Sukhumi, Abkhazia

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Hotels of Sukhumi

A hotel in Sukhumi is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Sukhumi hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Sukhumi are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Sukhumi hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Sukhumi hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Sukhumi have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Sukhumi
An upscale full service hotel facility in Sukhumi that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Sukhumi hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Sukhumi
Full service Sukhumi hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Sukhumi
Boutique hotels of Sukhumi are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Sukhumi boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Sukhumi may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Sukhumi
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Sukhumi travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Sukhumi focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Sukhumi
Small to medium-sized Sukhumi hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Sukhumi traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Sukhumi hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Sukhumi
A bed and breakfast in Sukhumi is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Sukhumi bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Sukhumi B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Sukhumi
Sukhumi hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Sukhumi hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Sukhumi
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Sukhumi hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Sukhumi lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Sukhumi
Sukhumi timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Sukhumi often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Sukhumi on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Sukhumi
A Sukhumi motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Sukhumi for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Sukhumi motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Sukhumi

Аҟәа, სოხუმი
Akwa, Sokhumi
Sokhumi Collage.jpg
Official seal of Sukhumi
Sukhumi is located in Abkhazia
Sukhumi is located in Georgia (country)
Location of Sukhumi in Georgia
Coordinates:  / 43.00333; 41.01528
Country Georgia
Partially recognized state Abkhazia
Settled 6th century BC
City Status 1848
• Mayor Adgur Kharazia
• Total 27 km (10 sq mi)
Highest elevation 140 m (460 ft)
Lowest elevation 5 m (16 ft)
Population (2011)
• Total 62,914
Time zone MSK (UTC+4)
Postal code 384900
Area code(s) +7 840 22x-xx-xx
Vehicle registration ABH

Sukhumi or Sokhumi (Abkhaz: Аҟәа, Aqwa; Georgian: სოხუმი, [sɔxumi]; Russian: Сухум(и), Sukhum(i)) is a city on the Black Sea coast. It is the capital of the breakaway Republic of Abkhazia which has controlled it since the 1992-93 war in Abkhazia, although most of the international community considers it legally part of Georgia.

Sukhumi's history can be traced back to the 6th century BC, when it was settled by Greeks, who named it Dioscurias. During this time and the subsequent Roman period, much of the city disappeared under the Black Sea. The city was named Tskhumi when it became part of the Kingdom of Abkhazia. Contested by local princes, it became part of the Ottoman Empire in the 1570s, where it remained until it was conquered by the Russian Empire in 1810. Following a period of conflict during Russian Civil War, it became part of the Soviet Union, where it was regarded as a holiday resort. As the Soviet Union broke up in the early 1990s, the city suffered significant damage during the Georgian–Abkhazian conflict. The present-day population of 60,000 is only half of the population living there towards the end of Soviet rule.

Sukhumi: Naming

In Georgian, the city is known as სოხუმი (Sokhumi) or აყუ (Aqu), in Megrelian as აყუჯიხა (Aqujikha), and in Russian as Сухум (Sukhum) or Сухуми (Sukhumi). The toponym Sokhumi derives from the Georgian word Tskhomi/Tskhumi, meaning beech. It is significant, that "dia" in several dialects of the Georgian language and among them in Megrelian means mother and "skuri" means water. In Abkhaz, the city is known as Аҟәа (Aqwa) which according to native tradition signifies water.

In the ancient Greek sources (Pseudo-Skilak of Kariand- IV c. B. C. ) the city is referred to as Dioscurias. According to the antique traditions this name originates from the mythical Dioskouri, the twin brothers Castor and Pollux, sons of Zeus. It was believed that the town had been established by Castor's and Pollux's coachmen, the Argonauts Telkius and Amphyst. However the names of the town may simply be the Greek comprehension of the old Georgian word combination.

The medieval Georgian sources knew the town as Tskhumi (ცხუმი). Later, under the Ottoman control, the town was known in Turkish as Suhum-Kale, which can be derived from the earlier Georgian form Tskhumi or can be read to mean 'water-sand fortress'. Tskhumi in turn is supposed to be derived from the Svan language word for 'hot', or the Georgian word for 'hornbeam tree'.

The ending -i in the above forms represents the Georgian nominative-suffix. The town was initially officially described in Russian as Сухум (Sukhum), until 16 August 1936 when this was changed to Сухуми (Sukhumi). This remained so until 4 December 1992, when the Supreme Council of Abkhazia restored the original version, that was approved in Russia in autumn 2008, even though Сухуми is also still being used.

