The Republic of Abkhazia (Apsny) is a sovereign, democratic, law-governed state, historically established by the people's right to free self-determination. The capital is 2500-year-old Sukhum.
Abkhazia is located in the northwestern part of Transcaucasia between the rivers Psou and Ingur, in the southwest it is washed by the Black Sea. The length of the coastline is more than 210 kilometers. Mountains occupy 64% of the territory. Forests cover 57% of the territory. In the north and northeast, the Republic of Abkhazia borders with Russia and in the southeast and south with Georgia.
The climate of Abkhazia is determined by its position near the sea, coupled with the presence of high mountain ranges. On the coast, the climate is humid subtropical. The average annual temperature is +15 °C.
The history of Sukhum began more than two and a half thousand years ago, when the first colonists from the ancient Greek city of Miletus landed on the shore of the Sukhum Bay. They founded the port city of Dioscuria on this site. In different historical periods, it was under the rule of the Romans, Byzantines, Genoese, and later the Turks. In the first centuries of our era, due to a series of earthquakes, the ancient Dioscuria almost completely went under water. However, the northern outskirts of the city remained unflooded. It was here that the Romans built the fortress of Sebastopolis, where they stationed their legions. Already in the Middle Ages, the fortress of Sebastopolis was renamed the Sukhum-Kale by the Turks. The ancient Abkhazian name of the place, Akua, has survived to this day.
Abkhazia is a multinational Republic with more than 240 thousand people. Abkhazians are one of the oldest ethnic groups in the Caucasus.
Orthodoxy, Sunni Islam are professed in Abkhazia, many adhere to the traditional Abkhazian religion. On the territory of the Republic there are seven sanctuaries (Abkh. Абжьныха), revered within the framework of the traditional religion of the Abkhazians. Along with the national sanctuaries, at which historically relevant ceremonies were held, each family had tribal forges – ажьира.
Christianity came to Abkhazia in the 1st century, it was preached in the Abkhazian land by the Apostles Andrew the First-Called and Simon the Zealot. Pitiunt (now Pitsunda) was the first hearth of the Christian faith in the Caucasus and the center of its further spread. In the 4th century, a church community arose here, headed by Bishop Saphronius. In 325, Bishop Stratophilus of Pitiunt participated in the First Ecumenical Council - the cathedral of the Church, convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in the city of Nicaea (now Iznik, Turkey).
Over 20 centuries, more than 140 temples were built on the territory of Abkhazia. Many of them have been preserved and are open to the public, many of which are used for worship.
Islam first came to Abkhazia at the end of the 7th century, but more thoroughly established itself by the end of the 18th century, when the influence of Ottoman Turkey was strong in the country. According to a sociological survey in 2003, 16% of the country's residents consider themselves Muslims.
Over the centuries, the Abkhazians have created their own unique culture, which is based on the folk moral and ethical code of "apsuara", literally "Abkhazism".
Culture and language
The richness of the national culture of Abkhazia is poetic and musical folklore, music, folk dances. The national language as the foundation of culture is represented by the Abzhuy and Bzyb dialects. The literary language of the Abkhazians is based on the Abzhuy dialect; writing is on the Cyrillic alphabet. Culture and traditions are mostly close and related to the culture and traditions of the North Caucasian peoples: Abaza, Adygs, Kabardians, Circassians, Ubykhs. Linguistically, they all constitute a single Abkhaz-Adyg group of the Caucasian family of languages.
Form of state government
The Republic of Abkhazia is a presidential republic. The head of state, the president, is elected for five years.
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