Sukhumi
Overview
 

Sukhumi is the capital of Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

, a disputed region on the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 coast. The city suffered heavily during the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict
Georgian-Abkhaz conflict
The Georgian–Abkhazian conflict refers to the ethnic conflict between Georgians and Abkhazians in Abkhazia, which is presently a de facto independent partially recognized republic...

 in the early 1990s.
In Abkhaz, the city is known as (Aqwa) which according to native tradition signifies water. In Georgian, the city is known as (Sokhumi) or აყუ (Aqu), in Megrelian
Megrelian language
Mingrelian, or Megrelian , is a Kartvelian language spoken in Western Georgia , primarily by Georgians of Mingrelian origin. The language was also called Iverian in the early 20th century...

 as აყუჯიხა (Aqujikha), and in Russian as (Sukhum) or (Sukhumi).

The etymology of the name Sokhumi is disputed.
Encyclopedia

Sukhumi is the capital of Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

, a disputed region on the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 coast. The city suffered heavily during the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict
Georgian-Abkhaz conflict
The Georgian–Abkhazian conflict refers to the ethnic conflict between Georgians and Abkhazians in Abkhazia, which is presently a de facto independent partially recognized republic...

 in the early 1990s.

Naming

In Abkhaz, the city is known as (Aqwa) which according to native tradition signifies water. In Georgian, the city is known as (Sokhumi) or აყუ (Aqu), in Megrelian
Megrelian language
Mingrelian, or Megrelian , is a Kartvelian language spoken in Western Georgia , primarily by Georgians of Mingrelian origin. The language was also called Iverian in the early 20th century...

 as აყუჯიხა (Aqujikha), and in Russian as (Sukhum) or (Sukhumi).

The etymology of the name Sokhumi is disputed. The medieval Georgian sources knew the town as Tskhumi (ცხუმი). Later, under the Ottoman control, the town was known in Turkish as Suhum-Kale, which can be derived from the earlier Georgian form Tskhumi or can be read to mean 'water-sand fortress'. Tskhumi in turn is supposed to be derived from the Svan language
Svan language
The Svan language is a Kartvelian language spoken in the Western Georgian region of Svaneti primarily by the Georgians of Svan origin...

 word for 'hot', or the Georgian word for 'hornbeam
Hornbeam
Hornbeams are relatively small hardwood trees in the genus Carpinus . Though some botanists grouped them with the hazels and hop-hornbeams in a segregate family, Corylaceae, modern botanists place the hornbeams in the birch subfamily Coryloideae...

 tree'. The competing etymologies have been used as putative evidence in the argument over the ethnicity of Sukhumi's historical inhabitants.

The ending -i in the above forms represents the Georgian nominative-suffix. The town was initially officially described in Russian as (Sukhum), until 16 August 1936 when this was changed to (Sukhumi). This remained so until 4 December 1992, when the Supreme Council of Abkhazia restored the "original" version, that was approved in Russia in autumn 2008, even though is also still being used.

In English, the most common form today is Sukhumi, although Sokhumi is used as well by some sources, including Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
The Encyclopædia Britannica , published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia that is available in print, as a DVD, and on the Internet. It is written and continuously updated by about 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 expert...

and MSN Encarta

General information

Sukhumi is located on a wide bay of the eastern coast of the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 and serves as a port, rail junction and a holiday resort. It is known for its beaches, sanatoriums, mineral-water spas and semitropical climate. Sukhumi is also an important air link for Abkhazia as the Sukhumi Dranda Airport
Sukhumi Dranda Airport
Sukhumi Dranda Airport is the main airport of Abkhazia. It is alternatively known as Sukhum Babushara Airport. Both Dranda and Babushara are villages located nearby...

 is located nearby the city. Sukhumi contains a number of small-to-medium size hotels serving chiefly the Russian tourists. Sukhumi botanical garden
Sukhumi botanical garden
Sukhumi Botanical Garden is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the Caucasus. It was founded in 1840 as Sukhum-Kale Military-Botanical Garden by the head of the Russian Black Sea fortification line N. N. Rayevsky with the purpose of the introduction of new plants in the region...

 was established in 1840, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the Caucasus.

