Pitsunda or Bichvinta[3] (Georgian: ბიჭვინთა [bitʃʼvintʰɑ] (listen); Abkhazian: Пиҵунда; Russian: Пицунда) is a resort town in the Gagra district of Abkhazia, Georgia.[note 1]


ბიჭვინთა (in Georgian)
Пиҵунда (in Abkhazian)

The view of Caucasus mountains from Pitsunda cape.
The view of Caucasus mountains from Pitsunda cape.
Location of Pitsunda
Location of Pitsunda
Pitsunda is located in Georgia
Location of Pitsunda
Coordinates: 43°10′N 40°20′E / 43.167°N 40.333°ECoordinates: 43°10′N 40°20′E / 43.167°N 40.333°E
CountryGeorgia (Abkhazia[note 1])
 • MayorVitali Khutava[1]
 • Deputy MayorBeslan Smyr[2]


The town was founded in the 5th century BC as Pityus (Ancient Greek: Pityus, Πιτυοῦς, genitive Pityuntos, Πιτυοῦντος) or Pitiunt, a Greek colony and trade port on the coast of the Kingdom of Lazica.[4] The city was surrounded by a defensive wall, the castellum had a second line of defence built in mid-3rd century AD.[5] Excavations guided by Andria Apakidze unearthed, in 1952, remains of three 4th-century churches and a bath with high-quality mosaic floors. The former "Great Pityus" harbour is now a mere lake within the town.

The Goths[6] attacked the city in 255 CE after taking the Bosporan fleet. The Roman garrison under the command of Successianus repelled the attack, however they returned in the next year, took the city and proceeded further to sack Trebizond.[7]

Saint John Chrysostom was being led towards Pityus by the imperial soldiers, in execution of the decree of exile, when he died on the way in 407.[4] Like Dioskurias, it remained under Roman control within the Georgian kingdom of Colchis until the 7th century. The city passed under Abasgian control and became one of the major political and religious centres of the kingdom of Egrisi (Lazica). An archbishopric of Pitiunt was instituted in 541. In medieval Georgia, the town's name was spelled as Bichvinta. At the end of the 10th century, King Bagrat III of Georgia built there the Pitsunda Cathedral which survives to this day and contains vestiges of wall-painting from the 13th and the 16th centuries. Bichvinta also served as the seat of the Georgian Orthodox Catholicate of Abkhazia until the late 16th century when Abkhazia came under the Ottoman hegemony within Georgia. In his 1911 article for the Catholic Encyclopedia, Sophrone Pétridès described Pityus as a titular see,[4] but it is not now found in the Catholic Church's list of such sees.[8] In the late 13th century, the area housed a short-lived Genoese trade colony called Pezonda.

Pitsunda was the favourite resort of First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev. In October 1964 he happened to be vacationing in Pitsunda when he was deposed from power. Khrushchev once proposed a major dam and hydroelectric power scheme on the Bzyb River near Pitsunda, but his experts informed him that a dam built on the Bzyb River would have had catastrophic effects in causing beach erosion at Pitsunda. In the end, the dam was built on the Inguri River instead, where the impact upon the coastline was assessed to be considerably less pronounced.[9]


Town status

On 7 February 2007, after many appeals by inhabitants, the People's Assembly of Abkhazia resolved to give Pitsunda town-status. Parliamentarians expressed the hope that the decision would help Pitsunda develop as a resort.[10][11] Since becoming a town, the Mayor of Pitsunda is no longer appointed by the Governor of Gagra District but instead directly by the President of Abkhazia. On 29 January 2016, Pitsunda's town-status was formally enshrined in Abkhazia's constitution.[11][12]

2011 Assembly elections

In the 2011 assembly elections, Mayor Beslan Ardzinba and six other incumbent deputies of the Assembly stood for re-election. The winning candidates were Beslan Ardzinba, Badra Avidzba, Olga Grigorenko, Chengiz Bigvava, Georgi Zardania, Gennadi Cherkezia, Gennadi Mikanba, Damia Kokoskeria and Inessa Dzkuia.[13] On 14 February, during the first session of the new convocation, Damir Kokoskeria was elected Chairman of the Assembly over Gennadi Cherkezia, by a one vote difference.[14]