In English, the most common form today is Sukhumi, although Sokhumi is increasing in usage and has been adopted by sources including Encyclopædia Britannica, MSN Encarta, Esri and Google Maps.

Sukhumi: General information

Sukhumi is located on a wide bay of the eastern coast of the Black Sea and serves as a port, rail junction and a holiday resort. It is known for its beaches, sanatoriums, mineral-water spas and semitropical climate. Sukhumi is also an important air link for Abkhazia as the Sukhumi Dranda Airport is located nearby the city. Sukhumi contains a number of small-to-medium size hotels serving chiefly the Russian tourists. Sukhumi botanical garden was established in 1840, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the Caucasus.

The city has a number of research institutes, the Abkhazian State University and the Sukhumi Open Institute. From 1945 to 1954 the city's electron physics laboratory was involved in the Soviet program to develop nuclear weapons.

The city is a member of the International Black Sea Club.

Sukhumi: History

The Sohum-Kale fort in the early 19th century.
Colchian Coin of Dioscurias, late 2nd century BC. Obverse: Two pilei surmounted by stars Reverse: Thyrsos, ΔΙΟΣΚΟΥΡΙΑΔΟΣ
Sukhumi botanical garden
Sukhumi in 1912. Early color photo by Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii

The history of the city began in the mid-6th century BC when an earlier settlement of the second and early first millennia BC, frequented by local Colchian tribes, was replaced by the Milesian Greek colony of Dioscurias (Greek: Διοσκουριάς). The city is said to have been so named for the Dioscuri, the twins Castor and Pollux of classical mythology. It became busily engaged in the commerce between Greece and the indigenous tribes, importing wares from many parts of Greece, and exporting local salt and Caucasian timber, linen, and hemp. It was also a prime center of slave trade in Colchis. The city and its surroundings were remarkable for the multitude of languages spoken in its bazaars.

Although the sea made serious inroads upon the territory of Dioscurias, it continued to flourish until its conquest by Mithridates VI Eupator of Pontus in the later 2nd century. Under the Roman emperor Augustus the city assumed the name of Sebastopolis (Greek: Σεβαστούπολις). But its prosperity was past, and in the 1st century Pliny the Elder described the place as virtually deserted though the town still continued to exist during the times of Arrian in the 130s. The remains of towers and walls of Sebastopolis have been found underwater; on land the lowest levels so far reached by archaeologists are of the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. In 542 the Romans evacuated the town and demolished its citadel to prevent it from being captured by Sassanid Iran. In 565, however, the emperor Justinian I restored the fort and Sebastopolis continued to remain one of the Byzantine strongholds in Colchis until being sacked by the Arab conqueror Marwan II in 736.

Afterwards, the town came to be known as Tskhumi. Restored by the kings of Abkhazia from the Arab devastation, it particularly flourished during the Georgian Golden Age in the 12th–13th centuries, when Tskhumi became a center of traffic with the European maritime powers, particularly with the Republic of Genoa. The Genoese established their short-lived trading factory at Tskhumi early in the 14th century.

The Ottoman navy occupied the town in 1451, but for a short time. Later contested between the princes of Abkhazia and Mingrelia, Tskhumi finally fell to the Turks in the 1570s. The new masters heavily fortified the town and called it Sohumkale, with kale meaning "fort" but the first part of the name of disputed origin. It may represent Turkish su, "water", and kum, "sand", but is more likely to be an alteration of its earlier Georgian name. At the request of the pro-Russian Abkhazian prince, the town was stormed by the Russian Marines in 1810 and turned, subsequently, into a major outpost in the North West Caucasus. (See Russian conquest of the Caucasus#Black Sea Coast). Sukhumi was declared the seaport in 1847 and was directly annexed to the Russian Empire after the ruling Shervashidze princely dynasty was ousted by the Russian authorities in 1864. During the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–1878, the town was temporarily controlled by the Ottoman forces and Abkhaz-Adyghe rebels.

Sukhumi quay

Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, the town and Abkhazia in general were engulfed in the chaos of the Russian Civil War. A short-lived Bolshevik government was suppressed in May 1918 and Sukhumi was incorporated into the Democratic Republic of Georgia as a residence of the autonomous People's Council of Abkhazia and the headquarters of the Georgian governor-general. The Red Army and the local revolutionaries took the city from the Georgian forces on 4 March 1921, and declared Soviet rule. Sukhumi functioned as the capital of the "Union treaty" Abkhaz Soviet Socialist Republic associated with the Georgian SSR from 1921 until 1931, when it became the capital of the Abkhazian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic within the Georgian SSR. By 1989, Sukhumi had 110,000 inhabitants and was one of the most prosperous cities of Georgia. Many holiday dachas for Soviet leaders were situated there.