The city has a number of research institutes, the Abkhazian State University and the Sukhumi Branch of the Tbilisi State University
Tbilisi State University
Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University , better known as Tbilisi State University , is a university established on 8 February 1918 in Tbilisi, Georgia. TSU is the oldest university in the whole Caucasus region...

 (currently functioning in Tbilisi). In Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 times, it contained a renowned ape
Ape
Apes are Old World anthropoid mammals, more specifically a clade of tailless catarrhine primates, belonging to the biological superfamily Hominoidea. The apes are native to Africa and South-east Asia, although in relatively recent times humans have spread all over the world...

 breeding station. From 1945 to 1954 the city's electron physics laboratory was involved in the Soviet program to develop nuclear weapons.

The city is a member of the International Black Sea Club
International Black Sea Club
International Black Sea Club is an international non-governmental organisation uniting several cities on the Black Sea and in its vicinity. It has the status of Observer in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation organisation and the special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and...

.

History

The history of the city began in the mid-6th century BC when an earlier settlement of the second and early first millennia BC, frequented by local Colchian
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

 tribes, was replaced by the Milesian
Miletus
Miletus was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia , near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Caria...

 Greek colony of Dioscurias , geographically the remotest that Miletus ever established. The city is said to have been so named for the Dioscuri, the twins Castor and Pollux of classical mythology
Classical mythology
Classical mythology or Greco-Roman mythology is the cultural reception of myths from the ancient Greeks and Romans. Along with philosophy and political thought, mythology represents one of the major survivals of classical antiquity throughout later Western culture.Classical mythology has provided...

. It became busily engaged in the commerce between Greece and the indigenous tribes, importing wares from many parts of Greece, and exporting local salt and Caucasian
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 timber
Timber
Timber may refer to:* Timber, a term common in the United Kingdom and Australia for wood materials * Timber, Oregon, an unincorporated community in the U.S...

, linen
Linen
Linen is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant, Linum usitatissimum. Linen is labor-intensive to manufacture, but when it is made into garments, it is valued for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather....

, and hemp
Hemp
Hemp is mostly used as a name for low tetrahydrocannabinol strains of the plant Cannabis sativa, of fiber and/or oilseed varieties. In modern times, hemp has been used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food and fuel with modest...

. It was also a prime center of slave trade in Colchis. The city and its surroundings were remarkable for the multitude of languages spoken in its bazaars.

Although the sea made serious inroads upon the territory of Dioscurias, it continued to flourish until its conquest by Mithridates VI Eupator of Pontus
Pontus
Pontus or Pontos is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region in antiquity by the Greeks who colonized the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος...

 in the later 2nd century. Under the Roman emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

 Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 the city assumed the name of Sebastopolis . But its prosperity was past, and in the 1st century Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 described the place as virtually deserted though the town still continued to exist during the times of Arrian
Arrian
Lucius Flavius Arrianus 'Xenophon , known in English as Arrian , and Arrian of Nicomedia, was a Roman historian, public servant, a military commander and a philosopher of the 2nd-century Roman period...

 in the 130s. The remains of towers and walls of Sebastopolis have been found underwater; on land the lowest levels so far reached by archaeologists are of the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. In 542 the Romans evacuated the town and demolished its citadel to prevent it from being captured by Sassanid Iran. In 565, however, the emperor Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

 restored the fort and Sebastopolis continued to remain one of the Byzantine strongholds in Colchis until being sacked by the Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 conqueror Marwan II
Marwan II
Marwan ibn Muhammad ibn Marwan or Marwan II was an Umayyad caliph who ruled from 744 until 750 when he was killed. He was the last Umayyad ruler to rule from Damascus.In A.H. 114 Caliph Hisham appointed Marwan governor of Armenia and Azerbaijan. In A.H...

 in 736.

