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Sukhumi

"Aqwa" redirects here. For the aquarium, see Aquarium of Western Australia.
This article is about the capital of Abkhazia. For other uses, see Sukhumi (disambiguation).

Sukhumi (Russian:Суху́м(и), Sukhum(i) ) or Sokhumi (Georgian:სოხუმი, ()), also known by its Abkhaz name Aqwa (Abkhazian:Аҟәа, Aqwa), 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
Аҟәа(Abkhazian)
სოხუმი(Georgian)
Сухум(и)(Russian)
Sokhumi, Aqwa
City
Collage
Coat of arms
Sukhumi
Location of Sukhumi in Abkhazia
Show map of Abkhazia
Sukhumi
Location of Sukhumi in Georgia
Show map of Georgia
Coordinates:43°00′12″N41°00′55″E /43.00333°N 41.01528°E /43.00333; 41.01528
Country (de jure)Georgia
Country (de facto)Partially recognized StateAbkhazia
Settled6th century BC
City Status1848
Government
• MayorBeslan Eshba
Area
• Total27 km2 (10 sq mi)
Highest elevation
140 m (460 ft)
Lowest elevation
5 m (16 ft)
Population
(2018)
• Total65,439
Time zoneUTC+3 (MSK)
Postal code
384900
Area code+7 840 22x-xx-xx
Vehicle registrationABH
Websitewww.sukhumcity.ru

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.

Contents

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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 hornbeam in Svan language. It is significant that "dia" in several dialects of Georgian and in Mingrelian means mother and "skuri" means water.[better source needed] In Abkhaz, the city is known as Аҟәа (Aqwa), which, according to native tradition, signifies water.

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

The ending -i in the above forms represents the Georgian nominative suffix. The town was officially called Сухум (Sukhum) in Russian until 16 August 1936, when this was changed to Сухуми (Sukhumi).[citation needed] This remained so until 4 December 1992, when the Supreme Council of Abkhazia restored the original version.[citation needed] Russia also readopted its official spelling in 2008, 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 United Nations, Encyclopædia Britannica, MSN Encarta, Esri and Google Maps.

Coin of Dioscurias, late 2nd century BC. Obverse: The caps (pilei) of Dioscuri surmounted by stars; reverse: Thyrsos, ΔΙΟΣΚΟΥΡΙΑΔΟΣ

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 founded and named by the Dioscuri, the twins Castor and Pollux of classical mythology. According to another legend it was founded by Amphitus and Cercius of Sparta, the charioteers of the Dioscuri. The Greek pottery found in Eshera, further north along the coast, predates findings in the area of Sukhumi bay by a century suggesting that the centre of the original Greek settlement could have been there.

It became busily engaged in the commerce between Greece and the indigenous tribes, importing salt and wares from many parts of Greece, and exporting local 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 and became one of the key cities in the realm of Mithridates VI of Pontus in the 2nd century BC and supported his cause until the end. Dioscurias issued bronze coinage around 100 BC featuring the symbols of the Dioskuri and Dionysus. 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. According to Gregory of Nyssa there were Christians in the city in the late 4th century. In 542 the Romans evacuated the town and demolished its citadel to prevent it from being captured by Sasanian Empire. 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. Early in the 14th century the Genoese established their short-lived trading factory in Tskhumi and a Catholic bishopric existed there which is now a titular see. The city of Tskhumi became the summer residence of the Georgian kings. According to Russian scholar V. Sizov, it became an important “cultural and administrative center of the Georgian state. A Later Tskhumi served as capital of the OdishiMegrelian rulers, it was in this city that Vamek I (c. 1384–1396), the most influential Dadiani, minted his coins.

The Sohum-Kale fort in the early 19th century.

Documents of the 15th century clearly distinguished Tskhumi from Principality of Abkhazia. 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). 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 120,000 inhabitants and was one of the most prosperous cities of Georgia. Many holiday dachas for Soviet leaders were situated there.

Sukhumi in 1912. Early color photo by Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii

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. A relatively large infrastructure reconstruction program was launched in 2019-2020 focusing on the renovation of the waterfront, rebuilding city roads and cleaning city parks.[citation needed] Its population in 2017 was 65,716, compared to about 120,000 in 1989. During summer holidays season its population usually doubles and triples with a large inflow of international tourists.

