The capital of Abkhazia is named Sukhum (the name Sukhumi is often found). The city originated in the 6th century BC, which makes it one of the most ancient in the whole world. At that time, on the site of the local settlement of Akua, Greek merchants founded the colony of Dioscuria , which later became a major commercial and economic center. Then the Romans came and, destroying Dioscuria, founded their fortress Sebastopolis . Many centuries later, the Arabs swept through the lands of the future Sukhum, giving the settlement the name Tskhum . After the Turks renamed it to Sukhum-Kale , which means “a fortress of water and sand .”
Sukhum is the Russified name of the city, which it received with the annexation of the Caucasus to the Russian Empire. It is interesting that the Abkhaz themselves call the capital of their country Akua .
Mineral springs and the healing air of Sukhum will improve your health, and the yellow sand and turquoise sea will relax your body and soul. The city is buried in greenery, and it is impossible to look away from the snow-white monuments of architecture.
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|Population||64 478 people|
|Founded||more than 2500 years ago|
|Square||372 km 2|
|Population density||173 people / km 2|
|Timezone||UTC + 4|
|International dialing code||+784022|
Climate and weather
Sukhum is located in a convenient place: it is open to the warm sea and protected from the wind, which creates a special climate. Hot weather lasts until the end of October, winters are warm and mild. Summer in Sukhum lasts 7–8 months, the sun shines here 220 days a year.
In July and August in the capital Abkhazia air warms up to +26 … + 30 C ° , sometimes up to +35 ° C . Sea from this heat becomes warm as fresh milk – + 24 … + the C ° 30 . In the autumn weather becomes more pleasant: the air temperature drops to +20 … + 25 the C ° , and the sea is still warm – + 23 … + 26, the C ° .
In the winter the air temperature drops below 0 ° C and averages + 8 … + 14 ° C . The sea freezes only on very cold nights.
The rainiest months are November, December and January. At this time, twice as much precipitation falls as in the whole summer.
Sukhum is good at any time of the year, but it is best to come here from late summer to mid-autumn – at this time it is soft and comfortable, fruits and vegetables are abundant, housing prices and service are low, and there are very few tourists.
The nature of Sukhum is so beautiful and pure that, having rest here, all tourists celebrate a burst of energy. Here you can feel the vital energy in everything: in the transparent sea, rich greenery, bright sun.
The capital is located on the shores of the Sukhum Bay , from the north it is protected by mountain peaks. Sukhum is surrounded by the Kelasur and Gumista rivers; two rivers Basla and Sukhumka flow through the city . By the way, since 1955, in the Basla River valley, they have been receiving therapeutic thermal mineral water saturated with nitrogen.
Mount Sukhum (Samata) rises above the capital at an altitude of 201 meters , from which an excellent view of the Sukhum bay , the city and mountain ranges opens . The road up the mountain is not easy and constantly winds, but all this pales against the background of interesting historical places near which it passes.
Not far from the city is Mount Trapezium (Hathua) . It is famous for the fact that the great Russian scientist Aleksey Ostroumov acquired a plot of land on its slope and planted a garden here, and Chekhov, visiting the scientist, admired this “unique and poetic place.” Since 1902, a city hospital has been operating on this mountain.
The forests on the slopes of the mountains are a favorite vacation spot for tourists and locals.
The entire capital and its surroundings are buried in greenery and flowers. Cypresses, palms, Himalayan cedars, thujas, feijoa, tangerines grow in the city.
The forests of Sukhum are inhabited by wild cats, raccoons, squirrels, deer, fallow deer. The local rivers are popular with trout and pike perch, muskrats and nutria. Dolphins and stingrays, perches and red mullets, seahorses and crabs are splashing in the sea.
Residents of Sukhum carefully monitor the state of the environment and try to preserve the natural heritage.
Sukhum has its own exquisite picturesque embankment – the Makhadzhirov embankment . It was built in the late 19th – early 20th centuries. Another embankment that frames the Black Sea coast is the Dioskurov embankment . Both of them are surrounded by old houses and cultural monuments.
In the center of the capital there is the country’s oldest monument – the Sukhum fortress , founded in the 2nd century AD.
Sukhum is a city of several confessions, there are many temples, ancient and modern, of various religions. We recommend that you definitely visit the Orthodox Kaman Church of the X-XII centuries and the Cathedral of the Annunciation , the Lutheran church, the Polish church, the synagogue.
