New Athos

grey stoneThe very beautiful old resort of Novy Afon is located in a small cozy bay on the Black Sea coast. This small town, but attracts tourists and pilgrims from all over the world. It attracts with its luxurious nature, wonderful sights, mild climate.

Despite the “ New ” part in the name, the city has a long and rich history. Initially, the settlement was named after the name of the Psyrtskha River , later – after the name of the mountain peaks – Anakopia . Over the centuries, the great commercial and economic center of Anakopia experienced a decline. Monks from a Greek monastery near Mount Athos came here – the name New Athos appeared .

Previously, rest in New Athos was available only to the privileged class, wealthy people. Now this city invites everyone. Both adults and children will be delighted with the sea, the beach, the abundance of fruits and the sun. Pilgrims also come here: the lands of New Athos are rightfully considered the main shrine of Abkhazia, where, according to biblical legends, the Apostle Simon the Canonite lived, read sermons, prayed and died .

Table of Contents

Region
Gudauta district
Population 1308 people
Founded III century
Square 60 km 2
Population density 22 people / km 2
Currency Russian ruble
Timezone UTC + 4
Postal code 354000
International dialing code +7 840 2458

Climate and weather

The climate in Novy Afon is characterized by mildness, moderate humidity and minimal temperature fluctuations. The average annual temperature is +16 ° C. In summer, the air temperature during the day rises to + 26 … + 30 ° C. At the same time, a light sea breeze refreshes the hot city air. At night, the temperature drops to + 19 … + 21 ° C. The temperature of the Black Sea water in summer reaches + 22 … + 24 ° C.

The most pleasant time to relax is September: the air warms up to + 25 … + 27 ° C, water – up to + 28 … + 30 ° C.

Winter in Novy Afon is mild, but snowy. Even at night, the temperature rarely drops below 0 ° C. During the day, winter New Athos air warms up to + 9 … + 12 ° C. The winds are not strong: the city is protected from them by mountains.

New Athos is a resort with the maximum number of sunny days in the entire region. This is due to the fact that the city is located on the coast facing south. Most of the precipitation occurs in the period from November to January. In summer, it rains very rarely and for a short time.

Nature

New Athos is located at the foot of two mountains – Iverskaya (Anakopia, Apsarskaya) and Athos . The mountains are separated by a picturesque gorge of the Psyrtskha River . It is small, originates high in the mountains in a fir forest and runs throughout the city, creating unique landscapes. One of them is a pond in the park of the old part of New Athos, surrounded by beautiful trees and favored by white swans.

In the depths of the Iverskaya Mountain there is the most famous cave of Abkhazia – Novoafonskaya . The volume of its cavity is one million cubic meters. Guided tours are organized in 8 out of 11 halls. The air temperature inside the cave is constantly kept at +11 ° C, even if it’s hot outside. The main treasure of the New Athos Cave  is red helictites growing from the ceiling. The cave is home to bats; some of the halls have small lakes and waterfalls.

The combination of rivers and mountains has created amazing places: grottoes, caves, waterfalls, mountain lakes. One of the most famous grottoes of New Athos is the Agtsa grotto behind the Apsara mountain in the rock at a height of 30 meters. On the walls of the grotto, rock paintings of the Paleolithic and Middle Ages were found. There is a waterfall of the same name on the Psyrtskha River , next to which stunning boxwood forests grow. Not far from the waterfall, there is an amazingly beautiful lake, which is also called Psyrtskha .

New Athos differs from other resorts in Abkhazia by the presence of deep karst baths surrounded by boxwood, eucalyptus and mountain ledges. There are three such baths in the vicinity of New Athos, all of them filled with emerald water that falls from small ledges.

The city is surrounded by tangerine, orange, olive and lemon groves. The coast was chosen by eucalyptus and laurel plantations, oleanders, palms and magnolias, cypress and banana trees.

sights

New Athos is called the land of shrines , and this is due to the large number of holy places and religious buildings.