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%
(144)
13.5%
(1,083)
0.4%
(32)
30.9%
(2,565)
14.3%
(1,143)
21.1%
(1,685)
2.7%
(216)
7,998
1926 Census 3.1%
(658)
9.4%
(2,023)
0.3%
(63)
23.3%
(5,036)
10.7%
(2,298)
23.7%
(5,104)
--- 10.4%
(2,234)
21,568
1939 Census 5.5%
(2,415)
9.8%
(4,322)
0.5%
(206)
19.9%
(8,813)
11.3%
(4,990)
41.9%
(18,580)
--- 4.6%
(2,033)
44,299
1959 Census 5.6%
(3,647)
10.5%
(6,783)
--- 31.1%
(20,110)
4.9%
(3,141)
36.8%
(23,819)
--- 4.3%
(2,756)
64,730
1979 Census 9.9%
(10,766)
10.9%
(11,823)
--- 38.3%
(41,507)
6.5%
(7,069)
26.4%
(28,556)
--- 3.4%
(3,733)
108,337
1989 Census 12.5%
(14,922)
10.3%
(12,242)
--- 41.5%
(49,460)
--- 21.6%
(25,739)
--- --- 119,150
2003 Census 56.3%
(24,603)
12.7%
(5,565)
0.1%
(65)
4.0%
(1,761)
1.5%
(677)
16.9%
(8,902)
--- 1.6%
(712)
43,716
2011 Census 67.3%
(42,603 )
9.8%
(6,192)
--- 2.8%
(1,755)
1.0%
(645)
14.8%
(9,288)
--- --- 62,914

Religion

Most of the inhabitants belong to the Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic Churches, Islam and the Abkhaz traditional religion.

Main sights

Sukhumi theatres which offer classical and modern performances, with the theatre season lasting from September to June. Several galleries and museums exhibit modern and historical Abkhaz visual art. Sukhumi Botanical Garden was established in 1840 and is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the Caucasus.

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 Kelasuri Wall, also known as Great Abkhazian Wall, constructed between 1628 and 1653 by Levan II Dadiani to protect his fiefdom from the Abkhaz tribes; the 14th-century Genoese fort and the 18th-century Ottoman fortress. The 11th century Kamani Monastery (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 Krubera Cave, one of the deepest in the world, with a depth of 2,140 meters.

Education

The city hosts a number of research and educational institutions, including the Abkhazian State University, the Sukhumi Open Institute and about a half a dozen of vocational education colleges. From 1945 to 1954 the city's electron physics laboratory was involved in the Soviet program to develop nuclear weapons. Additionally, the Abkhaz State Archive is located in the city.

Until 19th century young people from Abkhazia usually received their education mainly at religious schools (Muslims at Madrasas and Christians at Seminaries), although a small number of children from wealthy families had opportunity to travel to foreign countries for education. The first modern educational institutions (both schools and colleges) were established in the late 19th-early 20th century and rapidly grew until the second half of the 20th century. For example, the number of college students grew from few dozens in the 1920s to several thousands in the 1980s.

According to the official statistical data, Abkhazia has 12 TVET colleges (as of 2019, est.) providing education and vocational training to youth mostly in the capital city, though there are several colleges in all major district centers. Independent international assessments suggest that these colleges train in about 20 different specialties attracting between 1200 and 1500 young people annually (aged between 16 and 29) (as of 2019, est.). The largest colleges are as follows:[citation needed]

  • Abkhaz Multiindustrial College (1959) (from 1959 to 1999 - Sukhumi Trade and Culinary School),
  • Sukhumi State College (1904) (from 1904 to 1921 - Sukhumi Real School; from 1921 to 1999 - Sukhumi Industrial Technical School),
  • Sukhumi Art College (1934) (from 1934 to 1966 - Sukhimi Art Studio). This college is also a home for a relatively large collection of local paintings and sculptures accumulated mainly during past 60 years.
  • Sukhum Medical College (1931)

Higher education in Sukhumi currently is represented by one university, Abkhazian State University, which has a special status in the education system in Abkhazia and it manages its own budget.

