Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ghost Town Paradise on the Coast of the Black Sea

This is what is left of Gagra, a resort city on the Black Sea coast.

With its climate close to subtropical, Gagra was a popular health resort in Imperial and Soviet Russia among Russian elite. It was a paradise with its pleasant climate, a royal palace and a number of buildings in an eclectic variety of styles from around Europe. The park that surrounded the resort was also very popular with tropical trees and even parrots and monkeys imported to give it an exotic feel.

Gagra had a population of 26,636 in 1989, but all-out war erupted between 1992 and 1993. Hundreds of thousands of Georgians were expelled from their homes or massacred. Gagra turned into a ghost town due to "ethnic-cleansing and mass expulsion of ethnic Georgians from Abkhazia."

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