The most beautiful Theater Square with the Abkhaz State Drama Theater and an exhibition hall is located not far from the sea .
One of the most beautiful streets in Sukhum – Leon Avenue – connects the sea and Mount Trapezia. This street is a real open-air museum. It houses the Philharmonic Society, the Botanical Garden, and the famous monkey nursery.
The Sukhum Botanical Garden is known far beyond the city limits. It was founded back in 1840, since then thousands of tourists visit it every year. Here you can see a collection of plants, stunning in its size and beauty. The main attraction of the garden is the 250-year-old Caucasian linden.
Monkey Nursery – home to 300 monkeys from Africa, South America, Asia. The nursery has a primate museum and the world’s only monkey monument.
In the picturesque environs of the capital, there are a large number of interesting cultural monuments: the Beslet bridge over the Baslu river, Bagrat’s castle, the Sukhumi lighthouse, made in France .
The food service in Sukhum has actively begun to develop recently, so there is no abundance of cafes and restaurants here. The most famous cafe of the Abkhaz capital is ” Nartaa “. The most delicious dishes of the national Abkhaz cuisine are served here: khachapuri boats, mamalyga, abysta with cheese and mint, baked meat, trout with a side dish of beans, as well as real tarragon. The wine is Abkhazian, aged. In summer, you can have a bite to eat here in a real patskhe – a wicker kitchen made of vines. The prices are not high: a hearty lunch will cost $ 5-10.
On the mountain overlooking the Black Sea there is a cafe ” Amra “, which means ” sun “. Here you can have a cup of freshly brewed coffee, taste incredibly delicious cakes and Abkhaz sweets at fairly low prices. You can have a snack and enjoy delicious coffee for $ 2-7.
In Sukhum there are also establishments with dishes of other cuisines: European restaurants ” Atrium Victoria “, ” San Remo ” ” Medovik “, Chinese restaurant ” Yin-yang “.
You can stay in Sukhum in sanatoriums, rest homes, boarding houses, mini-hotels and hotels. Also, the city has developed the rental of rooms, apartments and houses for any period. Many places to stay are located close to the main attractions – the botanical garden, the monkey nursery, Leon street, embankments.
Quite recently, mini-hotels began to appear, which, in terms of the quality of service, are not worse than rest homes, sanatoriums and boarding houses. Typically, each room has a TV, toilet and shower. Almost all hotels are equipped with playgrounds for children and adults.
The rest houses offer four categories of rooms: one-room economy double; economy triple one-room; standard double one-room with balcony, TV, refrigerator and fan; standard family two-room with balcony, TV, refrigerator, fan. Economy rooms have a toilet and a sink; shower room and refrigerator are shared on the floor. The “standard” option also provides a shower in the room.
Many sanatoriums and boarding houses in Sukhum have survived from the times of the Soviet Union. Many of them have been modernly renovated, and provided with medical and anti-aging procedures. True, they are far from spa hotels in foreign resorts.
Accommodation for one person costs from $ 10 to $ 25 per night.
As a rule, meals in hotels, boarding houses, holiday homes are not included in the cost of living. But you can order it for a separate fee ($ 3–10 depending on the frequency of meals) or cook it yourself in the kitchen for guests. Almost all holiday homes have cafes.
A one-room apartment near the sea can be found for $ 30-45, a two-room apartment for $ 40-55, a three-room apartment for $ 60-80 per day. A turnkey private house by the sea will cost $ 15-120 per day.
Entertainment and recreation
Sukhum is a city surrounded by the sea, rivers and mountains. Therefore, the rest here is the most varied.
Pebble and sandy beaches stretch for 10 kilometers across Sukhum. In the center of the city, they are well refined: embankments, sun loungers, cafes, attractions; also here you can rent catamarans, jet skis, air mattresses. Far from the center there are wild beaches, they are spacious and not crowded.
The sea is clean and warm in almost any weather. Tourists are offered to admire the underwater world and look at the ancient city of Dioscuria , which was swallowed up by the sea more than 2000 years ago. You can take a boat ride, swim in clear water far from the coast and taste national dishes right on board, enjoying the clean air and beautiful sunset.
You can see beautiful views and visit amazing places by climbing the mountains – on your own or on a horse.
Ecological tourism with fascinating travel and adventures is becoming popular in Sukhum, which will allow you to get to know the city, get acquainted with its history, culture, sights, and enjoy its nature. The most popular type of such recreation is cycling. You can ride bicycles all year round.