Abkhaz State University (1979), has its own campus which is a home for 42 departments organized into 8 faculties providing education to about 3300 students (as of 2019, est.).

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) 10.0
(50.0)
10.7
(51.3)
12.8
(55.0)
16.8
(62.2)
20.4
(68.7)
24.2
(75.6)
26.5
(79.7)
26.8
(80.2)
24.1
(75.4)
20.3
(68.5)
15.6
(60.1)
12.0
(53.6)
18.3
(65.0)
Average low °C (°F) 2.2
(36.0)
2.7
(36.9)
4.5
(40.1)
8.3
(46.9)
12.2
(54.0)
16.2
(61.2)
19.0
(66.2)
18.6
(65.5)
14.8
(58.6)
10.4
(50.7)
6.6
(43.9)
3.9
(39.0)
10.0
(49.9)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 102
(4.0)
76
(3.0)
102
(4.0)
102
(4.0)
92
(3.6)
89
(3.5)
83
(3.3)
107
(4.2)
120
(4.7)
114
(4.5)
104
(4.1)
108
(4.3)
1,199
(47.2)
Average rainy days 17 15 16 15 12 11 10 10 10 12 16 16 160
Source 1: climatebase.ru
Source 2: Georgia Travel Climate Information

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. The 6th convocation of the Sukhumi City Council was elected 13 April 2016.

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
Railway station

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

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.[citation needed]

Notable people who are from or have resided in Sukhumi:

Twin towns — Sister cities

Sukhumi is twinned with the following cities:

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Coordinates: 43°00′N41°01′E /43.000°N 41.017°E /43.000; 41.017