The New Athos Simon-Canaanite Monastery was founded and named after Saint Simon the Canonite. The monastery was erected in 1875 at the foot of Mount Athos by Russian monks from Greece. On the territory of the monastery there are several large churches, a 50-meter bell tower, cells, a refectory. The most ambitious building is the Panteleimon Cathedral . It is decorated with exquisite frescoes and icons and is topped with five domes. The main shrine of the monastery is the miraculous cross with a particle of the Holy Cross. For tourists, the monastery is open from 12:00 to 19:00. Women are only allowed to enter in long skirts and with their heads covered.

On the banks of the Psyrtskha River, from the 10th century, there has been a temple of the Holy Apostle Simon the Canaanite… Legend has it that it was erected on the site where the apostle was killed. The temple is made of ordinary white limestone, and inside it is decorated with ancient frescoes. Today the temple is active, for tourists it is open only during the time free from the performance of the sacraments. Admission is free, but photography is not allowed here and women need to cover their heads. Not far from the temple there is a cave in which the apostle prayed and lived. Previously, the entrance to the cell was a narrow passage in the rock, carved by nature itself. In our time, a passage has been cut into the grotto. The cell is decorated with mosaics, images of Christ, inscriptions, icons. The place where the temple stands and the apostle’s cell is filled with shrines: a spring with holy water, a footprint of Simon the Canaanite on a boulder, mountain rapids near which the apostle died, and where stones with “red spots of his blood” lie to this day.

At the top of the Iverskaya Mountain, you can see the remains of the Anakopia fortress and the  temple of the II-VI centuries.

Not far from the New Athos Monastery is Stalin’s dacha . Now it is a museum surrounded by a picturesque park. In some rooms of the dacha, the interior of the Stalinist times has been preserved.

In the very center of the city, there is the New Athos Seaside Park , which was laid out by the monks of the New Athos Monastery. The park is decorated with sculptures, there are ponds where crucians, carps, mullets live, swans swim.

In New Athos, it is also worth seeing the Genoese (Psyrtskhinskaya) tower, the Church of the Intercession, visiting the Museum of Military Glory, the Museum of the Abkhaz Kingdom , going to caves and grottoes, visiting the mountains and waterfalls, rivers and lakes.

Nutrition

There are not so many cafes and restaurants in Novy Afon as in other cities of Abkhazia, but you can find a suitable place.

In the New Athos Seaside Park, on the shore of the pond, there is the most popular cozy café ” U Chipki ” among tourists . Here you can taste not only delicious national and European dishes, but also the most aromatic coffee brewed on the sand. The average bill for the evening is $ 15–20. The cafe is open all year round, in summer it is open from 8:00 to the last customer, in winter from 8:00 to 18:00.

Cafe Patskha is the most popular cafe not so much among tourists as among local residents. It is made in the Abkhazian style and also offers national dishes. One or two visitors will be offered to relax at a table, a large company – in separate pavilions, woven from a vine. The cafe is located near the city market. You can dine here for $ 10-12, excluding alcohol.

The signature New Athos dish – Athos-style chicken – is offered by the Kamarit restaurant on the Black Sea coast.

Residence

In New Athos there are boarding houses, mini-hotels and hotels, guest houses. The cost of rooms in them depends on your time of visiting the city and the proximity of the hotel to the coast. Sanatoriums and boarding houses, located far from the sea, organize delivery to the beach and back several times a day. Many sanatoriums and boarding houses remain from the times of the Soviet Union. Now they have been repaired, equipped with modern equipment – air conditioners, TVs, refrigerators. Hot and cold water supply round the clock. Most of the boarding houses and sanatoriums of New Athos have dance floors, tennis and badminton courts, libraries, and excursion bureaus. The cost of living for one person in a boarding house is $ 15–20, in a sanatorium – $ 17–50. In the sanatoriums, the cost of living includes three meals a day,

There are no problems with accommodation in the private sector: there are a lot of proposals for renting rooms, apartments, houses. The rental price is different and depends on the amenities and distance from the sea. A room can cost from $ 6 to $ 30 per person per night. Do not be intimidated if you are offered a house with amenities on the street. Often, such a bathroom is a modern toilet, a shower – a shower cubicle with tiles. Check in advance about the supply of hot and cold water: sometimes there are interruptions in the city or it is provided on schedule. The hosts can prepare breakfast for an additional fee.

