Abkhazia’s capital (Sukhumi or Sukhum in Russian, Sokhumi in Georgian, Akwa in Abkhaz) has a gorgeous setting on a bay backed by hills thick with luxuriant semitropical vegetation. Reconstruction is finally picking up pace, but many buildings still stand empty or ruined, including landmarks such as the Government House on ploshchad Svobody (gutted when the Abkhaz took the city in September 1993).
Ruins of the Greek trading port Dioskuria lie beneath Sukhumi Bay. After periods of Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Abkhazian and Turkish domination, Sukhumi was taken by the Russians in 1810. By 1989 it had a multiethnic population of 120,000, but it was badly damaged during the fighting between 1989 and 1993, when its large Georgian population was driven out.
The main streets are ulitsa Lakoba, one to two blocks inland from the seafront bou-levard (naberezhnaya Makhadzhirov), and prospekt Leona which runs down across Lakoba to Makhadzhirov.