Holidays in Abkhazia

Nestled on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, between Russia and Georgia, Abkhazia is home to just under a quarter of a million people. The region is famed for its beach resorts, once known as the ‘Soviet Riviera’ – back when even Joseph Stalin had a holiday home here. Since the breakup of the USSR however, Abkhazia has seen numerous bloody conflicts. Georgia still claims this region as their own, while many of the locals, with Russian support, have continued to fight for independent status. As a result the so-called阿布哈兹共和国是无法识别的国家在该地区的少数之一;什么是有时被称为一个后苏联冻结冲突区。

阿布哈兹资本是苏忽米(拼写“苏呼米”the Georgians, but ‘Sukhum’ by most of the people who live there now), and in August 2017, myself and a couple of friends obtained Abkhaz e-visas online, then crossed the demilitarised zone from Georgia to spend a long weekend exploring Sukhum and its surroundings. Here’s what I found.


The Brigantina mosaic in central Sukhum, Abkhazia.
The ‘Brigantina’ mosaic in central Sukhum, Abkhazia.

市区苏呼米,阿布哈兹,与部长理事会废弃建设中的距离刚刚可见。
Downtown Sukhum, with the abandoned Council of Ministers building just visible in the distance.

桥河Ingur

通过在早上八点半我们到达了边境检查站。这是安静 - 出租车司机在自己的汽车而睡的道路上有一只狗,通过缓慢移动的一群牛追逐,在他们俏皮的挑衅脚踝夹住。过去沉默的车和牛,在拐角处,只是超出的Ingur河大桥一英里,另一军事化检查点标记的入口处,阿布哈兹共和国无法识别。

在屏障旁边一个窗口,我们跨越下滑到阴沉,面对格鲁吉亚后卫我们的护照。他点点头,把我们的文件,并告诉我们要等待。环顾一下站不住脚的写字楼,咖啡厅外面的塑料花园椅,我决定,这是只是我见过最糟糕的边境检查站。bepaly投注世界杯沙巴体育线上娱但后来,就格鲁吉亚而言,这甚至不是一个边界。


On Sukhum's seaside promenade, kids can ride on a miniature electric tank complete with Abkhaz flag.
在苏呼米的海滨长廊,孩子们可以骑在与阿布哈兹国旗的微型电动坦克完整。

Monument to Peace: a sculpture of a gun with knotted barrel, on the Georgian-Abkhaz border.
Monument to Peace: a sculpture of a gun with knotted barrel, on the Georgian-Abkhaz border.

We waited there for an hour before the man at the window waved us on through the checkpoint; the first checkpoint of three.

Abkhazia can be reached by road from Russia, but here, on the Georgian side at a river crossing just north of Zugdidi, visitors to Abkhazia must proceed on foot. It was almost a mile to the river, a strip of quiet tarmac hemmed in by trees. One of the stray dogs had followed us, and she kept our pace as far as the Monument to Peace: a metal gun with its barrel tied into a knot, the last built structure on Georgian-controlled territory.

我从来没有见过一个更美丽的没有人的土地。这些树在水边昏昏沉沉和桥长带着我们在连绵起伏的丘陵和潺潺流的一道风景线。我已经警告说,俄罗斯狙击手观看了隐藏在灌木丛中的位置的桥;停下脚步去这个风景优美的非军事区,他们可能会做至少是拒绝你进入阿布哈兹照片。我们没有看到他们的踪影,虽然,当我们走了,我们只是享受绿意盎然的景色幸福的天真,我们的相机卷起他们的案件中。

The next checkpoint, just beyond the river, was controlled by Abkhaz authorities. Beyond that we’d meet a third and final checkpoint staffed by Russians. It was this middle one that got us, though.

It was clear the Abkhazians took the border more seriously than their Georgian counterparts did. We were met by soldiers, chainlink fences and barbed wire. A guard post was positioned before the fence and we stepped inside to show our paperwork.请稍候,we were told, as the border guard took our passports away once again. He puzzled briefly over our nationalities – one American, one Australian and a Briton – then made some calls. We waited.


