Lighthouses of Abkhazia
Abkhazia is an autonomous republic on the northeastern
coast of the Black Sea. The country has a complicated history and an
uncertain status. The Abkhaz people resisted incorporation into the Russian
Empire, which did not subdue the region until the 1840s. Under the Soviet
Union, Abkhazia was recognized as an autonomous republic, initially under
direct control from Moscow. In 1931, Stalin attached Abkhazia to the
Soviet Republic of Georgia, but again as an autonomous republic. After
Georgia regained its independence in 1991, Abkhazia revolted against
Georgian rule. A bitter struggle in 1992-93 led to Abkhazia becoming
state, guarded by Russian peacekeeping troops. The independence of Abkhazia
from Georgia is not recognized internationally.
The lighthouses of Abkhazia have been neglected during this turmoil,
and it is not clear which of them are active. The capital, Sukhumi, is
also the country's major port. Presumably, aids to navigation in Abkhazia
are maintained by the Port Authority of Sukhumi.
The Abkhaz language is written in a modified Cyrillic alphabet. The Abkhaz word for a lighthouse is caymzarkyra (цәымзаркыра).
ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS
World List of Lights. Admiralty
numbers are from volume E of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog
Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 113.
- General Sources
- Lighthouses in Georgia
- Photos available from Wikimedia (includes Abkhazia).
- Russische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
- Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse; Abkhazian lighthouses are in the Georgian section near the bottom of the page.
Sukhumi Light, August 2008
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Игорь C (Igor S.)
- Mys Kodori
- Date unknown. Probably inactive; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); red flash
every 5 s. Square skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark. Daymark
painted white with a black vertical stripe. No photo available, and
view does not reveal the tower. Located on a headland near Gulripsh,
about 20 km (13 mi) southeast of Sukhumi. Site status unknown. Admiralty
E5734; NGA 19228.
- * Sukhumi Passenger Pier (Middle Pier) Range Front (2?)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); continuous green light. Post light and a pentagonal daymark mounted on the roof of a 2-story pierhead building. A 2008 photo is available, but Google's satellite view shows the pier before the present building was built. Google has a satellite view of the rear light, a mast at the bend in the pier 120 m (395 ft) north of the front light. The building appears to include a restaurant. Located at the end of the middle pier in downtown Sukhumi. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open and building open. Admiralty E5727; NGA 19214.
- * Sukhumi
- 1864. Reactivated (inactive 2000-2008); focal plane 37 m (121 ft);
white light, 3 s on, 3 s off, 3 s on, 6 s off. 34 m (111 ft) round
cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. The modern light is mounted on the front of the historic lantern. A photo is
at the top of this page, a good closeup
is available, there's a distant view
of the lighthouse on the cape, Huelse has a historic postcard
view, and Google has a satellite
view. This lighthouse was prefabricated in France by the firm
of Ernest Couin. The Russian article says the lighthouse has resumed
operation, apparently with a small light mounted in front of the
historic lantern. A page posted by the local tourist agency says that the original Fresnel lens was seized by Turkish troops in 1877, during the Russo-Turkish War; a replacement lens was mounted after the war. Located on the point of Mys (Cape) Sukhumi, about
4 km (2.4 mi) southwest of the center of the city. Site open, tower
closed. ARLHS GEO-003; Admiralty E5726; NGA 19212.
- Date unknown. Probably inactive; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white
light, 2 s on, 4 s off. Light mounted atop a 27 m (89 ft) building.
No photo available shows the light, and Google has only a fuzzy satellite
view of this area. A photo shows a 10-story former sports center that is probably the site of the light. Eshera is the site of a principal base for
the Russian peacekeeping troops in Abkhazia. Located about 8 km (5
mi) west of Sukhumi. Site status unknown. Admiralty E5725; NGA 19209.
- * Psyrtskha (Novy Afon)
- Date unknown. Probably inactive; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white
light, 4 s on, 2 s off. Light mounted atop a 22 m (72 ft) building.
No photo available. Novy Afon (New Athos) is a historic Orthodox monastery,
now a branch of the Abkhazian state museum. Located in Psyrtskha,
about 22 km (14 mi) west of Sukhumi. Site status unknown, probably
open. Admiralty E5724.5; NGA 19206.
- * Souksu (Bambora)
- Date unknown. Probably inactive; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); white
flash every 3 s. Lantern mounted atop a 35 m (115 ft) building. No photo
available, and Google's satellite view does not reveal a suitable building. This light marks Mys (Cape) Souksu, about 3 km (2 mi) west
of Gudauta, near a military airfield. Site status unknown. Admiralty E5721; NGA 19200.
- * Pitsunda (2)
- 1902 (station established 1891). Inactive. 31 m (101 ft) square pyramidal
cast iron skeletal tower with lantern, gallery, and central cylinder.
Entire lighthouse painted white. Pitsunda, in western Abkhazia, has
become a very popular beach resort, and Eugene Pertsev's photo at right
shows how the lighthouse is now dwarfed by two high-rise hotels. A closeup is
available, Vyacheslav Argenberg has a photo,
another photo taken
from the 15th floor of one of the hotels shows heavy rust on the lantern,
Huelse has a historic postcard
view, and Google has a fuzzy satellite
view. Located on the point of Mys (Cape) Pitsunda. Site open, tower
closed. ARLHS GEO-002.
- * Pitsunda (3)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 50
m (164 ft); two white flashes every 10.2 s. Octagonal lantern mounted at the south end of a 15-story building. A photo and a second photo show both Pitsunda lighthouses, and a closeup of the lantern is available (about 3/4 the way down the page). Located on the west side of the historic lighthouse. Site open, tower
closed. Admiralty E5718; NGA 19192.
- * Gagrinskiy
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 87 m (285 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 21 m (69 ft) building topped by a square lantern room. A photo is available, but clouds obscure Google's satellite view. The building appears to be a resort hotel; Gagra has been a resort town since the 1880s. Located about 25 km (15 mi) east of the Russian border. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty E5706; NGA 19172.
- * Gyachripsh (Leselidze)
- Date unknown. Possibly active; focal plane 29 m (95 ft); red light, 1.5
s on, 3 s off. 24 m (79 ft) "lantern on white chimney with ladder and
platform," according to NGA; the Admiralty describes the light as being on a "white metal pole with external staircase." A photo
and a Google satellite
view may show the tower; if so, it is an abandoned water tower. Gyachripsh
is a resort town just east of the Russian border. The town was renamed Leselidze
in 1944 in honor of a Soviet general; it resumed its historic name in 1992.
Site status unknown, probably open. Admiralty E5700; NGA 19168.
Pitsunda Light, April 2008
Panoramio Creative Common photo by
Information available on lost lighthouses:
Notable faux lighthouses:
Adjoining pages: East: Georgia | West: Russia
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Posted May 2, 2008. Checked and revised August 15, 2012. Lighthouses:
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