Afterwards, the town came to be known as Tskhumi. Restored by the kings of Abkhazia
Abkhazian Kingdom
The Kingdom of Abkhazia, also known as the Kingdom of the Abkhazes refers to an early medieval feudal state in the Caucasus which lasted from the 780s until being united, through dynastic succession, with the Kingdom of the Georgians in 1008.- Historiographical conundrum :Writing the kingdom’s...

 from the Arab devastation, it particularly flourished during Georgia’s "golden age" in the 12th-13th centuries, when Tskhumi became a center of traffic with the Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an maritime powers, particularly with the Republic of Genoa
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

. The Genoese established their short-lived trading factory at Tskhumi early in the 14th century.

The Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 navy occupied the town in 1451, but for a short time. Later contested between the princes of Abkhazia
Principality of Abkhazia
The Principality of Abkhazia emerged as a separate feudal entity in the 15th-16th centuries, amid the civil wars in the Kingdom of Georgia that concluded with the dissolution of the unified Georgian monarchy...

 and Mingrelia, Tskhumi finally fell to the Turks in the 1570s. The new masters heavily fortified the town and called it Sohumkale, with kale meaning "fort" but the first part of the name of disputed origin. It may represent Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 su, "water", and kum, "sand", but is more likely to be an alteration of its earlier Georgian name. At the request of the pro-Russian Abkhazian prince, the town was stormed by the Russian Marines
Russian Marines
The Russian Naval Infantry, are the amphibious force of the Russian Navy. The first Russian naval infantry force was formed in 1705, and since that time they have fought in the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, the Russo-Japanese War, and the First and Second World Wars...

 in 1810 and turned, subsequently, into their major outpost in the North West Caucasus. Sukhumi was declared the seaport in 1847 and was directly annexed to the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 after the ruling Shervashidze
Shervashidze
Shervashidze was a noble family in Abkhazia which, according to later sources, can be traced at least as far back as the twelfth century.Although this is quite clearly a Georgian form , the family is said to have derived from the Shirvanshahs, a dynasty of Shirvan in what is now Azerbaijan...

 princely dynasty was ousted by the Russian authorities in 1864. During the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–1878
Russo-Turkish War, 1877–1878
The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 was a conflict between the Ottoman Empire and the Eastern Orthodox coalition led by the Russian Empire and composed of numerous Balkan...

, the town was temporarily controlled by the Ottoman forces and Abkhaz-Adyghe
Adyghe people
The Adyghe or Adygs , also often known as Circassians or Cherkess, are in origin a North Caucasian ethnic groupwho were displaced in the course of the Russian conquest of the Caucasus in the 19th century, especially after the Russian–Circassian War of 1862.Adyghe people mostly speak Adyghe and most...

 rebels.

Following the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

, the town and Abkhazia in general were engulfed in the chaos of the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

. A short-lived Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 government was suppressed in May 1918 and Sukhumi was incorporated into the Democratic Republic of Georgia
Democratic Republic of Georgia
The Democratic Republic of Georgia , 1918–1921, was the first modern establishment of a Republic of Georgia.The DRG was created after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 as a residence of the autonomous People's Council of Abkhazia and the headquarters of the Georgian governor-general. The Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 and the local revolutionaries took the city from the Georgian forces on March 4, 1921, and declared Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 rule. Sukhumi functioned as the capital of the "Union treaty" Abkhaz Soviet Socialist Republic associated with the Georgian SSR from 1921 until 1931, when it became the capital of the Abkhazian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic within the Georgian SSR. By 1989, Sukhumi had 110,000 inhabitants and was one of the most prosperous cities of Georgia. Many holiday dacha
Dacha
Dacha is a Russian word for seasonal or year-round second homes often located in the exurbs of Soviet and post-Soviet cities. Cottages or shacks serving as family's main or only home are not considered dachas, although many purpose-built dachas are recently being converted for year-round residence...

s for Soviet leaders were situated there.

Beginning with the 1989 riots
1989 Sukhumi riots
The Sukhumi riot was a riot in Sukhumi, Abkhaz ASSR, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union, in July 1989, triggered by an increasing inter-ethnic tensions between the Abkhaz and Georgian communities and followed by several days of street fighting and civil unrest in Sukhumi and throughout Abkhazia.The riots...