Fans of night parties and clubs will be disappointed: there are almost none of them in Sukhum. There are a couple of clubs that work at night, but they are small and not very popular.
In the city, you can go to the theater, 3D cinema, billiards clubs, or improve your health in sports and fitness centers.
There are no boutiques and shopping centers, large grocery stores and hypermarkets in the capital. It is dominated by private business and sale from a private courtyard. There is a very large market in Sukhum, where people come from all cities of Abkhazia for shopping. The market has a chic selection of homemade products (cottage cheese, cheese, vegetables, herbs, fruits, spices, wine and chacha, honey), clothes and other goods.
There are many souvenir shops in the city where you can buy boxwood jewelry, souvenir knives, carpets, clothes, textiles, sea salt, medicinal herbs, tea, coffee.
Sukhum is served by a railway station, seaport, buses and trolleybuses.
The capital is connected by rail with other cities of the country (up to the border with Russia), as well as with Moscow and Adler. Vessels from Russian Black Sea cities arrive at the port of Sukhum.
Not far from the city is the only Babushara airport in the republic . It is actively used for flights of the top officials of Abkhazia and Russia and regular flights to the village of Pskhu (checkpoint on the border of Russia and Abkhazia).
Regular trolleybuses and buses, as well as fixed-route taxis roam around the city. There are only three trolleybus routes, they connect the city market and the railway station, the lighthouse and Thubun. The cost of one trip by trolleybus is $ 0.1. There are two bus routes: Market – Mayak and New District – Market. The bus trip will cost $ 0.16. There are quite a lot of fixed-route taxis in the city. The fare for them is $ 0.3.
There is a taxi service in Sukhum. Specify the cost of the trip in advance.
You cannot rent a car in the city: there are no rental offices. If you yourself arrived by car, then moving around the city will not be difficult: it is all divided into “honeycombs” and it is difficult to get lost in it.
The city is completely covered by the mobile network of two operators – A-Mobile and Aquafon . They offer their customers 2G (GSM) and 3G networks. A SIM card can be purchased from official representatives for $ 1.5 and an additional prepayment of $ 5. Choose special travel tariff plans, they are free of a monthly fee. You can pay for mobile communications with special cards (they are sold everywhere), through payment terminals, at payment points.
There are more and more Internet cafes in the capital. 1 hour of using Internet services costs $ 1.5. Sukhum is the first city in Abkhazia to have Wi-Fi. It can be used with or without registration.
There are telephone booths in the city. The price of one minute depends on where you are calling and is $ 0.06-0.5.
Tourists note that they feel quite safe in Sukhum. Nevertheless, it is worth keeping money and valuables in a safe here and avoiding dark alleys. Do not leave your car unattended. At night, it is best to put it in a paid parking lot or in the parking lot of a hotel or a boarding house. Be careful when crossing the road: traffic rules are hardly followed.
Business in Sukhum is represented by small private enterprises and companies that are engaged in service and travel services (mini-hotels, cafes, souvenir shops; entertainment for tourists at sea and in the mountains). There are enough offers for the sale of business in the capital. For example, a mini-hotel in the city can be purchased for $ 450,000-800,000.
Business centers in Sukhum meet all modern standards, are guarded, equipped with conference rooms, and have Internet access.
Exhibitions are held in the capital of Abkhazia. The Abkhazian Resort Forum “Hospitality Industry” presents a full range of goods and services for hotels, restaurants, cafes, rest homes. Another significant exhibition in Sukhum is the International Building and Interior Exhibition Building and Design. The events are organized at the exhibition site in the city center on Leona Avenue.
The price of a property depends on its distance from the sea and from the center.
A small house with a sea view and a small plot can be purchased for $ 30,000-50,000. For the villa will have to pay $ 100,000-250,000. Individual land plots are also for sale. Sometimes they are more expensive than a plot with a house: sometimes the cost reaches $ 60,000.
A one-room apartment can be found for $ 35,000–40,000, a two-room apartment for $ 45,000–55,000.
Negotiate all prices in advance, whether it be a taxi ride, excursion or accommodation in the private sector. Don’t be afraid to bargain in the market.
In Sukhum, it is not customary to appear in bathing suits on the street. Local men prefer not to go “in public” even in shorts, but only swim in them in the sea. The open knees of a Sukhum woman are still considered the height of indecency.
On the street, in public places, it is not customary to openly express your feelings and emotions (kissing, hugging).