“Tourists are taken here as on an excursion, they say our city is a ghost town, that no one lives here. Then I’m a ghost, too, is that it?” Said one of the local residents of the city of Tkuarchal, whom we met when we were waiting for a bus to Sukhum in the evening.
On my birthday, I decided to go hitchhiking with friends to visit both the city of Tkuarchal and the village nearby, called Akarmara.
The echoes of the Georgian-Abkhazian war (August 1992-September 1993) are here at every turn.
Akarmara was a former mining village in Abkhazia, which was formed in 1938. In the early 1990s, the population was about 5 thousand people. This village was badly damaged by the war. The artillery siege of Akarmara lasted 413 days. At this time, the locals were starving, and many of them were killed. Those people who fled the war have not returned to their homeland. During the war, almost all industrial infrastructure was destroyed, many structures were destroyed by shelling, and roads were damaged by bombs. At the moment, we have been informed that there are now 8 families living in Akarmar, about 30 people.
In Tkuarchal, the situation is better, we observed that there are at least some signs of life there.
A local resident said that now the city is home to about 3,500 people (in Soviet times, there were about 40 thousand). The city of Tkuarchal was also under siege throughout the war, and most of the buildings were destroyed. In 2008, the city of Tkuarchal was awarded the title of hero city.
As soon as the driver took us to the city (he grew up in Tkuarchal, then moved to Sukhum with his family), the city met us with a dilapidated industrial zone on both sides. Before this trip, I watched a lot of pictures from this place, and dreamed of being here. Photos and videos are quite different, you just need to see with your own eyes in reality to admire the majestic overgrown abandoned buildings against the backdrop of mountain ranges.