, Sukhumi was a centre of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict
Georgian-Abkhaz conflict
The Georgian–Abkhazian conflict refers to the ethnic conflict between Georgians and Abkhazians in Abkhazia, which is presently a de facto independent partially recognized republic...

, and the city was severely damaged during the 1992-1993 War. During the Abkhaz siege of Sukhumi (1992–1993), the city and its environs suffered almost daily air strikes and artillery shellings, with heavy civilian casualties. On September 27, 1993 the battle for Sukhumi was concluded by a full-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia
The Ethnic Cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia, also known as the Massacres of Georgians in Abkhazia and Genocide of Georgians in Abkhazia — refers to ethnic cleansing, massacres and forced mass expulsion of thousands of ethnic Georgians living in Abkhazia during the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict...

 against its majority Georgian population (see Sukhumi Massacre
Sukhumi Massacre
The Sukhumi massacre took place on September 27, 1993, during and after the fall of Sukhumi into separatist hands in the course of the War in Abkhazia. It was perpetrated against Georgian civilians of Sukhumi, mainly by militia forces of Abkhaz separatists, their North Caucasian and Russian allies...

), including members of the Abkhazian government (Zhiuli Shartava
Zhiuli Shartava
Zhiuli Shartava was a Georgian politician and the Head of the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia who was killed by Abkhaz militants during the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia in 1993....

, Raul Eshba
Raul Eshba
Raul Eshba was an ethnic Abkhaz politician who was killed in Sukhumi along with Zhiuli Shartava, Guram Gabiskiria and others by Abkhaz separatist rebels during the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia on September 27th, 1993.-External links:...

 and others) and mayor of Sukhumi Guram Gabiskiria
Guram Gabiskiria
Guram Gabiskiria was a Mayor of Sukhumi who was murdered by Abkhaz separatists during the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia in 1993....

. Although the city has been relatively peaceful and partially rebuilt, it is still suffering the after-effects of the war, and it has not regained its earlier ethnic diversity. Its population in 2003 was 43,716, compared to about 120,000 in 1989.

Climate

Sukhumi has a humid subtropical climate
Humid subtropical climate
A humid subtropical climate is a climate zone characterized by hot, humid summers and mild to cool winters...

 (Köppen
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 Cfa), that is almost cool enough in summer to be an oceanic climate
Oceanic climate
An oceanic climate, also called marine west coast climate, maritime climate, Cascadian climate and British climate for Köppen climate classification Cfb and subtropical highland for Köppen Cfb or Cwb, is a type of climate typically found along the west coasts at the middle latitudes of some of the...

.

Demographics

Historic population figures for Sukhumi, split out by ethnicity, based on population censuses:
!Year
!Abkhaz
Abkhaz people
The Abkhaz or Abkhazians are a Caucasian ethnic group, mainly living in Abkhazia, a disputed region on the Black Sea coast. A large Abkhazian diaspora population resides in Turkey, the origins of which lie in the emigration from the Caucasus in the late 19th century known as Muhajirism...


!Armenians
Armenians in Abkhazia
The Armenians in Abkhazia form the second largest ethnic group in the region of Abkhazia after the Abkhaz. Armenians settled in Abkhazia in late 19th and the early 20th centuries and are now the largest ethnic group in Gagra, Sukhumi and Gulripsh districts forming 20% of the Abkhazian population...


!Estonians
!Georgians
Georgians
The Georgians are an ethnic group that have originated in Georgia, where they constitute a majority of the population. Large Georgian communities are also present throughout Russia, European Union, United States, and South America....


!Greeks
Pontic Greeks
The Pontians are an ethnic group traditionally living in the Pontus region, the shores of Turkey's Black Sea...


!Mingrelians
Mingrelians
The Mingrelians are a subethnic group of Georgians that mostly live in Samegrelo region of Georgia. They also live in considerable numbers in Abkhazia and Tbilisi...


!Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....


!Svans 
!Turkish
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...


!Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...