A police officer patrols the beach at Gagra, Abkhazia.
A police officer patrols the beach at Gagra, Abkhazia.

在加格拉海滩的奇妙复古更衣设施。阿布哈兹。
在加格拉海滩的奇妙复古更衣设施。

By now the midday August sun was rising and outside the guard hut, sat on the dusty grass, there was nowhere to find shade. I ran out of water in the first hour and as the temperature rose to almost 40 degrees Celsius (100+ Fahrenheit) I was sure I could actually see my skin slowly burning. All the while, other visitors were arriving and passing on through, the groups getting bigger as the day went on. They were locals, and I wondered what their stories were – so many people had been displaced by the war, communities uprooted, families divided. My sunburn was probably pretty minor compared to whatever they were going through.

Three hours passed, sitting in that grassy no-man’s land. We became increasingly concerned… was this normal? My phone was still picking up Georgian internet, and as chance would have it, a friend had recently introduced me online to Abkhazia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; she’d met him in Sukhum, and now we were Twitter friends. I sent him a message, asking if a four-hour border wait was normal.不,这不对,he replied, and said he would look into it.

Twenty minutes later, the guard waved us through. Two checkpoints down, one more to go.


The Gagarin Shopping Centre in Gagra was abandoned after taking severe damage during the 1992-93 War in Abkhazia.
The Gagarin Shopping Centre in Gagra was abandoned after taking severe damage during the 1992-93 War in Abkhazia.

This last barrier was staffed by Russian soldiers. They looked so young – I guess many were still teenagers – but they were smartly uniformed, sharp, keen-eyed, and not altogether unfriendly. Reaching the gate, one soldier started asking us questions in Russian. I struggled my way through a few before he switched, with a half-smile, into surprisingly proficient English. The questions were predictable (What we were doing? Why did we have cameras? Did we work for press organisations?) and we kept our answers simple:Tourism. Tourism. Tourism.

We seemed to pass the test, and just before we passed the gate the soldier asked to take a quick look through our bags.Of course, 我们说。我们没有隐瞒什么......或者我们是这么认为。但是,我的美国朋友已购在第比利斯回来。他已经买了一堆的旧格鲁吉亚二战电影的DVD;现在这家俄罗斯士兵发现了装在覆盖格鲁吉亚脚本的情况下,历史,政治媒体的藏匿处。它可能没有看起来很不错。他举起他们伸开手臂,仿佛被污染,命令我们不要动,然后把他们带到他的上级军官。

最终,他们让我们进入阿布哈兹,但我的朋友再也不会见到他的DVD。


Monument to Ephraim Ashba in Sukhum, Abkhazia.
Monument to Ephraim Ashba in Sukhum.

给逝者的纪念碑在战役阿布哈兹的解放,在Tamishi。
Spotted from a taxi window: Monument to the Fallen in the Battles for the Liberation of Abkhazia, at Tamishi.

一旦进入我们试图耍酷;尽量不看像我们是天真的游客。我们忽略了在门口等候司机,高呼“Taksi!”当我们走过疲惫和晒伤。有绝对没有办法,他们不会多收我们。问题是,一旦我们会得到他们过去我们没有看到很多其他的选择。一些当地人在苏式小巴等待,但去苏呼米意味着加利改变,再加上有没有知道什么时候该总线将满,准备离开。因此,我们得到在moustachioed边防警卫争论克瓦斯的塑料杯店冷饮;然后,一旦再水化,我们忍辱负重,把自己在出租车的人摆布。

I guess it wasn’t too bad in the end. Between three people we haggled from 2,500 down to 2,000 Russian Rubles (about €25), whereas the bus would have cost just one tenth of that. But this was the fastest we’d moved all day, we were finally on our way, and it felt fantastic.