Sukhumi
Sukhumi Language Watch Edit 160 160 Redirected from Sokhumi Aqwa redirects here For the aquarium see Aquarium of Western Australia This article is about the capital of Abkhazia For other uses see Sukhumi disambiguation Sukhumi Russian Suhu m i Sukhum i sʊˈxum ʲɪ or Sokhumi Georgian სოხუმი sɔxumi listen also known by its Abkhaz name Aqwa Abkhazian Aҟәa Aqwa 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 3 Sukhumi Aҟәa Abkhazian სოხუმი Georgian Suhum i Russian Sokhumi AqwaCityCollageCoat of armsSukhumiLocation of Sukhumi in AbkhaziaShow map of AbkhaziaSukhumiLocation of Sukhumi in GeorgiaShow map of GeorgiaCoordinates 43 00 12 N 41 00 55 E 43 00333 N 41 01528 E 43 00333 41 01528Country de jure GeorgiaCountry de facto Partially recognized State Abkhazia 1 Settled6th century BCCity Status1848Government MayorBeslan EshbaArea Total27 km2 10 sq mi Highest elevation140 m 460 ft Lowest elevation5 m 16 ft Population 2018 Total65 439 2 Time zoneUTC 3 MSK Postal code384900Area code 7 840 22x xx xxVehicle registrationABHWebsitewww wbr sukhumcity wbr ru 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 4 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 Contents 1 Toponym 2 History 3 Population 3 1 Demographics 3 2 Religion 4 Culture 4 1 Main sights 4 2 Education 5 Climate 6 Administration 6 1 List of mayors 7 Transport 8 Notable people 9 International relations 9 1 Twin towns Sister cities 10 See also 11 References 12 Sources and external linksToponym EditThis section needs additional citations for verification Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed May 2017 Learn how and when to remove this template message In Georgian the city is known as სოხუმი Sokhumi or აყუ Aqu 5 in Megrelian as აყუჯიხა Aqujikha 6 and in Russian as Suhum Sukhum or Suhumi Sukhumi The toponym Sokhumi derives from the Georgian word Tskhomi Tskhumi meaning hornbeam in Svan language 7 It is significant that dia in several dialects of Georgian and in Mingrelian means mother and skuri means water 7 better source needed In Abkhaz the city is known as Aҟәa Aqwa which according to native tradition signifies water 8 Medieval Georgian sources knew the town as Tskhumi ცხუმი 9 10 11 Later under Ottoman control the town was known in Turkish as Suhum Kale which was derived from the earlier Georgian form Tskhumi or read to mean Tskhumi fortress 12 13 Tskhumi in turn is supposed to be derived from the Svan language word for hornbeam tree The ending i in the above forms represents the Georgian nominative suffix The town was officially called Suhum Sukhum in Russian until 16 August 1936 when this was changed to Suhumi Sukhumi citation needed This remained so until 4 December 1992 when the Supreme Council of Abkhazia restored the original version citation needed Russia also readopted its official spelling in 2008 14 though Suhumi 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 United Nations 15 Encyclopaedia Britannica 16 MSN Encarta 17 Esri 18 and Google Maps 19 History Edit Coin of Dioscurias late 2nd century BC Obverse The caps pilei of Dioscuri surmounted by stars reverse Thyrsos DIOSKOYRIADOS 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 Dioskoyrias 20 21 The city is said to have been founded 22 23 and named by the Dioscuri the twins Castor and Pollux of classical mythology According to another legend it was founded by Amphitus and Cercius of Sparta the charioteers of the Dioscuri 24 25 The Greek pottery found in Eshera further north along the coast predates findings in the area of Sukhumi bay by a century suggesting that the centre of the original Greek settlement could have been there 26 It became busily engaged in the commerce between Greece and the indigenous tribes importing salt 27 and wares from many parts of Greece and exporting local timber linen and hemp It was also a prime center of slave trade in Colchis 28 The city and its surroundings were remarkable for the multitude of languages spoken in its bazaars 29 Although the sea made serious inroads upon the territory of Dioscurias it continued to flourish and became one of the key cities in the realm of Mithridates VI of Pontus in the 2nd century BC and supported his cause until the end Dioscurias issued bronze coinage around 100 BC featuring the symbols of the Dioskuri and Dionysus 30 Under the Roman emperor Augustus the city assumed the name of Sebastopolis 31 Greek Sebastoypolis 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 32 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 According to Gregory of Nyssa there were Christians in the city in the late 4th century 33 In 542 the Romans evacuated the town and demolished its citadel to prevent it from being captured by Sasanian Empire 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 34 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 Early in the 14th century the Genoese established their short lived