Beginning with the 1989 riots, Sukhumi was a centre of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict, and the city was severely damaged during the 1992–1993 War. During the war, the city and its environs suffered almost daily air strikes and artillery shelling, with heavy civilian casualties. On 27 September 1993 the battle for Sukhumi was concluded by a full-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing against its majority Georgian population (see Sukhumi Massacre), including members of the pro-Georgian Abkhazian government (Zhiuli Shartava, Raul Eshba and others) and mayor of Sukhumi Guram Gabiskiria. Although the city has been relatively peaceful and partially rebuilt, it is still suffering the after-effects of the war, and it has not regained its earlier ethnic diversity. Its population in 2003 was 43,716, compared to about 120,000 in 1989.

Sukhumi: Population

Sukhumi: Demographics

Historic population figures for Sukhumi, split out by ethnicity, based on population censuses:

Year Abkhaz Armenians Estonians Georgians Greeks Russians Turkish Ukrainians Total
1897 Census 1.8%
1926 Census 3.1%
--- 10.4%
1939 Census 5.5%
--- 4.6%
1959 Census 5.6%
--- 31.1%
--- 4.3%
1979 Census 9.9%
--- 38.3%
--- 3.4%
1989 Census 12.5%
--- 41.5%
--- 21.6%
--- --- 119,150
2003 Census 65.3%
--- 1.6%
2011 Census 67.3%
(42,603 )
--- 2.8%
--- --- 62,914

Sukhumi: Religion

Ancient Sebastopolis was a Latin bishopric, but the diocese ceased to exist with the advent of Orthodoxy.

Sukhumi: Titular see

The diocese of Sebastopolis in Abasgia (meaning 'in Abchasia') was nominally restored as a Catholic Latin.

It has had the following incumbents, but is now vacant:

  • Celestino Annibale Cattaneo, Capuchin Franciscans (O.F.M. Cap.) (1936.03.03 – 1946.02.15)
  • Henri-Édouard Dutoit (1949.04.23 – 1953.04.17)
  • Aluigi Cossio (1955.08.12 – 1956.01.03)
  • Giuseppe Paupini (1956.02.02 – 1969.04.28), later cardinal

Sukhumi: Main sights

Medieval bridge over the Besletka river known as the Queen Tamar Bridge.

Sukhumi houses a number of historical monuments, notably the Besleti Bridge built during the reign of queen Tamar of Georgia in the 12th century. It also retains visible vestiges of the defunct monuments, including the Roman walls, the medieval Castle of Bagrat, several towers of the Great Abkhazian Wall constructed by the early modern Mingrelian and Abkhazian princes amid their territorial disputes; the 14th-century Genoese fort and the 18th-century Ottoman fortress. The 11th century Kamani Church (12 kilometres (7 miles) from Sukhumi) is erected, according to tradition, over the tomb of Saint John Chrysostom. Some 22 km (14 mi) from Sukhumi lies New Athos with the ruins of the medieval city of Anacopia. The Neo-Byzantine New Athos Monastery was constructed here in the 1880s on behest of Tsar Alexander III of Russia.

Northward in the mountains is the Voronya Cave, the deepest in the world, with a depth of 2,140 meters.

Sukhumi: Climate

Sukhumi has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), that is almost cool enough in summer to be an oceanic climate.

Climate data for Sukhumi
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8
Average low °C (°F) 2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 137
Average rainy days 17 15 16 15 12 11 10 10 10 12 16 16 160
Source #1: Weatherbase
Source #2: Georgia Travel Climate Information

Sukhumi: Administration

On 2 February 2000, President Ardzinba dismissed temporary Mayor Leonid Osia and appointed Leonid Lolua in his stead. Lolua was reappointed on 10 May 2001 following the March 2001 local elections.

On 5 November 2004, in the heated aftermath of the 2004 presidential election, president Vladislav Ardzinba appointed head of the Gulripsh district assembly Adgur Kharazia as acting mayor. During his first speech he called upon the two leading candidates, Sergei Bagapsh and Raul Khadjimba, to both withdraw.

On 16 February 2005, after his election as President, Bagapsh replaced Kharazia with Astamur Adleiba, who had been Minister for Youth, Sports, Resorts and Tourism until December 2004. In the 11 February 2007 local elections, Adleiba successfully defended his seat in the Sukhumi city assembly and was thereupon reappointed mayor by Bagapsh on 20 March.