Our driver – a mad, bombastic sort of man, his flatcap resting so far down his red, round nose that I wondered if he could actually see the road at all – made a first stop in Gali, just 10km north of the border. We pulled up on a market street near the train station, where he heaved a couple of sacks from the back of his car, and onto a nearby truck. He opened one and tossed us each a hazelnut for our troubles; then pocketed some cash from the truck driver and we were back on the road.


A mermaid sign at the Pitsunda resort advertises tours to nearby Lake Ritsa, Abkhazia.
A mermaid sign at the Pitsunda resort advertises tours to nearby Lake Ritsa.

在格鲁吉亚,出租车司机总是似乎当我把我的安全带就得罪;就好像它是某种对他们的驾驶技巧花招。他们呻吟和抱怨(一个叫我girl),但阿布哈兹出租车司机,显然,更直接。大卫,我们在前排座椅澳大利亚,得到了一个惊喜,当驾驶员伸手强行拔掉他的皮带。然后,他转向我们在后面,我们都系安全带,按我们的司机吼道命令。

从加利我们遵循滨海北路,通过工厂和农田的勤劳绿化景观超速;散落着废墟,子弹孔小房子和最不寻常的马赛克瓷砖的公共汽车站。我们的司机看到我们享受的看法,他喊道:“照片!Pazhalsta!”因为他在美国做了个手势记录下来。因此,我们受伤在我们的窗户,镜头戳了车的两侧像一个战争帆船大炮。所有的鼓和手风琴 - - 同时,某种民族音乐通过车载音响炮轰当道路是空的,我们的司机会摇转方向盘,在时间上横跨两车道转弯到疯狂的节奏。


Visit the waterfalls at Novy Afon, Abkhazia!
Visit the waterfalls at Novy Afon!

列别德咖啡馆(天鹅)诺维阿丰,阿布哈兹。
Cafe Lebed (meaning ‘Swan’) in Novy Afon, Abkhazia.
Abkhaz IKEA.
Abkhaz IKEA.

阿布哈兹共和国

在2017年八月,BBC广播电台一个名为短纪录片Abkhazia: A Land Forgotten。“被遗忘”字样和“远程”频频出现在片断......因为他们在该地区的许多其他西方做帐。调用此区域“远程”,然而,掩盖了一定盎格鲁中心主义的幼稚。从索契 - 俄罗斯最大的度假城市和2014年冬季奥运会的东道主 - 你可以开车到俄罗斯 - 阿布哈兹边界在40分钟内。再过40分钟,你就已经达到了您的海滨酒店。这比伦敦布赖顿更快。


庄严的建筑展出in Sukhum, Abkhazia.
庄严的建筑展出in Sukhum, Abkhazia.

Meanwhile the heaving crowds of Russian tourists who flock each summer to Abkhazia’s seaside resorts (as many as167万一年) don’t appear to have “forgotten” this place… and the Georgians certainly haven’t forgotten Abkhazia either. Even before I published this article, it was already attracting attention. Back in November I received a polite-yet-firm email in response to a hidden photo gallery on my site, that read: “I would like to ask you to indicate Abkhazia as Georgia, as it is the part of the country currently under occupation.” A follow-up email made the same case again, adding, “I am happy to hear that Abkhazia is of interest to you, awaiting your story about one of the most beautiful parts of Georgia.”

During my trip through the Caucasus I spoke with a lot of Georgians, and a lot of Abkhaz people too. I got on well with almost all of them – but on the subject of Abkhazia, I heard opinions from either side that were simply irreconcilable. (Perhaps that’s why it has taken me 18 months to put this story into words… because I know that whatever I write, it’ll no doubt upset有人。) Look, I’m no expert. I’m a tourist with a travel blog. If you’re interested in this region then don’t take it from me, do your own research. But the problem, put simply, is this: Abkhazia is a distinct region with its own unique identity, and while there is precedent for it being independent, there is precedent too for it falling under Georgian jurisdiction.