trading factory in Tskhumi and a Catholic bishopric existed there which is now a titular see 35 The city of Tskhumi became the summer residence of the Georgian kings According to Russian scholar V Sizov it became an important cultural and administrative center of the Georgian state 36 A Later Tskhumi served as capital of the Odishi Megrelian rulers it was in this city that Vamek I c 1384 1396 the most influential Dadiani minted his coins 37 The Sohum Kale fort in the early 19th century Documents of the 15th century clearly distinguished Tskhumi from Principality of Abkhazia 38 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 34 Sukhumi Botanical Garden 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 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 120 000 inhabitants and was one of the most prosperous cities of Georgia Many holiday dachas for Soviet leaders were situated there Sukhumi in 1912 Early color photo by Sergei Prokudin Gorskii 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 39 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 A relatively large infrastructure reconstruction program was launched in 2019 2020 focusing on the renovation of the waterfront rebuilding city roads and cleaning city parks citation needed Its population in 2017 was 65 716 compared to about 120 000 in 1989 During summer holidays season its population usually doubles and triples with a large inflow of international tourists 40 Population EditDemographics Edit Historic population figures for Sukhumi split out by ethnicity based on population censuses 41 Year Abkhaz Armenians Estonians Georgians Greeks Russians Turkish Ukrainians Total1897 Census 1 8 144 13 5 1 083 0 4 32 30 9 2 565 14 3 1 143 21 1 1 685 2 7 216 7 9981926 Census 3 1 658 9 4 2 023 0 3 63 23 3 5 036 10 7 2 298 23 7 5 104 10 4 2 234 21 5681939 Census 5 5 2 415 9 8 4 322 0 5 206 19 9 8 813 11 3 4 990 41 9 18 580 4 6 2 033 44 2991959 Census 5 6 3 647 10 5 6 783 31 1 20 110 4 9 3 141 36 8 23 819 4 3 2 756 64 7301979 Census 9 9 10 766 10 9 11 823 38 3 41 507 6 5 7 069 26 4 28 556 3 4 3 733 108 3371989 Census 12 5 14 922 10 3 12 242 41 5 49 460 21 6 25 739 119 1502003 Census 56 3 24 603 12 7 5 565 0 1 65 4 0 1 761 1 5 677 16 9 8 902 1 6 712 43 7162011 Census 67 3 42 603 9 8 6 192 2 8 1 755 1 0 645 14 8 9 288 62 914Religion Edit Most of the inhabitants belong to the Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic Churches Islam and the Abkhaz traditional religion Culture EditMain sights Edit Sukhumi theatres which offer classical and modern performances with the theatre season lasting from September to June Several galleries and museums exhibit modern and historical Abkhaz visual art Sukhumi Botanical Garden was established in 1840 and is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the Caucasus 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 Kelasuri Wall also known as Great Abkhazian Wall constructed between 1628 and 1653 by Levan II Dadiani to protect his fiefdom from the Abkhaz tribes 42 the 14th century Genoese fort and the 18th century Ottoman fortress The 11th century Kamani Monastery 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 Krubera Cave one of the deepest in the world with a depth of 2 140 meters 43 Education Edit The city hosts a number of research and educational institutions including the Abkhazian State University the Sukhumi Open Institute and about a half a dozen of vocational education colleges From 1945 to 1954 the city s electron physics laboratory was involved in the Soviet program to develop nuclear weapons Additionally the Abkhaz State Archive is located in the city Until 19th century young people from Abkhazia usually received their education mainly at religious schools Muslims at Madrasas and Christians at Seminaries although a small number of children from wealthy families had opportunity to travel to foreign countries for education The first modern educational institutions both schools and colleges were established in the late 19th early 20th century and rapidly grew until the second half of the 20th century For example the number of college students grew from few dozens in the 1920s to several thousands in the 1980s According to the official statistical data Abkhazia has 12 TVET colleges as of 2019 est providing education and vocational training to youth mostly in the capital city though there are several colleges in all major district centers Independent international assessments suggest that these colleges train in about 20 different specialties attracting between 1200 and 1500 young people annually aged between 16 and 29 as of 2019 est 44 The largest colleges are as follows citation needed Abkhaz Multiindustrial College 1959 from 1959 to 1999 Sukhumi Trade and Culinary School Sukhumi State College 1904 from 1904 to 1921 Sukhumi Real School from 1921 to 1999 Sukhumi Industrial Technical School Sukhumi Art