafe ” headquarters ” army design reminiscent of the military operations in the country. Here you can taste Caucasian, European and Japanese cuisine. Some dishes are prepared in front of the guest on an open fire or grill. The cost of the dinner is $ 10-15.
Dishes of European and national cuisine can be tasted on the seashore, in the Ritsa cafe . The cost of a dinner for one person here will be $ 15-25.
The pearl of the gastronomic world of Gagra is the century-old Gagripsh restaurant . At the beginning of the 20th century, it was almost destroyed and recently rebuilt. In the last century, secular balls and meetings of high-ranking people were held here, and today almost everyone can dine in the restaurant. The cost of lunch will be $ 15-30.
In Gagra, you can stay in boarding houses, hotels, holiday homes or rent an apartment. When choosing accommodation, remember that the more modern New Gagra is far from the sea coast. The rooms of hotels and holiday homes are equipped with all conveniences: a bathroom and a shower with constant cold and hot water, air conditioning. New private hotels are decorated in a modern style, rooms are equipped with satellite TV, hairdryer, iron, kitchenette with fridge and kettle, internet access. Very often, by agreement, the owners of a private hotel or holiday home meet their future guests.
Many boarding houses and rest houses offer relaxation by the pool, on the tennis court, and make it possible to cook a juicy barbecue right in the yard. Some hotels have a sauna, steam bath, bar, massage, hairdressing services, body wraps. As a rule, you can order meals or cook yourself for an additional fee. Sometimes breakfast is included in the room rate.
Accommodation prices vary greatly by seasons: the middle of summer is the “hottest” time, when the cost reaches its maximum and can be $ 20-100 per person. In some places, children under 7 years old are free of charge.
It is possible to find housing – a separate house or rooms with amenities on the floor – in the private sector. As a rule, such housing is rented only in summer. Room cost – $ 10-15 per person per day; a house for four can be found for $ 50-70, a villa for more people – $ 80-150.
Entertainment and recreation
Gagra is a great place for youth and active family holidays.
The resort’s beaches, pebbly and sandy, surrounded by evergreen palm trees, stretch for 53 kilometers. Most of them are generally available, but there are also paid ones. Some beaches offer sun loungers and umbrellas for rent.
In Gagra you can go snorkeling, conquering water attractions. Some clubs offer boat trips, which are accompanied by diving.
In Gagra, there is the only water park in Abkhazia, very popular among children. The cost of the visit is $ 15. In the summer, an amusement park with all kinds of attractions is set up in the city.
Nightlife was raging in Staraya Gagra. Nightclubs, bars and discos, which have been increasing in recent years, are located on the Black Sea coast. The clubs are open until 2: 00–3: 00.
In Gagra, active recreation is quite developed – paragliding and hang-gliding, rafting, horseback riding, climbing the mountains. There are tennis courts in the city. Mountain peaks with eternal snow await ski lovers.
There are no boutiques or large shopping centers in Gagra. The most luxurious place to shop is the Continent supermarket . It is located near the railway station; next to the supermarket – minibuses and buses stops. In the “Continent” you can buy food, accessories, dishes, souvenirs. There is a small Sly market near the store (prices are slightly higher than in the “Continent”).
The largest market in Gagra is the city market. On it you can buy Abkhaz pomegranates, feijoa, honey, wine, chacha, spices, fruits and vegetables; souvenirs are also sold. If you cook on your own, then it is better to buy food here: prices are low and you can bargain. The market is open from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, although sellers usually leave at 2:00 pm; for fresh homemade meat you should come by 6: 00–7: 00. It is very easy to get to the market – by minibus with the words “Market” on it.
Souvenir shops and small shops are scattered around the city. Many of them work only in June-September.
The resort can be reached by rail and bus. Two trains run through Gagra, Moscow – Sukhum and Adler – Sukhum. In the near future, the Sochi-Gagra train is going to be commissioned. There is a bus from the border with Russia to Gagra.
Buses and fixed-route taxis run around the city. There are only two bus routes, flights are made only during rush hours with a frequency of 1 time per hour. The cost of one bus ride is $ 0.16.
You can also take a taxi. Please note that the fare is often overstated, so negotiate the price in advance.
There are two Abkhaz operators in Gagra, Aquafon and A-Mobile , which cover not only the city’s territory, but also the surrounding area. ” Aquafon ” Us offers 3G. The cost of 1 MB of traffic is $ 0.17. Top-up machines and payment points are located all over the place. Of the Russian operators, Beeline , MTS and Megafon operate in roaming in Gagra .
At the moment there are 4 Wi-Fi access points in the city. Connection to them is free (for this you need to buy a universal payment card, prices for them are different and depend on the tariff) and is possible from any device that supports Wi-Fi. There are only a few Internet cafes in Gagra. An hour of work on the World Wide Web costs $ 1.5.
There are several post offices in Gagra. As a rule, they only work on weekdays from 9:00 to 17:00. A city call costs $ 0.06, the cost of long-distance and international calls depends on the distance of the call.
Money and valuables should be kept in the safe of the hotel, boarding house. It is better not to leave the car unattended, park it in a visible place. The city is patrolled around the clock by police cars and patrol groups of 3-4 people. If necessary, you can contact them for help.
The most developed areas of private business are tourism, hotel business and restaurant business. Many boarding houses and hotels in Gagra have recently begun to offer accommodation services for business delegations, as well as meeting and transporting members of delegations to the desired location. State and international exhibitions and conferences are held in Gagra.
A one-room apartment in Gagra costs $ 30,000- $ 45,000, a two-room apartment – $ 40,000-60,000. If the apartment has been properly renovated, its cost increases by 1.5-2 times. Prices for a house with a plot depend on the area of the plot and the house and vary between $ 35,000-250,000.
In some areas of the city, cold water is supplied from 7:00 to 9:00 and from 19:00 to 21:00, hot water is even rarer. But, as a rule, such difficulties can only be encountered in the private sector in the vicinity of the city. Electricity is rarely a problem.
If during your vacation in Gagra something happened to your health, contact the Gagra Central District Hospital . Russian citizens can be accepted under insurance, but most often they are paid.
In pharmacies, medicines are dispensed without a prescription.