它看起来像一个糟糕停游轮,但实际上是一个码头:在苏呼米海军基地。
它看起来像一个糟糕停游轮,但实际上是一个码头:在苏呼米海军基地。

追溯到早在公元前9世纪,阿布哈兹形成科尔基斯古格鲁吉亚王国的一部分。到了公元7世纪它的存在作为一个独立的拜占庭领地,后来与格鲁吉亚王国在公元1008团聚。1810年,阿布哈兹成为俄罗斯帝国的一个自治公国,并从1921年被宣布布尔什维克作为一个完全独立的苏维埃社会主义共和国(SSR阿布哈兹)。1931年斯大林(一个格鲁吉亚本人)降级阿布哈兹自治共和国地位格鲁吉亚苏维埃社会主义共和国...并随着苏联的解体,阿布哈兹宣布独立本身再次,而世界上大多数其他地区继续把它作为格鲁吉亚的一部分。

这场辩论的双方都呼吁历史来证明自己的论点。从格鲁吉亚的角度来看,阿布哈兹一直是他们的世界大多数的30个世纪的一部分;和时代,当它不是他们来到这主要是由于外国干预的结果不受欢迎的(是拜占庭,俄罗斯,前苏联等)。但根据阿布哈兹,阿布哈兹人是历史,种族,文化和语言的不同,以便为其当代邻国 - 俄罗斯和格鲁吉亚 - 和他们的故事是一个失败者永远国家争取独立的一个。


A kvass vendor takes a midday nap beneath the palms. Gagra, Abkhazia.
A kvass vendor takes a midday nap beneath the palms. Gagra, Abkhazia.

在加格拉海滩,阿布哈兹现代度假。
Modernist holiday rentals on Gagra beach.

在引入到1992-93战争阿布哈兹,格鲁吉亚企图重新被指控犯下文化灭绝Georgify该区域;对此,有报道称,(据说俄罗斯支持),阿布哈兹分离主义分子领导的野蛮种族清洗对格鲁吉亚族人谁再在该地区占大多数人口的活动。联合国特派团发现双方犯severe human rights abuses

关系与俄罗斯的问题进一步复杂化。这是俄罗斯,后来苏联,吸引了格鲁吉亚和阿布哈兹之间的边界现代,许多格鲁吉亚人拒绝这样的划分外国篡改。2008年俄与格鲁吉亚战争期间,阿布哈兹与俄罗斯对格鲁吉亚的战斗......导致俄罗斯正式承认“阿布哈兹共和国”和格鲁吉亚正式宣布阿布哈兹的俄罗斯被占领土。阿布哈兹今天仍然友好与俄罗斯,这不仅是因为俄罗斯提供与阿布哈兹继续保持其对格鲁吉亚边境的军事实力。


探索苏呼米的公园。阿布哈兹。
Exploring Sukhum’s parks.

But like I said, don’t take my word for it. The history of the region is dense, complex and bloody; making sense of it is far beyond the remit of this 5,000-word article. What Ican告诉你有信心,但是,是什么样子的访问。

Sukhum(i)

I have visited a handful of unrecognised republics now (see for example:Transnistria), and out of them all, Abkhazia was by far the most different from its ‘parent’ country. More than just a rebellious breakaway region, the Abkhaz people are ethnically unique. While Russian is widely spoken here Abkhazia has its own language (written now in an adapted 55-character Cyrillic alphabet), and while they accept the Russian ruble, for convenience, they also have their own currency – the apsar. They have their own government, flag, anthem, and all the other trappings of state. It doesn’t feel much like Georgia at all; and despite the presence of Russian flags and soldiers, it doesn’t feel an awful lot like Russia either.


苏呼米海滨1。阿布哈兹。
苏呼米海滨1。

苏呼米海滨2.阿布哈兹。
Sukhum Seafront 2.

