This article is an overview of the Soviet cultural legacy in Abkhazia. Abkhazia was once a place where the Soviet elite spent their summers. Soviet citizens would head south for two weeks each year, making the most of the region’s warm climate, spring waters, and coastline during their state-funded holidays. Since the collapse of the USSR, most of the Soviet Cultural Heritage sites have been abandoned.
Soviet art in Abkhazia was an important means of spreading the ideological message of communism. The legacy is intertwined with the rise and fall of the Soviet Union. There are many lovely mosaics in Abkhazia portraying the agricultural and technological advances of the USSR.
1. Soviet mosaics on the territory of an abandoned fish factory
The abandoned canned fish factory has not been operational since the collapse of the Soviet Union. While the machines and blank lines rust beneath the inside of the buildings, huge mosaic panels decorating the production buildings are gradually crumbled outside.
Coordinates: 42.99067, 40.987041
2. Mosaic panel decorating the Soviet bus depot
An unknown mosaic panel adorns a half-abandoned bus depot building in the vicinity of Gagra. On the panel, the upper part of the panel shows a recognizable profile of the city, and other parts of the composition are dedicated to popular tourist destinations: Sukhum, Ritsa, Gagra and Sochi.
Coordinates: 43.22951, 40.32496
3. Soviet mosaic panel on the production building
This mosaic panel was found completely by accident. We were leaving Sukhumi and passing the city industrial zone, out of the corner of our eye we noticed a mosaic panel decorating one of the production buildings. The theme of the panel is the unity of man and nature. It can be assumed that the plant was engaged in the processing of agricultural products.
Coordinates: 43.00437, 41.00062
4. Soviet mosaic on the facade of the post office of the city of Gal
The huge mosaic on the facade of the city post office reflects the total contribution of engineers, workers and peasants to space exploration. It was the joint work of workers in hundreds of professions that made it possible to send rockets into space and make the Soviet Union a space power.
Coordinates: 42.62662, 41.73534
5. Soviet mosaic on the wall of an abandoned maternity hospital
A huge mosaic on the walls of an abandoned maternity hospital is an illustration of a future that never came. Before the collapse of the USSR in the city of Gal, with the expectation of further population growth, the construction of a large maternity hospital began. True, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the city’s population did not even return to the indicators of the late eighties. The maternity hospital was not needed, and it will not be needed in the next couple of decades.
Coordinates: 42.63921, 41.72817
6. Mosaic panel at the entrance to the Gagarin Milk Farm
You will be surprised, but in the photo there is an operating collective farm. We will not go into reasoning why the current building looks like an abandoned one and better admire the cow against the background of the mosaic sun.
Coordinates: 43.21656, 40.32375
7. Soviet mosaic decorating cafes in New Athos
In Soviet mosaics, local motives are often played up, but panels dedicated exclusively to national characteristics and folklore are not often found. One of these panels adorns the building of an old Soviet cafe in the city of Novy Afon.
8. Mosaic, high reliefs and bas-reliefs at a factory in the city of Sukhumi
One of the enterprises in the city of Sukhumi, even by Abkhazian standards, is rich in interesting examples of Soviet monumental art: mosaic panels, high reliefs and bas-reliefs have turned the gray workshop into a real attraction. Only few people notice it, even tourists, do not always pay attention to such things.
Coordinates: 42.99819, 41.00573
The stunning photos at the Teriberka, Russia were taken by Nordskif & Co. Nordskif & Co are professional photographers and urban explorers, which share their stories with followers. Also, NordSkif, Kave102Rus, and Nikita Alferov contributed to the article about Soviet art.
If you’d like to see more abandoned places in ex-USSR countries or discover Soviet history, then check out our articles on the History of Abandoned Ordzhonikidze Sanatorium in Sochi and The Legacy Of The USSR: Soviet mosaics, sgraffito, and vintage bas-reliefs