Velvet season in Abkhazia: the rest will be great!

Sea. Warm and affectionate, like the mother’s hands, clean, like the child’s soul, the sea. Forgive me for the enthusiastic transport, but I can not resist them: the sea in Abkhazia is just wonderful!

It seems that the distance from Sochi is nothing. To Gagra, for example, only an hour and a half by car. But the sea is completely different! Even if you swam behind the buoys and the depth below you is several meters, every pebble at the bottom, every fish can be seen through the glass of the mask. No, no, and a dot of silver will flash: those who have time to return to the hustle and bustle of cities are tossing coins into the sea and, judging by their numbers, dreaming of visiting Abkhazia again almost every second.

Abkhazia, coast

But what but the sea? As much as you love beach holidays, after two or three days of relaxing on the shore, you will want something else. Believe me, those looking for new impressions will not be disappointed with Abkhazia. There are many opportunities to diversify your vacation here.

Nature

I remember in one of his books, the American psychologist Dutcher Keltner argued that the awe and admiration we experience from contemplating beautiful landscapes heals the soul and helps treat a variety of diseases – up to hypertension or even Alzheimer’s disease. Whether it is true or not, after the very first walk in the alleys of the cypress trees, in a mountain gorge or a trip to alpine meadows, you feel like a different person.

Abkhazia

The turmoil of the local nature is amazing! If the cypress is about 30 meters high, if you want to see the top, hold your hat with your hand. If the lake – then some incredible shade: blue-green, turquoise, light blue. If the mountains are covered with a dense velvety skin of forests. What about fast mountain rivers? And the numerous caves? What about resounding waterfalls? Wherever you rest in Abkhazia, there is a place for a relaxed romantic walk and extreme adventures.

Unusual experiences

Well: mountain waterfalls – 8 pieces, Stalin dachas – 5 pieces, New Athos caves – the one and only. Undoubtedly, all this is very cool, exciting and informative.

Men’s Tears Waterfall, Abkhazia

I remember, for example, how on a trip to Lake Ritsa, where one of Stalin’s dachas is located, we literally got stuck looking at the bath in which the greatest tyrant of all time and peoples was steaming old bones. Well, you should! A tyrant is a tyrant, but, like any of us, he liked, it turns out, to be absorbed in hot water! The bathroom is simple, without decorative elements. These are now placed in the average hotel.

I remember throwing off my sandals and climbing to my knees in a mountain river. It ‘s cold, it’ s burning! The current – you can hardly resist! Look: the shadow of a fish – a trout shone! And here is another one! It refreshes, in a word. Tariff.

Lake Ritsa, Abkhazia

But! But you can find routes and many other exotic. On one of the trips, it was the case, they took a car with a driver and rushed to Akarmara and Tkuarchal – ghost towns abandoned after the collapse of the USSR on the border with Georgia. They were built immediately after the war for miners and hydroelectricians. Sir, how chic the miners lived under the Union!

“And what is this palace?” – we ask local grandmothers, surprisingly fragile, but stately and in fact majestic women.

“Not a palace, a restaurant for the working class!”

– And who lived in this house: the party bosses? – We show a four-storey building of Stalinist style with a tall fountain in the courtyard.

– No! We lived, simple hard workers!

And what a station it was at Tkuarchal! And what aqueducts! ..

Akarmara, Abkhazia

The next trip is to Chernigovka, a tiny village on the Machara River. Lavrenty Pavlovich Beria once ordered the construction of a small hydroelectric station here, which would provide light and heat to his mining village – Myarkhaul. Now, in the place of a power plant that had been destroyed for a long time, in the depths of a mountain gorge, hid the Assir restaurant. And this is one of the most unusual restaurants we have ever seen: everywhere – rocks covered with moss, fast streams, islands of forest flowers, swamps with rainbow trout. And in the midst of all this grandeur – kiosks for the visitors of the institution. Delicious? High! Unusual? And how!

And there are no less than a dozen similar, incredible and amazing places in tiny Abkhazia. Do a little googling and see for yourself.

Assir Restaurant

Healthy food

We say “mandarins” – we mean “Abkhazia”. We say “Abkhazia” – we mean “mandarins”. And also – oranges, peaches, persimmons, figs, kiwis, pomegranates, lemons, watermelons, melons, medlars, laurel cherries, mulberries, apricots, feijoa, cherries, grapes. And also – freshly caught horse mackerel, red mullet, red mullet, sea bass, pelengas, trout. And also – steam beef, lamb, goat meat.

Here, however, a reservation is needed. Abkhazians can not be called lovers of high cuisine. Complex dishes from many ingredients do not concern them. Fish means fish. Meat means meat. What a charm it really is: there are simply no giant farms where the land is generously fertilized with chemicals and the animals are raised with hormones and antibiotics. Everything is simple, everything is delicious, everything is natural.

Samshitovaya Grove Restaurant

Here are 5 of the best restaurants in and around Gagra to my taste: Amore, Boxwood Grove, Abaata, Cypress Park, Al Capone. And of course the famous Gagripsh. But with one caveat: Gagripsh is still not for eating. They feed here a maximum of “four minus”, but the prices for all “five plus”. However, you should definitely look here. In 1902, the resort’s founder, Prince Alexander of Oldenburg, bought the building at an exhibition in Scandinavia, ordered that it be dismantled, brought to Gagra and reassembled.

Gagripsh

Everything has been preserved intact since then: the appearance, the famous mechanical clock, the interiors visited by Nicholas II, Joseph Stalin, the writers Anton Chekhov, Ivan Bunin, Maxim Gorky, the singer Fyodor Saliapin.

Wonderful hotels

Sadness, my friends, sadness! In recent years, there are many aristocratic hotels in Abkhazia, but their prices have also risen significantly: a Russian tourist tasted all the charms of local resorts, arrived here with an audience … But one way or another, vacation in Gagra or Pitsunda are still significantly cheaper than in neighboring Sochi.

Abbat Hotel, Abkhazia, Old Gagra

I will not give specific recommendations for choosing a hotel: Google, as they say, to help, there is a lot to choose from.

We, for example, stayed at the Abaata Hotel. These are the Old Gagra, probably three kilometers from the new city center. The place is interesting, the place is historic. Namolennye, as they say: the first hotel here was built by the Prince of Oldenburg himself, the founder of the resort. His castle stands opposite the hotel (It is currently being renovated, but you are still allowed to walk around the castle). Later, during Soviet rule, the Primorskaya Hotel was built here. Now the new owners have restored some of the old buildings, built new ones – in the same style, but much more comfortable.

Abbat Hotel, Abkhazia, Old Gagra

You will go out on the veranda of the main building: is this exactly Abkhazia? Maybe we are in Turkey? A beach surrounded by palm trees, a cozy swimming pool, a soccer field, shops, a bicycle rental, a bar, two restaurants – beauty! There is also an ancient Christian church and a small historical museum in the area. Just behind the territory there is an elegant city park and beautiful semi-wild beaches, across the road, next to the castle, there is an inactive train station with interesting architecture and a closed hotel where the heroes of the movie “Winter Night in Gagra” … And what sunsets! And what a cicada song!

Abbat Hotel, Abkhazia, Old Gagra

I envy you if you manage to visit these places already this year. The rest, I’m sure, will be wonderful.

Oleg Golovnev, especially for Russian TV Week

And right now you you can see how we relax at the Abbot Hotel, and enter yourself!

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