The architecture is largely Soviet-classical, and in between the frequent ruined buildings (scars from the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict) stand lovingly (and often昂贵) renovated hotels. Someone is clearly pumping a lot of money into the region. The Soviet war memorials of Abkhazia are well maintained, not neglected and falling apartlike many of those in Georgia和站在旁边,你会看到纪念碑最近的战争的受害者 - 通常情况下,在设计风格相似的苏联人。我的神,是阿布哈兹人民的友好。我发现它经常与这些未获承认的共和国的方式:承认一个国家的主权国家较少,更多的欢迎,当地人对游客。我想这就像某种形式的验证。

虽然话说回来,不是每个人都加温到我们的时候了。谁在苏呼米跑我们宾馆的女人是彻头彻尾可疑,当我们到达 - 边把目光投向我们,她带领穿过花园,以弥补客人厕所的方式。家里养的狗是不太评判不过,当我们和他交上了朋友,她也回软。到第三天我们的主机是为我们服务的新鲜kompot做,并告诉我们关闭离开房子,没有太阳帽。


前总部部长理事会在苏呼米,阿布哈兹。
前总部部长理事会在苏呼米,阿布哈兹。

被遗弃的议会大厦在苏呼米,阿布哈兹。
Built in the 1960s, Sukhum’s 12-floor parliament building suffered irreparable damage in 1993. It now stands abandoned.

一旦入住,我们急忙把袋子headed out to get our bearings. Our accommodation was just off the main boulevard, and it led us straight to perhaps the most iconic building in modern Sukhum: the old parliament, former headquarters of the Council of Ministers. This 12-storey government building was a casualty of the war, and now it stands ruined at the city’s heart. Rather than ignore it though, or tear it down, it seems the Abkhaz government has recognised its power as a monument; the ruin stands defiant, its Abkhaz flag flying high over the streets of the capital.

从议会我们走下海滨长廊。探索苏呼米,拥有棕榈树和布杂艺术,有些时候我会相信我们是在加勒比地区。这是从我可能已经合照后苏联战区相距甚远:不是,度假者在触发器,过去冰淇淋摊位和漫画艺术家走过的鹅卵石街道,而激进的海鸥俯冲轰炸他们的筹码。苏呼米有我曾经访问过每一个高档的度假胜地的所有饰物,它比大多数把它关闭。

The eye-catching Amra Pier, clearly built as a focal point for Sukhum seafront, looked almost abandoned from outside. We were delighted to find it open though, and what’s more to discover a wonderfully retro 1960s cafe inside. We had a beer in the shade then continued our walk along the promenade… past balloon sellers, toy guns, hot dog stalls and a man offering rides on child-sized electric cars shaped like Soviet tanks complete with Abkhaz flags.


Amra Pier in Sukhum, Abkhazia.
Amra Pier in Sukhum, Abkhazia.

Dolphin and seahorse motifs decorate the 1960s-era recreational pier. Sukhum, Abkhazia.
Dolphin and seahorse motifs decorate the 1960s-era recreational pier.
尽管在战争期间遭受一定的伤害,咖啡厅阿姆拉依然强劲。苏呼米,阿布哈兹。
尽管在战争期间遭受一定的伤害,咖啡厅阿姆拉依然强劲。

流浪内陆我们越过一个绿色公园充满古迹,达到烧坏后街豪宅。紫涂鸦标志着红和火熏黑砖。我们停下来拿出相机,当一对陌生人朝我们错开。他们穿着破烂,头发凌乱的衣服,用调皮的眼神......一个抓着一瓶伏特加,这是他在我的方向挥了挥手,他开始向我们说话。他的俄罗斯被严重含糊不清,但我的理解的话moneyandmore vodka

Instinctively, we saidNo– and they shrugged off the rejection, now seemingly interested just to talk with some foreigners. We chatted a bit, as much as we were able (the state they were in, I don’t think their Russian was all that much better than mine), and then I gave them 100 Rubles anyway.


在苏呼米,阿布哈兹的后街断垣残壁。
在苏呼米,阿布哈兹的后街断垣残壁。

迷失在苏呼米的枝繁叶茂的住宅区域。阿布哈兹。
Getting lost in Sukhum’s leafy residential zones.

