The Abkhazia Portal

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Abkhazia (/æbˈkɑːziə/ (listen) or /æbˈkziə/) is a partially recognized state in the South Caucasus, recognised by most countries as part of Georgia, which views the region as an autonomous republic. It lies on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, south of the Greater Caucasus mountains in northwestern Georgia. It covers 8,665 square kilometres (3,346 sq mi) and has a population of around 245,000. Its capital is Sukhumi.

The status of Abkhazia is a central issue of the Georgian–Abkhazian conflict and Georgia–Russia relations. The polity is recognised as a state by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru and Syria. While Georgia lacks control over Abkhazia, the Georgian government and most United Nations member states consider Abkhazia legally part of Georgia, with Georgia maintaining an official government-in-exile.

The region had autonomy within Soviet Georgia at the time when the Soviet Union began to disintegrate in the late 1980s. Simmering ethnic tensions between the Abkhaz—the region's titular ethnicity—and Georgians—the largest single ethnic group at that time—culminated in the 1992–1993 War in Abkhazia, which resulted in Georgia's loss of control over most of Abkhazia and the ethnic cleansing of Georgians from Abkhazia.

Despite a 1994 ceasefire agreement and years of negotiations, the dispute remains unresolved. The long-term presence of a United Nations Observer Mission and a Russian-led Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) peacekeeping force failed to prevent the flare-up of violence on several occasions. In August 2008, Abkhaz and Russian forces fought a war against Georgian forces, which led to the formal recognition of Abkhazia by Russia, the annulment of the 1994 ceasefire agreement and the termination of the UN mission. On 28 August 2008, the Parliament of Georgia declared Abkhazia a Russian-occupied territory, a position reflected by most United Nations member states.


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Sukhumi or Sokhumi, also known by its official Abkhaz name Aqwa (Abkhazian: Аҟәа, Aqwa; Georgian: სოხუმი, [sɔxumi] (listen); Russian: Суху́м(и), Sukhum(i) [sʊˈxum(ʲɪ)]), is a city in a wide bay on the Black Sea's eastern coast. It is both the capital and largest city of the Republic of Abkhazia, which has controlled it since the Abkhazia war in 1992-93 (although internationally it is still considered part of Georgia). The city, which has an airport, is a port, major rail junction and a holiday resort because of its beaches, sanatoriums, mineral-water spas and semitropical climate. It is also a member of the International Black Sea Club.

Sukhumi's history can be traced 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 and then the Kingdom of Georgia. 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. After a period of conflict during the Russian Civil War, it became part of the independent Georgia, which included Abkhazia, in 1918. In 1921, the Democratic Republic of Georgia was occupied by Soviet Bolshevik forces from Russia. Within the Soviet Union, it was regarded as a holiday resort. As the Soviet Union broke up in the early 1990s, the city suffered significant damage during the Abkhaz–Georgian conflict. The present-day population of 60,000 is only half of the population living there toward the end of Soviet rule. (Full article...)
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A colonnade in the coastal town of Gagra

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Archimandrite Dorotheos (Greek: Αρχιμανδρίτης Δωρόθεος Ντμπάρ, Abkhazian: архимандрит Дараҭ Дбар, born Dmitry Dbar January 18, 1972, village Mgudzirkhua, Gudauta district) is the archimandrite of Holy Metropolis of Goumenissa, Aksiupol and Policastro under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and a chairman of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia (HMA).

He is an author of two scientific monographs, several books, more than 150 publicistic articles and the chief editor of the religious and educational magazine “Alasharbaga” and the head of the cultural and educational center “Aduney”. Archimandrite Dorotheos also translated Liturgical texts from Ancient Greek, Modern Greek, the Church Slavonic language into Abkhazian and Russian. (Full article...)

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