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 capital Sukhumi is
also the country's major port. Presumably aids to navigation in Abkhazia
are to be maintained by the Port Authority of Sukhumi but it is not clear which of them, if any, are active.
Special thanks to Radek Literski, who toured the Abkhazian coast in 2014 searching for the listed lights. His online report is an invaluable guide.
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 N of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog
Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 113. Note: since Abkhazia's independence is not recognized, the international light lists continue to list Abkhazian lighthouses under Georgia.
- General Sources
- Lighthouses in Georgia
- Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia (includes Abkhazia).
- World of Lighthouses - Abkhazia
- Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
- Latarnie Abchazji
- Photos taken in 2014 by Radek Literski. Text in Polish.
- Online List of Lights - Georgia
- Coming soon: photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
- Lighthouses of the USSR - Azov and Black Seas
- Nothing here yet, but hopefully this webmaster will be adding information on the lighthouses.
- 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.
Pitsunda Light, April 2008
Panoramio Creative Common photo by
- Ochamchire District Lighthouses
- Ochamchire (Ochamchira, Ochamchirskiy)
- Date unknown. Probably inactive; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white flash
every 3 s. 18 m (59 ft) white skeletal tower. No photo available; Google's satellite view suggests the tower is a skeletal mast. Located about 5 km (3 mi) south of Ochamchire, a small port in eastern Abkhazia. Site status unknown. Admiralty N5742; NGA 19236.
- Ochamchire (Ochamchira) Point Range Rear
- Date unknown. Active(?); focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off. 15 m (49 ft) white skeletal tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Ochamchira is a small town in eastern Abkhazia; it has an artificially dredged port. Located in the port area. Site status unknown. Admiralty N5738.1; NGA 19234.1.
Gulripshi District Lighthouse
- Mys Kodori (2?)
- Date unknown (station established 1899). Probably inactive; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); red flash
every 5 s. Square skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark
painted white with a black vertical stripe. No photo available,
the tower has not been found in Bing's satellite view of the listed location, and Literski was blocked from reaching this area. Located on a headland near Gulripsh,
about 20 km (13 mi) southeast of Sukhumi. Site closed. Admiralty N5734; NGA 19228.
Sukhumi District Lighthouses
- * 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. Literski has a closeup photo (3/4 the way down the page), Maxim Bityutsky has a closeup street view, and Google has a satellite view. Google also 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; Literski has a closeup photo (2/3 the way down the page). The pierhead 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 N5727; 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 right, Literski has several photos (halfway down the page), Katya Borisova has a 2017 photo, Anton Opolsky has a closeup, Huelse has a historic postcard
view, and Google has a satellite view. Obviously endangered. 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. Literski had difficulty finding the lighthouse, so local guidance may be needed. Site open, tower
closed. ARLHS GEO-003; Admiralty N5726; 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.
Google's satellite view shows a high-rise former Soviet sports center, now in ruins, that was probably the location of the light. Litersky has a photo (#6 on his page), but he found no evidence of an active light here. 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 N5725; NGA 19209.
Gudauta District Lighthouses
- * 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.
Litersky has a photo (#5 on his page), Sergey Vasechkin has a 2017 photo, Maxo Bigvava has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. Novy Afon (New Athos) is a historic Orthodox monastery,
now a branch of the Abkhazian state museum. Located near the Akhali Atoni beach in Psyrtskha,
about 22 km (14 mi) west of Sukhumi. Site status unknown, probably
open. Admiralty N5724.5; NGA 19206.
Sukhumi Light, August 2008
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Игорь C (Igor S.)
- * Souksu (Bambora, Gudauta)
- Date unknown (station established 1886). 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 but Google's satellite view shows tall buildings at the listed location. Litersky was not able to locate this light, if it exists. The light marks Mys (Cape) Souksu, about 3 km (2 mi) west
of Gudauta, near a military airfield. Site status unknown. Admiralty N5721; NGA 19200.
Gagra District Lighthouses
- * 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 popular beach resort and Eugene Pertsev's photo at the top of this page
shows how the lighthouse is now dwarfed by two high-rise hotels. A closeup and a 2013 photo are
available, Vyacheslav Argenberg's photo is at right,
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. Obviously endangered. 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 clamshell Fresnel lens is in use. Vyacheslav Argenberg's photo is at right, a 2015 closeup is available, Lightphotos.net has a closeup of the lantern, and Google has a fuzzy satellite view. Located on the west side of the historic lighthouse. Site open, tower
closed. Admiralty N5718; 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. Litersky has a distant view (first photo on the page), and Bing has a 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 N5706; NGA 19172.
New (left) and old Pitsunda Lights, 2004
Flickr Creative Common photo by
- #Gyachripsh (Leselidze)
- Date unknown. Apparently demolished. 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." Litersky was told that the light does not exist any more and a hotel has been built on its former location. 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. Admiralty N5700; NGA 19168.
Information available on lost lighthouses:
Notable faux lighthouses:
Adjoining pages: East: Georgia | West: Russia
Eastern Black Sea
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Posted May 2, 2008. Checked and revised June 5, 2019. Lighthouses:
12. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at