Have fun!I said, and the smaller man grabbed me suddenly, pulling on my lapels as he reached in to kiss me once on each cheek. “Russia Forever!” he shouted, in English. His colleague took up the chant, and together they tumbled off down the street, hooting and hollering.

苏联里维埃拉

Back at the border, we had anticipated a grilling from the guards – and so we’d memorised a list of legitimate reasons why we might want to visit Abkhazia: the 2nd century Anacopia Fortress; Stalin’s Summer Residence at Novy Afon, later frequented by Khrushchev and Brezhnev in turn, and now a museum; the extravagant domes of the Simoneau-Kananitsky Monastery; and the Veryovkina Cave, which at a depth of 2212 metres is the deepest known cave on Earth. But we didn’t visit any of them in the end. Instead we joined the crowds and spent a full day touring the resort towns of the riviera.


Heroes of Abkhazia, a Black Sea pleasureboat picks up tourists in Pitsunda.
‘Heroes of Abkhazia,’ a Black Sea pleasureboat picks up tourists in Pitsunda.

皮聪大的海滩在8月。阿布哈兹。
皮聪大的海滩在8月。

对于前一周我们已经通过汽车租赁围绕格鲁吉亚走过。在这里,我们对出租车的依赖是严格的,昂贵的...但也不知何故解放。很显然,和清晰的时候,我们已经不允许足够的时间来正确地看到阿布哈兹。四天三夜只给我们时间,让我们的脚趾湿;但这样做出租车,从一个海滩度假胜地跳跃到下一个,至少给了一些经验真实性。我们会看到阿布哈兹海岸的方式同苏联的游客有,在旧时代 - 和同样的方式,数百万俄罗斯游客现在仍然如此。

First we stopped in Novy Afon (‘New Athos’), then at the northern end of the Abkhaz coast we spent a while exploring Gagra: with its abandoned hotels, some extraordinary Soviet-era bus stops, and a long walk down the beach with ice creams. We took another taxi to Pitsunda where resort hotels spilled out into a beachside plaza with bouncy castles, fountains and bronze monuments.


Apsny building at the Pitsunda Resort Pension Association. Abkhazia.
‘Apsny’ building at the Pitsunda Resort Pension Association.

The Pearl Divers sculpture at Pitsunda, Abkhazia (Irakli Ochiauri Alekseevich, 1969).
The Pearl Divers sculpture at Pitsunda (Irakli Ochiauri Alekseevich, 1969).

是否觉得我在这里跳过一些细节?还有一个理由。我的主要目标,而旅游阿布哈兹是记录该地区的前苏联时代的纪念碑,现代主义建筑和巴士站...并在不久的将来我打算共享的专用帖子扩大有关这些主题。

My general impression though, on exploring Abkhazia’s former ‘Soviet Riviera,’ was that this was as pleasant and peaceful a holiday destination as any I can name. The scars of war are still visible, of course – we’d pass fire damaged buildings like the ruined Gagarin Mall in Gagra, or see bullet holes sprayed across backstreet residential blocks – but the scars of former conflict were off-set by a lot of new investment. Boutique hotels and trendy cocktail bars line much of the Abkhaz coast, while the mood in the resorts was one of lazy contentment. Getting into Abkhazia (at least, from the Georgian side) had been a headache, all guns, barbed wire and bureaucracy… but once inside, it’s exactly the sort of place you might want to bring your family for the holidays.


