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Tour to Abkhazia and South Ossetia

Abkhazia and South Ossetia, 28th of April - 9th of May

Guide — Dmitry Lemeshev

Group: 2 - 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

April 28. 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. Evening in a guest-house, enjoying subtropical air and wine.

April 29. Dynamic day in the mountains: Malaya Ritsa and biking tour along Ritsa highway

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. Our way back to the guest-house will also give you something to write home about. Ritsa highway is a fascinating engineering solution, which gives you an opportunity to marvel at the divine beauty of the Abkhazian mountains. However, if we opt for a car ride, we will miss most of the thrill. So, we are going to use bicycles!

April 30. 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.

May 1. 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 Sukhumi in the evening.

May 2. Trekking in Eastern Abkhazia: The beauty of foothills

Каньон на подходе к Шакуранскому водопаду

Canyon on the way to Shakuran waterfall

On this day we are going to the sparsely populated part of the country – Tsebelda Valley. Stunningly beautiful sights and an enjoyable hike: Shakuran waterfall, the grove of moss-covered, ancient box-trees, Amtkyal lake, a huge forest lake, and Azant dolmen, the highest dolmen in the Caucasus. We will be back in Sukhum in the evening.

May 3. 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 in the evening the evening to take a night train to Vladikavkaz.

May 4. Vladikavkaz and 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 Vladikavkaz; then we will quickly visit a couple of museums, have lunch and 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 Man 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 Kroz village. We will stay at the horse farm of Alan Parastayev – an opposition blogger, well-known in South Ossetia.

May 5. Two temples: Dzer Dzuar and 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.

On this day we will have a horseback ride to Dzer Dzuar – the most revered holy site in South Ossetia, even though it is a Christian temple. Then we will take a trip to one of the most authentic valleys in South Ossetia – the valley of the Medzhuda River.
Home-stay in farmer’s house.

May 6. 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, and we will return to Chalisubani by the time of supper.
Late evening we move to Tskhinval.
Overnight in a hotel (3*).

May 7. 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 mountains to see Ertso lake, find wild mineral springs in the forest and visit a cave. Have lunch in Tson village, one of the most picturesque in Ossetia.
Come back to Tskhinval for the night.

May 8. Urstual valley and 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 go to the Urstual valley to make light hiking in mountains and taste few more natural springs.
In the evening we’ll come back to Vladikavkaz.
We’ll walk around the historical part of the city and visit workshop of “Kona” folk-ensemble.

May 9. Victory day

Parad-pobedy-vladikavkaz

We will look at the parade dedicated to the Victory Day and leave the city for airport.

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Conditions

Included in the price :

  • guides;
  • all transportations;
  • accomodation;
  • meals;
  • museums and other tickets.

Not included in the price:

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

What to have with you

  • Comfortable demi clothing for outdoor activities.

Other detailes:

  • single suppliment is 200 USD
  • discount for children under 12 is 50%
  • we require 15% nonrefundable prepayment.
  • please, get in touch with Dmitry Lemeshev for booking and other issues [email protected], phone +7 926 213 99 81