In April 2007, while President Bagapsh was in Moscow for medical treatment, the results of an investigation into corruption within the Sukhumi city administration were made public. The investigation found that large sums had been embezzled and upon his return, on 2 May, Bagapsh fired Adleiba along with his deputy Boris Achba, the head of the Sukhumi's finance department Konstantin Tuzhba and the head of the housing department David Jinjolia. On 4 June Adleiba paid back to the municipal budget 200,000 rubels. and on 23 July, he resigned from the Sukhumi city council, citing health reasons and the need to travel abroad for medical treatment.

On 15 May 2007, president Bagapsh released Alias Labakhua as First Deputy Chairman of the State Customs Committee and appointed him acting Mayor of Sukhumi, a post temporarily fulfilled by former Vice-Mayor Anzor Kortua. On 27 May Labakhua appointed Vadim Cherkezia as Deputy Chief of staff. On 2 September, Labakhua won the by-election in constituency No. 21, which had become necessary after Adleiba relinquished his seat. Adleiba was the only candidate and voter turnout was 34%, higher than the 25% required. Since Adleiba was now a member of the city assembly, president Bagapsh could permanently appoint him Mayor of Sukhumi on 18 September.

Following the May 2014 Revolution and the election of Raul Khajimba as President, he on 22 October dismissed Labakhua and again appointed (as acting Mayor) Adgur Kharazia, who at that point was Vice Speaker of the People's Assembly. Kharazia won the 4 April 2015 by-election to the City Council in constituency no. 3 unopposed, and was confirmed as mayor by Khajimba on 4 May.

Sukhumi: List of Mayors

# Name From Until President Comments
Chairmen of the (executive committee of the) City Soviet:
Vladimir Mikanba 1975 1985
D. Gubaz <=1989 >=1989
Nodar Khashba 1991 First time
Guram Gabiskiria 1992 27 September 1993
Heads of the City Administration:
Nodar Khashba 1993 26 November 1994 Second time
26 November 1994 1995 Vladislav Ardzinba
Garri Aiba 1995 2000
Leonid Osia 2 February 2000 Acting Mayor
Leonid Lolua 2 February 2000 5 November 2004
Adgur Kharazia 5 November 2004 16 February 2005 Acting Mayor, first time
Astamur Adleiba 16 February 2005 2 May 2007 Sergei Bagapsh
Anzor Kortua May 2007 15 May 2007 Acting Mayor
Alias Labakhua 15 May 2007 29 May 2011
29 May 2011 1 June 2014 Alexander Ankvab
1 June 2014 22 October 2014 Valeri Bganba
Adgur Kharazia 22 October 2014 Present Raul Khajimba Second time

Sukhumi: Transport

Railway station

The city is served by several trolleybus and bus routes. Sukhumi is connected to other Abkhazian towns by bus routes.

There is a railway station in Sukhumi, that has a daily train to Moscow via Sochi.

Babushara Airport now handles only local flights due to the disputed status of Abkhazia.

Sukhumi: International relations

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Georgia

Sukhumi: Twin towns - Sister cities

Sukhumi is twinned with the following cities:

  • Russia Ufa, Russia
  • Russia Krasnodar, Russia
  • Flag of Transnistria (state).svg Tiraspol, Transnistria
  • Russia Cherkessk, Russia
  • Russia Podolsk, Russia
  • Russia Volgograd, Russia
  • Russia Grozny, Russia
  • Flag of Nagorno-Karabakh.svg Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
  • Russia Arkhangelsk, Russia
  • Russia Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
  • Italy Sant'Antioco, Italy
  • Turkey Side, Turkey

Sukhumi: See also

  • Sukhumi District
  • List of twin towns and sister cities in Georgia

Sukhumi: References

  1. "п╫п╟я│п╣п╩п╣п╫п╦п╣ п╟п╠я┘п╟п╥п╦п╦". Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  2. Abkhazia's status is disputed. It considers itself to be an independent state, but this is recognised by only a few other countries. The Georgian government and most of the world's other states consider Abkhazia de jure a part of Georgia's territory. In Georgia's official subdivision it is an autonomous republic, whose government sits in exile in Tbilisi.
  3. American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
  4. Abkhaz Loans in Megrelian, p. 65
  5. Otar Kajaia, 2001–2004, Megrelian-Georgian Dictionary (entry aq'ujixa).
  6. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  7. Colarusso, John. "More Pontic: Further Etymologies between Indo-European and Northwest Caucasian" (PDF). p. 54. Retrieved 22 August 2009.
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  • GigaCatholic for the titular see, linking to incumbent biographies
  • UNOMIG photo gallery of Sukhumi
  • News from FM Radio Abkhazia

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