格瓦拉卡拉OK酒吧。加格拉,阿布哈兹。
格瓦拉卡拉OK酒吧。加格拉,阿布哈兹。

行驶在晚上回到苏呼米,我们聊了出租车司机。他只想谈论战争,但​​:“俄罗斯把阿布哈兹从格bepaly投注世界杯沙巴体育线上娱鲁吉亚,”他告诉我们,“并且还给了我们。”

近Bzipi我村要求他停在路旁的一处苏联时期二战纪念碑。他同意耸耸肩,然后当我们把他的车等了照片。两分钟后,他再次拉不过,这一次向我们展示了一个当代纪念碑格鲁吉亚 - 阿布哈兹战争的受害者。报偿。老人走近这块碑就好像它是一些神圣的祭坛;低着头,手放在胸前。我想知道谁他已经失去了。


纪念阵亡在伟大的卫国战争。Bzipi,阿布哈兹。
纪念阵亡在伟大的卫国战争。Bzipi,阿布哈兹。

纪念战争(1992- 1993年)的受害者。Bzipi,阿布哈兹。
纪念战争(1992- 1993年)的受害者。Bzipi,阿布哈兹。

Leaving Abkhazia

On the morning we left Sukhum, our hosts’ dog followed us all the way down to the waterfront. We tried sending it home but it would retreat crestfallen, watch us from a distance for a while and then come trotting after us again. When we sat down for breakfast in a cafe on the main promenade, the dog curled up outside to guard the doorway. The woman who worked in the cafe was Syrian, and we talked for a while as she delivered our lattes, eggs and avocado toast (the menu in this place would have looked perfectly at home – save for its Cyrillic script – in any hipster coffeeshop from Brooklyn to Shoreditch). At some point during our meal, the dog got bored and went home.


通过苏呼米,阿布哈兹的主要海滨长廊。
通过苏呼米,阿布哈兹的主要海滨长廊。

There was one last thing for us to do: Western tourists visiting Abkhazia must have their visas approved at the ministry of immigration in Sukhum. We didn’t get around to it until our last morning.

Finding the building was easy enough, but then we had to wait an hour or so in queues, squatting in a cramped hallway alongside crowds of locals waiting on paperwork. Thankfully, by the time we finally got into the office the process itself was refreshingly simple: a couple of quick stamps and our e-visas were validated.欢迎到阿布哈兹said the man at the desk, we thanked him, then hopped in a taxi to the border.


美术学院的愿望在苏呼米,阿布哈兹的后街。
Beaux arts aspirations in the backstreets of Sukhum.

这最后阿布哈兹出租车司机以为我们是间谍。一个美国人,一个澳大利亚人和一名英国人,都装备了花哨的摄像头,显然无视任何其他解释。他聊起与阿布哈兹的女人在乘客座位,当我们坐在后排,拍照窗外。每次按下快门司机和他的朋友共享会心的眼神。

On the way to the border we stopped in Gali again, this time to pick up a man in a freshly pressed border guard uniform. I presume he was hitching a ride to work. As we squeezed in, now six of us in the car, the driver turned to the newcomer and said in Russian, “Maybe spies.” The border guard furrowed his brow and nodded sagely.

“斯拉瓦阿布哈兹!”司机大喊,突然(“光荣阿布哈兹!”),和美国三个老外贸然同意。


Marine life reliefs decorate a road into Gagra, Abkhazia.
Marine life reliefs decorate a road into Gagra, Abkhazia.

We got a grilling from Russian soldiers at the border: “What were you doing in Abkhazia? Where did you visit? Where did you stay? Where will you go next? What is your profession? Are you a journalist? Do you have friends in Abkhazia? Do you have friends in Georgia? Are you sure you’re not a journalist?

这个年轻的俄罗斯比前一个人说话,甚至更好的英语,但问题感觉比可疑更多的只是例行公事。他甚至允许一个微笑越过他的嘴唇,当他完成,用挥手让我们通过“有一个愉快的一天。”当我们走进楼道ChainLink研究朝桥,当地的人通过我们在一个麻袋背着一头猪。

We were across the river, just passing the knotted gun sculpture, when we were stopped by researchers working for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. They weren’t allowed inside Abkhazia, they told us, so they waited by the border and quizzed tourists on their way out. “What were you doing in Abkhazia?” they asked. “Where did you visit? Where did you stay?” It was almost the same script the Russian soldiers had used.


