Culture of Abkhazia

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Abkhazia (Abkhazian: Аҧсны Apsny, Georgian: აფხაზეთი Apkhazeti or Abkhazeti, Russian: Абха́зия Abkhazia) is a de facto independent,[1][2][3][4] partially recognised country lying on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, its southern border. It is bordered by Russia to the north, and Georgia to the east[5][6] recognised by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and the de facto independent republics of South Ossetia and Transnistria,[7] in which context it is referred to as the Republic of Abkhazia with Sukhumi as its capital.


The population (including all ethnic groups) of Abkhazia are majority Orthodox Christians and Sunni Muslims.[8] Most of the ethnic Armenians living in Abkhazia belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church. However, most of the people who declare themselves Christian or Muslim do not attend religious services. There is also a very small number of Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses and the followers of new religions.[9] The Jehovah's Witnesses organization has officially been banned since 1995, though the decree is not currently enforced.[10]

According to the constitutions of Georgia, Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia and de facto Republic of Abkhazia the adherents of all religions (as well as atheists) have equal rights before the law.[11]

Abkhazia is recognized by the Eastern Orthodox world as a canonical territory of the Georgian Orthodox Church, which has been unable to operate in the region since the War in Abkhazia. Currently, the religious affairs of local Orthodox Christian community is run by the self-imposed "Eparchy of Abkhazia" under significant influence of the Russian Orthodox Church.


Children in Abkhazia begin their education at the age of 6, and graduate at 17. Abkhazia currently has one university, Abkhazian State University[12], which contains eight faculties and forty-one departments[13].


Football was the most popular sport in Abkhazia during Soviet times. The main club of the republic, Dinamo Sukhumi, played mostly in the lower leagues of Soviet football. However, Abkhazia produced several football talents who played in the top Georgian team FC Dinamo Tbilisi and in other Soviet teams. Natives of Abkhazia Vitaly Daraselia, Nikita (Mkrtych) Simonian, Avtandil Gogoberidze, Niyazbey Dzyapshipa, Giorgi Gavasheli, Temuri Ketsbaia and Akhrik Tsveiba were among the most prominent footballers of the Soviet Union.[citation needed] In 2016 Abkhazia hosted and won the ConIFA World Football Cup.[14][15]

The majority of Abkhazia's population have Russian citizenship so Abkhazian sportsmen participate in international competitions as Russian citizens. They had their biggest successes in boxing (2005 European Champion David Arshba;[16] 2006 Russian Championship prize-winner Aslan Akhba) and freestyle wrestling (2006 American Airlines Freestyle Wrestling Tournament winner Denis Tsargush[17]).

National Basketball Team of Abkhazia played its first game with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Basketball team on 27 May 2015, which Abkhaz team won by 76-59. [18] Abkhaz basketball team "Apsny" also plays in the Russian Basketball League's Third-Tier in Krasnodar Krai.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Olga Oliker, Thomas S. Szayna. Faultlines of Conflict in Central Asia and the South Caucasus: Implications for the U.S. Army. Rand Corporation, 2003, ISBN 0-8330-3260-7
  2. ^ Abkhazia: ten years on. By Rachel Clogg, Conciliation Resources, 2001
  3. ^ Training of military operations underway in Abkhazia Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine, 21 August 2007
  4. ^ Emmanuel Karagiannis. Energy and Security in the Caucasus. Routledge, 2002. ISBN 0-7007-1481-2
  5. ^ GuardianUnlimited. Georgia up in arms over Olympic cash
  6. ^ International Relations and Security Network. Kosovo wishes in Caucasus. By Simon Saradzhyan
  7. ^ "Абхазия, Южная Осетия и Приднестровье признали независимость друг друга и призвали всех к этому же". Newsru. 2006-11-17. Retrieved 2008-08-26.
  8. ^ Flashpoints Site Directory. Abkhazia-Georgia Archived 2009-08-09 at the Library of Congress Web Archives
  9. ^ Александр Крылов. ЕДИНАЯ ВЕРА АБХАЗСКИХ "ХРИСТИАН" И "МУСУЛЬМАН". Особенности религиозного сознания в современной Абхазии.
  10. ^ Georgia: International Religious Freedom Report 2005. The United States Department of State. Retrieved on 24 May 2007.
  11. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Abkhazia, art. 12 Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  12. ^ Abkhazian State University on Abkhazian Chamber of Commerce website
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2019-02-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) (in Russian)
  14. ^ Rayhan Demytrie (2 June 2016). "A World Cup for unrecognised states". BBC News. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  15. ^ "A World Cup for countries that are not actually countries". The Economist. 6 June 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  16. ^ Official site of the Boxing Federation of Russia
  17. ^ The official website of USA wrestling
  18. ^

External links[edit]