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Ethnographic adventure in Abkhazia

This tour is an excellent opportunity to get a taste of the ethnographer’s life. We will visit the remotest corners of Abkhazia, learning about diverse aspects of culture of not just the Abkhazians, but also of other nations that populate this country — Russians, Armenians, Mingrelians… By the way, our trip to the Russian village will be a genuine adventure as we’ll ride over the high mountain crossing and seven fords of the turbulent river on off-road vehicles, and fly back in the AN-2 aircraft.
At the same time, we’ll visit some of Abkhazia’s most popular landmarks, and breathe the air of Sukhum, the old port city, whose history begins with colonization by the ancient Greeks. We’ll also have a chance to enjoy some relaxing time at the coast, which was considered a heaven on Earth in the Soviet times, a luxury resort for the Communist elites.

Itinerary

Day 0. (Sat). Flight to Russia

If you are coming from Europe, UK or USA the best option for you are flights of Turkish airlines via Istanbul. Flight from Istanbul will arrive to Sochi at 2:40 a.m.

Day 1. (Sun). Arrival in Sochi

Upon your arrival at the international airport of Sochi, you will be met by your guide.
Our tour will start in the afternoon. We will explore central Sochi with local guide till late evening.
Night in “Russian Seasons” 4* hotel.

Day 2. (Mon): Sochi — Gagra — Auadkhara

This day we will cross the border of Abkhazia and visit Old Gagra — the resort on the Black See coast, established by Russian Empire in the beginning of the 20th century. We will explore abandoned villas and walk in old park of exotic plants. We will have lunch at a restaurant, built in 1902.
After lunch we’ll change our micro-bus for all-road cars and go to mountains of Ritsa Relict National Park to visit Ritsa lake and Stalin’s summer house. Then we’ll proceed to Auadkhara mountain resort, established near mineral springs. Dinner and overnight in huts with shower and toilet.

Day 3. (Tue) Auadkhara — Pskhu

Go further by all-road-cars to Pskhu village — the most remote village of Abkhazia. It is inhabited by Russians, who come here before Russian revolution.
First we’ll climb to Anchkho pass. If physical shape of the group is OK, we’ll make a light hike or horse-back walk to “7 lakes” area from the pass.
Then we’ll go down to subtropical forest along stormy Bavyu river. We’ll have to cross it’s fords 7 times!
After coming to Pskhu we’ll go to Rikza hamlet to have dinner with family. Will have to walk or ride a horse for a while to get it.
In the evening we’ll come back to Pskhu village and spend a night in a 2* hotel.

Day 4. (Wed) Pskhu — Sukhum

We will have free time to explore the village and communicate with locals.
Before noon we fly by AN2 aircraft to the airport of Sukhum — the capital of Abkhazia.
We will have lunch in a nice place on the way to the town.
After checking in the hotel we will have some time for leisure and wi-fi after rural days in mountains, where is no even cell phone connection.
Before dinner we’ll have a walk in the historical part of Sukhum.
Dinner will be in a fish restaurant on the dock.
Night in “Leon” 4* hotel.

Day 5. (Thu) Sukhum

We’ll dedicate the whole day to the town. First we’ll visit Botanical Garden of Sukhum, which is small, but has really interesting collection. Then we’ll visit national museum and few important places in the center of the town.
We will have lunch in the best traditional cuisine restaurant.
After lunch we’ll have coffee with local history and culture experts, visit souvenir shops.
Then we’ll go for wine tasting to the nursery of aboriginal grape varieties, which belongs to the biggest winery of the country.
Have dinner with local musicians.
Night in “Leon” 4* hotel.

Day 6. (Fri) Eastern Abkhazia

Optional: visit central market of Sukhum before breakfast.
Go for late breakfast to Ochamchira to meet the priest of Abkhazian pagan religion. Then visit the church, built in X century near Bedia village and come to Tkuarchal — the ghost-town, which was industrial center of Abkhazia in Soviet time. We’ll meet residents of the town and visit local museum.
After that we’ll go Arasadzykh village to have late lunch with local family.
After long traditional feast we’ll start our way back to Sukhum. We’ll visit another X century church in Mokva village and relax in thermal springs of Kyndyg village.
We’ll be back in Sukhum in the evening.
Night in “Leon” 4* hotel.

Day 7. (Sat) New Athos

Today we’ll visit the most touristic place of Abkhazia — New Athos. That is a small town 30 minutes out from Sukhum. Here we’ll visit ruins of the first capital of Abkhazian kingdom, then the huge New Athos karst cave, the New Athos monastery and other places…
In the evening we’ll come to Old Gagra and have farewell dinner in the best restaurant of the country with traditional Abkhazian dancing.
Cross the border.
Transfer to the airport or hotel nearby.

Day 8 — optional. (Sun) Departure

We recommend you to fly by Turkish airlines 4:00 (Sunday) to Istanbul. If you choose this option, you should have few hours rest. We can book a hotel for you, which will be clean, quiet and not too expensive.

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