在卫国战争纪念碑倒下。加格拉,阿布哈兹。
在卫国战争纪念碑倒下。加格拉,阿布哈兹。

And just like that, we were back in Georgia. Or perhaps we never left? I’ll let you be the judge of that, though I can tell you that crossing the Ingur River really does feel like walking into a different country. Abkhazia is objectively different – culturally, socially, politically – to Georgia, but when you consider that such differences result (at least in part) from an organised campaign of ethnic cleansing… well, it did somewhat sour my otherwise positive impressions of the place.

当然,#NotAllAbkhazians应的答案进行了这些罪行,就像#NotAllGeorgians支持的“狠劲,基于种族的掠夺,抢劫,殴打和谋杀”于1992年在苏呼米侵犯阿布哈兹民族的人(我)回来(详见P85这个人权观察的报告)。但似乎 - 至少对这个旅游 - 即现在阿布哈兹存在的相对和平,但政治化,但不完美,肯定是比来之前好。


Flag of Abkhazia

Thanks for reading – I know this was a long one. If you’re thinking of visiting Abkhazia for yourself, then I recommend you take a look at这个guide by Megan Starr。这当然非常宝贵,而我规划我的行程。祝好运!


废弃的火车站在苏呼米,阿布哈兹。
废弃的火车站在苏呼米,阿布哈兹。

自1993年起停止使用,这个曾经宏伟站看到更好的日子。苏呼米,阿布哈兹。
自1993年起停止使用,这个曾经宏伟站看到更好的日子。
Upmarket resort hotel in Gagra, Abkhazia.
Upmarket resort hotel in Gagra, Abkhazia.
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波希米亚bepaly平台博客is bigger than it looks. In fact, there’s a whole restricted area hidden away behind the public pages… a space where patrons of the site can access exclusive content, book previews and private image galleries. It’s calledThe Exclusion Zone。只是赞助我的等值咖啡为每个新文章后我一杯,我会送你的密码。bepaly平台看看我的网页上Patreon要了解更多的卷入的津贴。bepaly投注世界杯沙巴体育线上娱

Got a comment? I read them all – but if you need a response it's better to给我发一条信息

  1. Nice piece! I always enjoy a fresh perspective.

    ”一个美国人,一个澳大利亚人和一名英国人,都装备了花哨的摄像头,显然无视任何其他解释。他聊起与阿布哈兹的女人在乘客座位,当我们坐在后排,拍照窗外。每次按下快门司机和他的朋友共享会心的眼神。”

    Maybe they did consider you spies, but from my perspective as a human being and working in the transportation industry in the US…, The knowing glances were probably what I gave passengers and tourist when they were acting all touristy with photos, and general glee…, a eye roll at my fellow co workers with raised eyebrow.
    无非是有人愚蠢的人的反应。
    但话又说回来......,也许民众是一种偏执的民族?

    But yes, A beautiful country as well.
    I hear the real gem in the region is in Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi which was Tiflis until 1936.
    我很乐意看到这个城市的巡演。我听到很是壮观。

  2. 我爱你的博客这么多!

  3. bepaly平台新的博客,喜欢它。希望我们能回去的时候,博客是独立的,个人是这样一个Twitter的和所有的废话和FB都不见踪影。
    Cheers from Costa Rica

  4. 真的好再读一遍!除了下水道的探索,这几样约“奇怪”国家有深度的文章是我绝对的收藏夹!bepaly投注世界杯沙巴体育线上娱

  5. 爱它!你描述的入境和签证的过程是令人着迷......苏联式的繁文缛节,在电子签证的形式,现代出行方便混合。这是我无尽的遗愿清单去。感谢您分享您的行程。

  6. 打结枪雕塑家是在联合国的总部一个著名的纪念碑的复制。及其对和平世界各地的象征。其所谓的“非暴力”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-Violence_%28sculpture%29?wprov=sfla1

  7. I have always been curious about these independent republics in the Caucassus. Thank you for the post, really!

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