Sukhumi, Abkhazia

Sukhumi does not have Monday rush hour. This capital of a self-declared republic seems empty. In companion piece Getting to Abkhazia from Sochi, Russia, I recounted that the arbitrary border closing by the Russians cost my afternoon.

Sukhumi 01

I arrived at 10 pm to the deserted square in front of Sukhumi Train Station. No taxis, no people, no businesses open. I was off-map and wandered along the main road until I found a downward-sloping road that I hoped would lead to the coast and downtown core. A few cars passed but I felt safer on my feet, walking with a purpose, than flagging what might not be a safe taxi. I walked for nearly an hour before finding the main streets of the city. The few hotel listings I had turned out to be shuttered.

At one intersection I was accosted by a large drunk who grabbed at me and demanded my passport. I read hesitation on his companion’s face and a taxi happened to be rolling up the street so I pulled away and dashed in front of the taxi. A lesson learned from my father and his childhood in Brooklyn is when accosted, attempt to pull out into traffic rather than be pushed inside an alley. The drunk’s friend led him off.

I was now on Lakoba Street and far down its western end I found the relocated Intourist Hotel in a compound hidden by two blocks of crumbling buildings. The reception was warm and English-speaking. I would have paid anything they asked. The room was simple with the greatest luxury in winter: warmth. Breakfast the next morning was a tour of local breakfast items like fermented dairy drink kefir.

I set out at 8 to obtain my visa and do a quick walking tour of the city. I had no reamining buffer in my schedule so covered as much ground as I could. The city is a mix of remnants of elegant pre-Soviet and Soviet past as a Black Sea resort town, and stark, bullet-riddled remains and memorials of the 1993 war. The city is dominated by the banner-adorned hull of the Government Building.

Sukhumi 02

Sukhumi 03

Sukhumi 04

Sukhumi 05

Sukhumi 08

Sukhumi 06

Sukhumi 09

Sukhumi 10

Sukhumi 11

Sukhumi 07

Sukhumi 12

Sukhumi 13

Everyone I encountered was friendly and welcoming. I wanted to linger.

Sukhumi 14

Rapid Travel Chai newsletter ¦ Twitter ¦ Facebook ¦ Instagram

Pingbacks

  1. […] Getting to Abkhazia from Sochi, Russia. By Rapid Travel Chai. I don’t know about you but I prefer to read blog posts about fascinating places instead of  getting hit upside the head constantly by bloggers pumping their affiliate and referral links NON STOP EVERY FREAKING DAY. Take a stand!  He followed up with more from Sukhumi, Abkhazia. […]

  • Mike from Berlin

    Good Morning,

    Are you aware that taking photos of harbour installations and/or givernment building can get you into serious trouble in Abchasia? It is considered as spying! As you are still in the country, I would suggest to delete the pictures along with my post from your blog as soon as possible…

  • Mike from Berlin

    Don’t take photos of anything that can be considered as “strategic”, especially, as your passport bears evidence of a previous visit to Russia, I suppose.

  • @Mike from Berlin – thanks for the tip, I was there back in October, been late on catching up with the blog. For the more sensitive countries I don’t post until I am gone, though I do not actively try to skirt any rules. Had no idea any of these were an issue. I guess none of the police were up in the morning when I was walking about!

  • Now I curious. Have you deleted the photos or are the photos as currently shown considered dangerous/spying?

    It is weird but there are rules … and then there are rules. If they are enforced, it is better not to disregard them, but in this case – and many similar instances – it is likely an innocent photo op (as long as the authorities agree!).

  • @Porcupyn – I have not deleted any, these are the ones that Mike reports would be considered an issue by the authorities. I agree, standing in broad daylight with a camera there were plenty of chances for any police to object. I did not get the impression anyone had much enthusiasm to do much of everything, a sleeping place caught in a geopolitical vice.

  • @Mike from Berlin – I hope there are not monk police that will hunt me down when I post pictures of Novy Afon next? They could reach beyond borders. :O

  • Pingback: BRGs, Best cities for free, Manufactured Spending Tournament, Club Carlson, Abkhazia, Free Stopovers with Niacin, Urban Free Climbing,Mexican Drug Lords, Kangbashi at Ordos | TravelBloggerBuzz()

  • Pingback: Novy Afon, Abkhazia - Rapid Travel Chai()

  • Mr. Cool

    i say you should post MORE photos of the port & abhazia in general.. looks very cozy & inviting! must be those palm trees. props btw