!Total
|-
|1887 Census
| align="right" |1.8%
(144)
| align="right" |13.5%
(1,083)
| align="right" |0.4%
(32)
| align="right" |11.9%
(951)
| align="right" |14.3%
(1,143)
| align="right" |19.0%
(1,522)
| align="right" |21.1%
(1,685)
| align="right" |0.0%
(1)
| align="right" |4.0%
(323)
| align="right" |2.7%
(216)
| align="right" |7,998
|-
|1926 Census
| align="right" |3.1%
(658)
| align="right" |9.4%
(2,023)
| align="right" |0.3%
(63)
| align="right" |11.2%
(2,425)
| align="right" |10.7%
(2,298)
| align="right" |12.1%
(2,599)
| align="right" |23.7%
(5,104)
| align="right" |0.1%
(12)
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |10.4%
(2,234)
| align="right" |21,568
|-
|1939 Census
| align="right" |5.5%
(2,415)
| align="right" |9.8%
(4,322)
| align="right" |0.5%
(206)
| align="right" |19.9%
(8,813)
| align="right" |11.3%
(4,990)
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |41.9%
(18,580)
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |4.6%
(2,033)
| align="right" |44,299
|-
|1959 Census
| align="right" |5.6%
(3,647)
| align="right" |10.5%
(6,783)
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |31.1%
(20,110)
| align="right" |4.9%
(3,141)
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |36.8%
(23,819)
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |4.3%
(2,756)
| align="right" |64,730
|-
|1979 Census
| align="right" |9.9%
(10,766)
| align="right" |10.9%
(11,823)
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |38.3%
(41,507)
| align="right" |6.5%
(7,069)
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |26.4%
(28,556)
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |3.4%
(3,733)
| align="right" |108,337
|-
|1989 Census
| align="right" |12.5%
(14,922)
| align="right" |10.3%
(12,242)
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |41.5%
(49,460)
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |21.6%
(25,739)
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |119,150
|-
|2003 Census
| align="right" |65.3%
(24,603)
| align="right" |12.7%
(5,565)
| align="right" |0.1%
(65)
| align="right" |4.0%
(1,761)
| align="right" |1.5%
(677)
| align="right" |0.2%
(86)
| align="right" |16.9%
(8,902)
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |---
| align="right" |1.6%
(712)
| align="right" |43,716
|}>

Main sights

Sukhumi houses a number of historical monuments, notably the Beslet arcaded bridge built during the reign of queen Tamar of Georgia
Tamar of Georgia
Tamar , of the Bagrationi dynasty, was Queen Regnant of Georgia from 1184 to 1213. Tamar presided over the "Golden age" of the medieval Georgian monarchy...

 in the 12th century. It also retains visible vestiges of the defunct monuments, including the Roman walls, the 11th-century castle of Bagrat III, several towers of the Great Abkhazian Wall constructed by the early modern Mingrelian and Abkhazian princes amid their territorial disputes; the 14th-century Genoese fort, and the 18th-century Ottoman fortress. The 11th century Kaman Church (12 km from Sukhumi) is erected, according to tradition, over the tomb of Saint John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom , Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic...

. Some 22 km from Sukhumi lies New Athos
New Athos
New Athos is a town in the Gudauta raion of Abkhazia, situated some 22 km from Sukhumi by the shores of the Black Sea. The town was previously known under the names Nikopol, Acheisos, Anakopia, Nikopia, Nikofia, Nikopsis, Absara, Psyrtskha...

 with the ruins of the medieval city of Anacopia. The Neo-Byzantine New Athos Monastery was constructed here in the 1880s on behest of Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 Alexander III of Russia
Alexander III of Russia
Alexander Alexandrovich Romanov , historically remembered as Alexander III or Alexander the Peacemaker reigned as Emperor of Russia from until his death on .-Disposition:...

. Northward in the mountains is the Voronya Cave
Voronya Cave
The Krubera Cave is the deepest known cave on Earth. It is located in the Arabika Massif of the Gagrinsky Range of the Western Caucasus, in the Gagra district of Abkhazia, Georgia’s breakaway republic.The difference in the altitude of the cave's entrance and its deepest explored point is...

, the deepest in the world, with a depth of 2,140 meters.

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