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Tour to Abkhazia and South Ossetia

Abkhazia and South Ossetia, 27th of September - 7th of October

Guide — Dmitry Lemeshev

Group: 4 - 5 people

Тур в Абхазию и Южную Осетию The tour to Abkhazia and South Ossetia – the two countries that were not recognized as independent states not long ago! Both countries have a lot in common in their history; however, the distinctive culture and unique nature of each of the regions make them very different. Since the czar reign, Subtropical Abkhazia lying on the coast of the Black Sea has been knowns as a resort, while South Ossetia has gained notoriety due to its war. Very few people know that South Ossetia can be compared with the world shown in the films by Emir Kusturica; the world that harbors intangible preciousness of human souls and scenic mountains unconquered by tourists.

Itinerary

Day 1. Gagra

A warm night in the subtropics The guide will meet you at Sochi airport and take you to Gagra – one of the oldest Russian imperial resorts on the Black Sea. Gagra is in Abkhazia, 30 minuts driving from Russian border. Light dinner.
Overnight in a hotel (3*).

Day 2. Dynamic day in the mountains: Malaya Ritsa and Stalin’s “dacha”

Озеро Малая Рица

Small Ritsa lake. Photo: Denis Elagin

The tour to Abkhazia will not be complete without seeing Ritsa Lake. Definitely, we will go there, though our trip is not limited to taking pictures of the lake and coming back (the way tourists do it). We will walk through the virgin forest to Malaya Ritsa – the incredibly beautiful lake that lies off the beaten track of tourist routes. After that we’ll visit the summer house of Stalin and Khruschev.
In the evening come back to Gagra.
Overnight in a hotel (3*).

Day 3. Pitsunda-Myussera Nature Reserve: Adventures in the jungle

Поход по Пицундо-Мюссерскому заповеднику

Hills of Pitsundo-Myusersky Reserve, view from the plane. Photo: Alexey Korablev.

On this day we are going for a hike in the subtropical forest. Our destination is the Shlypra wild beach. People can get here only by foot or by sea, if they have a boat.

Храм в Амбаре

The wall of Ambara temple. Photo: Evgeniy Long

After the lunch, we will visit one of the most picturesque temples in Abkhazia, in the abandoned village of Ambara. Lianas twine their garlands, covering the ancient stone walls of the temple; the light can penetrate only through cracks and narrow windows… After our visit to the temple, we will go to Sukhum, and by the end of the day we will be there.
Overnight in a hotel (4*).

Day 4. Eastern Abkhazia: Traveling by jeep in the heart of rural life

Моквский собор

Temple in Mokva village. Photo: Alexey Korablev

We will see Mokva Cathedral – the largest medieval cathedral in Abkhazia, Tkuarchal, a ghost-city, which survived through 413 days of the blockade, and thermal springs in the vicinity of Kyndyg village. We will be back in Sukhum in the evening.
Overnight in a hotel (4*).

Day 5. New Athos and Gagra: walking around Russian Riviera

В парке Нового Афона

In the New Athos park. Photo Dmitry Kirillin

In the morning we will go to New Athos (Novy Afon) where we will spend the whole day. The hits of our sightseeing program are renowned karst New Athos Cave of a mind-boggling size; the first capital of Abkhazia – Anakopia citadel located on the top of the hill with steep slopes; and New Athos monastery – the largest Orthodox center on the Black Sea coast. We will come back to Sochi (Adler district) in the evening to take a night train to Pyatigorsk.
Overnight in a train.

Day 6. The first impressions of South Ossetia

Уастырджи Ныхас

Uastyrdjy nykhas – the holy place of Uastyrdjy – patron of travellers and wariors. It is placed on the entranse to the gorge of Ardon river

After the train trip you may need to stretch your legs, that is why we would like to take you for a walk around the historical center of Pyatigorsk. After lunch we’ll hit the road to South Ossetia. The road runs along the gorge of the Ardon River (derived from “ra don” translated from the Ossetic language as the mad river) leaves a lasting impression on travelers. We will be right below the Great Caucasian Ridge, which we will cross through the Roksky tunnel that is 3,730 meters long. Get ready for a surprise: Everything is different on the other side. Different mountains, different climate…

Ущелье Урстуалта

Mountains of the gorge of White Tuals (Urstualta) – one of the gorges we pass on the road. Photo: hoochecoocheman.livejournal.com

It will not take us long to get to Tskhinval. Short walk in the town with a veteran of the war for independence.
Overnight in a hotel (3*).

Day 7. Rural life

В Чалисубани

The family we will stay with is multilingual. Husband speaks Ossetian, Georgian and in Russian. Wife – only Georgian. Children – Ossetian and Georgian.

In the morning we’ll go to Leningor – the most sensitive place of South Ossetia. This district was part of Georgia before 2008 and inhabitance is mixed there. Have lunch in Leningor and come back to Tskhinval district of South Ossetia.
Hike up to Usanet holy hill with local guide. Have dinner in the village and home-stay.

Day 8. Hills of Medzhida Valley

Вид с горы Санеба

View from Saneba hill

In the morning we will hit the road to see the Saneba sanctuary – one of the dominating peaks in the area. On our way back we will visit Vilda village where the Georgians form most of the population.
In the evening We will return to Tskhinval.
Overnight in a hotel (3*).

Day 9. Tir monastery and Kudar valley

Тирский монастырь

Tir monastery

We’ll spend few morning hours to explore Tskhinval. After that we’ll move to Tir monastery – one of the most interesting medeaval Ortodox complexes in South Ossetia. We’ll have lunch there.
In the afternoon we’ll go to Znaur district of South Ossetia to explore medieval churches, towers and meet locals.
Come back to Tskhinval in the evening.
Overnight in a hotel (3*).

Day 10. Vladikavkaz

Мечеть во Владикавказе

The Mukhtarov’s mosque on the Terek river enbankment. One of the simbols of the city.

In the morning we’ll leave Tskhinval to Vladikavkaz. We’ll Have lunch in the city and then walk around the historical part. In the evening we’ll visit workshop of “Kona” folk-ensemble.
Overnight in a hotel (4*).

Day 11. Departure

Have free time in the morning.
Transfer to the airport of Vladikavkaz.

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Conditions

Included in the price :

  • English-speaking guides;
  • all transportations;
  • accommodation (3 nights in 4* hotels, 5 nights in 3* hotels, 1 home-stay, 1 night in sleeper car in train);
  • meals;
  • museums and other tickets.

Not included in the price:

  • your flight to Sochi and back from Vladikavkaz;
  • suveniers and other personal expenses.

What to have with you

  • Comfortable demi clothing for outdoor activities.

Other detailes:

  • single suppliment is 300 USD
  • we require 20% nonrefundable prepayment.
  • please, get in touch with Dmitry Lemeshev for booking and other issues [email protected], phone +7 926 213 99 81