Entertainment and recreation

New Athos is a calm and quiet resort. There are no shrines at night in this city. There are no noisy water activities on sandy and pebble beaches. The bottom of the sea near the coast is sandy, soft – it is perfect for delicate children’s feet. City beaches, as a rule, are not equipped, there are only a few cabanas.

In New Athos, you can walk through picturesque places and shrines. One of the most interesting excursions is to the village of Lykhny. In ancient times, the residence of the Abkhaz kings and princes was located here. Today, only the Assumption Church with paintings of the XIV century and the ruins of the palace have survived . An excursion to an ostrich farm in the high-mountainous village of Huap is curious . In Novy Afon, excursions to the capital of Abkhazia, Sukhum, which is only 21 km away, are also organized.

You can climb the mountains on your own along special paths or accompanied by an instructor. Horseback riding is also done. For those who sit in the saddle for the first time, they offer easy ascents, for those who know how to ride – more difficult and dangerous paths.

In New Athos, you can swim in natural karst baths, which were formed by nature in the center of a boxwood forest next to the river, shimmering with pearl shine. Here, right in nature, you can taste a barbecue cooked on hot coals.

Purchases

New Athos is divided into commercial and historical parts. In the shopping area, there are mainly small private grocery stores, household chemicals and beach equipment stores. There is a small city market. It works from 7:00 to 16:00. Some sellers, having sold out the goods, leave already at 10:00.

In the historical part of the city, there are mainly stalls and souvenir shops. On the site near the New Athos Cave, there is a small market where you can buy local fruits, wine, spices, as well as souvenirs: mugs, coffee Turks, plates, yew and boxwood decorations. Prices here are even lower than in the city market.

There are three pharmacies and several communication salons in Novy Afon.

Transport

You can get to Novy Afon by train or by minibus from Adler or the border Psou, as well as by regular buses from Psou, Adler, Rostov, Krasnodar, Nalchik. It is often possible to get from New Athos to other cities only by passing transport. Most recently, regular buses have been launched that connect Novy Afon with Sukhum and Primorsky. Excursions are offered from Sukhum to New Athos.

It is better to walk around the city or take a minibus. City buses run extremely rarely and on limited routes. If you call a taxi, negotiate the fare with the operator in advance.

Connection

The resort is covered by the network of two mobile operators of Abkhazia, ” Aquafon ” and ” A-Mobile “. A large number of points of sale of their services are located in the commercial part of the city. You can buy a SIM card for $ 1.5, then make an additional prepayment of $ 5-7 (depending on the tariff and operator).

There are not many Internet cafes in the city. One hour of using Internet services costs $ 1.5. Not all hotels and apartments have access to the World Wide Web.

There is a telegraph office in the trading part of New Athos. Here you can buy and send postcards, call. The price of one minute of conversation at a call center is $ 0.3-0.5.

Safety

New Athos is a very safe city. Nevertheless, be vigilant and do not keep money, phones, valuables in easily accessible places.

The property

The choice in the housing market of New Athos is small, but it is not limited to a certain type of real estate. Here you can find apartments with different numbers of rooms, houses of different sizes, and plots of land in different areas. Their cost is also different. A one-room apartment costs $ 20,000-150,000, a two-room apartment – $ 30,000-200,000, a plot of land – $ 15,000-50,000, a house – $ 30,000-300,000.

Travel tips

New Athos is not just a resort, it is a city of Christians and pilgrims. Therefore, here you should not go in too open or defiantly beachwear.

There are many free city toilets in the city, although many of them are in very poor condition.

Before a trip to New Athos, it is better to stock up on cash: there are no ATMs in the city, and it will not be possible to withdraw money from the card in the few branches of the bank.

Watch out for children at sea. Almost all beaches, especially urban ones, have no lifeguards.