College 1934 from 1934 to 1966 Sukhimi Art Studio This college is also a home for a relatively large collection of local paintings and sculptures accumulated mainly during past 60 years Sukhum Medical College 1931 Higher education in Sukhumi currently is represented by one university Abkhazian State University 45 which has a special status in the education system in Abkhazia and it manages its own budget 46 Abkhaz State University 1979 has its own campus which is a home for 42 departments organized into 8 faculties providing education to about 3300 students as of 2019 est 44 Climate EditSukhumi has a humid subtropical climate Koppen Cfa that is almost cool enough in summer to be an oceanic climate Climate data for SukhumiMonth Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec YearAverage high C F 10 0 50 0 10 7 51 3 12 8 55 0 16 8 62 2 20 4 68 7 24 2 75 6 26 5 79 7 26 8 80 2 24 1 75 4 20 3 68 5 15 6 60 1 12 0 53 6 18 3 65 0 Average low C F 2 2 36 0 2 7 36 9 4 5 40 1 8 3 46 9 12 2 54 0 16 2 61 2 19 0 66 2 18 6 65 5 14 8 58 6 10 4 50 7 6 6 43 9 3 9 39 0 10 0 49 9 Average precipitation mm inches 102 4 0 76 3 0 102 4 0 102 4 0 92 3 6 89 3 5 83 3 3 107 4 2 120 4 7 114 4 5 104 4 1 108 4 3 1 199 47 2 Average rainy days 17 15 16 15 12 11 10 10 10 12 16 16 160Source 1 climatebase ru 47 Source 2 Georgia Travel Climate Information 48 Administration EditOn 2 February 2000 President Ardzinba dismissed temporary Mayor Leonid Osia and appointed Leonid Lolua in his stead 49 Lolua was reappointed on 10 May 2001 following the March 2001 local elections 50 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 51 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 52 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 53 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 54 On 4 June Adleiba paid back to the municipal budget 200 000 rubels 55 and on 23 July he resigned from the Sukhumi city council citing health reasons and the need to travel abroad for medical treatment 56 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 57 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 58 Since Adleiba was now a member of the city assembly president Bagapsh could permanently appoint him Mayor of Sukhumi on 18 September 59 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 60 Kharazia won the 4 April 2015 by election to the City Council in constituency no 3 unopposed 61 and was confirmed as mayor by Khajimba on 4 May 62 The 6th convocation of the Sukhumi City Council was elected 13 April 2016 List of mayors Edit Name From Until President CommentsChairmen of the executive committee of the City Soviet Vladimir Mikanba 1975 63 1985 63 D Gubaz lt 1989 gt 1989Nodar Khashba 1991 63 First timeGuram Gabiskiria 1992 27 September 1993Heads of the City Administration Nodar Khashba 1993 63 26 November 1994 Second time26 November 1994 1995 63 Vladislav ArdzinbaGarri Aiba 1995 2000Leonid Osia 2 February 2000 49 Acting MayorLeonid Lolua 2 February 2000 49 5 November 2004 51 Adgur Kharazia 5 November 2004 51 16 February 2005 52 Acting Mayor first timeAstamur Adleiba 16 February 2005 52 2 May 2007 54 Sergei BagapshAnzor Kortua May 2007 15 May 2007 Acting MayorAlias Labakhua 15 May 2007 29 May 201129 May 2011 1 June 2014 Alexander Ankvab1 June 2014 22 October 2014 Valeri BganbaAdgur Kharazia 22 October 2014 Present Raul Khajimba Second timeTransport Edit Railway station The city is served by several trolleybus and bus routes Sukhumi is connected to other Abkhazian towns by bus routes citation needed There is a railway station in Sukhumi that has a daily train to Moscow via Sochi 64 Babushara Airport now handles only local flights due to the disputed status of Abkhazia citation needed Notable people EditNotable people who are from or have resided in Sukhumi Anton Alikhanov 1986 present Russian politician governor of Kaliningrad Oblast Alexander Ankvab 1952 present Abkhaz politician and businessman Prime Minister of Abkhazia Beslan Ajinjal 1974 present is a former Russian footballer Ruslan Ajinjal 1974 present is a former Russian Abkhazian footballer Otari Arshba 1955 present Russian politician and member of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Hadzhera Avidzba 1917 1997 Abkhazia s first professional pianist Meri Avidzba 1917 1986 Abkhaz female pilot who fought during the Great Patriotic War of 1942 1945 Verdicenan Achba 1825 1889 seventh wife of Sultan Abdulmejid I of the Ottoman Empire Sergei Bagapsh 1949 2011 Second President of the Republic of Abkhazia Guram Gabiskiria 1947 1993 Mayor of Sukhumi and National Hero of Georgia Demna Gvasalia 1981 present Georgian fashion designer Fazil Iskander 1929 2016 Russian writer and poet Sergey Kiriyenko 1962 present Russian politician First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration of Russia Vera Kobalia 1981 present Georgian politician Daur Kove 1979 present current Minister for Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia Kokkai Futoshi 1981 present former professional sumo wrestler International relations EditSee also List of twin towns and sister cities in Georgia Twin towns Sister cities Edit Sukhumi is twinned with the following cities Ufa Russia citation needed Krasnodar Russia citation needed Tiraspol Transnistria Moldova citation needed Cherkessk Russia citation needed Podolsk Russia 65 Volgograd Russia citation needed Grozny Russia citation needed Stepanakert Artsakh Azerbaijan disputed citation needed Arkhangelsk Russia 66 Nizhny Novgorod Russia citation needed Sant Antioco Italy 67 68 Side Turkey 69 See also Edit Abkhazia portal Sukhumi District List of twin towns and sister cities in GeorgiaReferences Edit Abkhazia is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Abkhazia and Georgia The Republic of Abkhazia unilaterally declared independence on 23 July 1992 but Georgia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory and designates it as a territory occupied by Russia Abkhazia has received formal recognition as an independent state from 7 out of 193 United Nations member states 1 of which has subsequently withdrawn its recognition Gosudarstvennyj komitet Respubliki Abhaziya po statistike International Black Sea Club members Archived from the original on 22 July 2011 Retrieved 30 May 2008 Hoiberg Dale H ed 2010 Abkhazia Encyclopedia Britannica I A ak Bayes 15th ed Chicago IL Encyclopedia Britannica Inc pp 33 ISBN 978 1 59339 837 8 Abkhaz Loans in Megrelian p 65 Otar Kajaia 2001 2004 Megrelian Georgian Dictionary entry aq ujixa a b Assays from the history of Georgia Abkhazia from ancient times to the present day Tbilisi Georgia Intelect 2011 ISBN 978 9941 410 69 7 Colarusso John More Pontic Further Etymologies between 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November 2004 Retrieved 1 July 2008 a b c Ukaz Prezidenta Abhazii 5 ot 16 02 2005 Administraciya Prezidenta Respubliki Abhaziya 16 February 2005 Archived from the original on 21 July 2011 Retrieved 1 July 2008 Prezident Sergej Bagapsh podpisal ukazy o naznachenii glav gorodskih i rajonnyh administracij Apsnypress 20 March 2007 Archived from the original on 26 October 2007 Retrieved 1 July 2008 a b Abkhazia s anti corruption drive Institute for War amp Peace Reporting 20 March 2007 Retrieved 20 January 2012 Eks mer Suhumi vernul v byudzhet dvesti tysyach rublej REGNUM 5 June 2007 Retrieved 2 July 2008 Eks mer Suhuma nameren pokinut Stolichnoe gorodskoe Sobranie Administraciya Prezidenta Respubliki Abhaziya 23 July 2007 Archived from the original on 21 July 2011 Retrieved 2 July 2008 Zamestitelem glavy administracii stolicy Abhazii naznachen Vadim Cherkeziya Caucasian Knot 27 May 2007 Retrieved 18 April 2012 ALIAS LABAHUA IZBRAN DEPUTATOM GORODSKOGO SOBRANIYa SUHUMA Apsnypress 3 September 2007 Archived from the original on 28 October 2007 Retrieved 2 July 2008 SERGEJ BAGAPSh PODPISAL UKAZ O NAZNAChENII ALIASA LABAHUA GLAVOJ ADMINISTRACII GORODA SUHUM Apsnypress 18 September 2007 Archived from the original on 31 October 2007 Retrieved 2 July 2008 Adgur Haraziya naznachen ispolnyayushim obyazannosti glavy administracii g Suhum Apsnypress 22 October 2014 Archived from the original on 22 October 2014 Retrieved 22 October 2014 Itogi vyborov alhra org Izbiratelnaya komissiya po vyboram v organy mestnogo samoupravleniya g Suhum Archived from the original on 8 December 2015 Retrieved 19 September 2015 Khajimba Raul UKAZ O glave administracii goroda Suhum PDF presidentofabkhazia org Retrieved 19 September 2015 a b c d e Lakoba Stanislav Kto est kto v Abhazii Archived from the original on 12 May 2013 Retrieved 20 January 2012 RZD 1 14 08 2020 Sajt Administracii g Podolska Pobratimy Admpodolsk ru 15 June 2016 Archived from the original on 10 July 2015 Retrieved 26 June 2016 Novosti Apsnypress info Archived from the original on 25 June 2011 Retrieved 26 June 2016 12 maya mezhdu gorodami Abhazii i Italii byli podpisany Protokoly o druzhbe i sotrudnichestve Mfaapsny org Archived from the original on 4 December 2014 Retrieved 26 June 2016 Il Sulcis rafforza il legame con i paesi dell Est europeo sottoscritto questa sera un protocollo d amicizia con l Abkhcazia Laprovinciadelsulcisiglesiente com 9 April 2013 Retrieved 26 June 2016 Viacheslav Chirikba Our goal is to remove Abkhazia from international isolation Abkhaz World 25 November 2012 Retrieved 30 May 2021 Sources and external links EditWikimedia Commons has media related to Sukhumi Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Sukhumi GigaCatholic for the titular see linking to incumbent biographies UNOMIG photo gallery of Sukhumi News from FM Radio Abkhazia Coordinates 43 00 N 41 01 E 43 000 N 41 017 E 43 000 41 017 Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Sukhumi amp oldid 1054239897, wikipedia, 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