Since 2014

Following the May 2014 Revolution and the election of Raul Khajimba as President, on 28 October 2014 he replaced Ardzinba as Mayor with Chingis Bigvava.[15] Bigvava was not reappointed following the 2016 local elections.[16] He was temporarily replaced by Beslan Dbar, until former head of the Association of Resorts Vitali Khutaba was temporarily appointed by Khajimba on 16 February 2017, approved by Pitsunda's town council on 20 February and permanently appointed on 27 February.[1][17][18]

List of Mayors

Heads of the Administration of the Urban-type Settlement Pitsunda:
# Name Entered office Left office Governor of Gagra District Comments
Chingiz Bigvava ≤ June 2000 Grigori Enik
Jon Dbar ≥ January 2006 Valeri Bganba
Beslan Ardzinba October 2006 [19] 8 February 2007 Astamur Ketsba
Heads of the Administration of the Town Pitsunda:
# Name Entered office Left office President Comments
1 Beslan Ardzinba 8 February 2007 29 May 2011 Sergei Bagapsh
29 May 2011 1 June 2014 Alexander Ankvab
1 June 2014 28 October 2014 [15] Valeri Bganba
2 Chingis Bigvava 28 October 2014 [15] Raul Khajimba
Beslan Dbar 16 February 2017 [1] Acting
3 Vitali Khutava 16 February 2017 [1] Present


2014 Picunda, Sobór św. Andrzeja (07)

Pitsunda temple

Pitsunda shore (2)

Pitsunda shore


Pine grove

Prof.Skumin Bichvinta 1990

Holidays in Pitsunda

Pension Mayak of Pitsunda

Holiday Hotel Lighthouse (Mayak)

Скульптурная композиция называется «Море»

The sculptural composition The Sea


  1. ^ a b Abkhazia is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Abkhazia and Georgia. The Republic of Abkhazia unilaterally declared independence on 23 July 1992, but Georgia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. Abkhazia has received formal recognition as an independent state from 7 out of 193 United Nations member states, 2 of which have subsequently withdrawn their recognition.


  1. ^ a b c d "ВИТАЛИЙ ХУТАБА НАЗНАЧЕН ИСПОЛНЯЮЩИМ ОБЯЗАННОСТИ ГЛАВЫ АДМИНИСТРАЦИИ ГОРОДА ПИЦУНДА". Abkhazia Inform. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  2. ^ "Администрация городов, сёл и посёлков Гагрского района". Gagra District Administration. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  3. ^ Numerous sources in the discussion
  4. ^ a b c Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pityus" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  5. ^ Kacharava, D. D. (1983–1984). "Archaeological Investigations on the Eastern Black Sea Littoral, 1970-80". Archaeological Reports. The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies. 30: 99. doi:10.2307/581033. JSTOR 581033.
  6. ^ Called Scythae and Borani in contemporary sources
  7. ^ Wolfram, Herwig; Dunlap, Thomas J. (1990). History of the Goths. University of California Press. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-520-06983-1.
  8. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 953
  9. ^ Blatter, Joachim; Ingram, Helen M. (2001). Reflections on water: new approaches to transboundary conflicts and cooperation. MIT Press. pp. 221–2. ISBN 0-262-02487-X.
  10. ^ "Курорт Пицунда стал городом". Администрация Президента Республики Абхазия. 8 February 2007. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  13. ^ "Подведены итоги выборов в так называемое народное собрание г.Пицунда". City Administration of Pitsunda. 17 February 2011. Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  14. ^ "В Администрации города Пицунды прошло первое заседание так называемого Народного собрания". City Administration of Pitsunda. 18 February 2011. Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  15. ^ a b c "У К А З "О главе администрации города Пицунда"". Apsnypress. 28 October 2014. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  17. ^ "Собрание Пицунды дало согласие на назначение Виталия Хутаба главой администрации". Apsnypress. 20 February 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  18. ^ "Виталий Хутаба назначен главой Администрации города Пицунда". Apsnypress. 27 February 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  19. ^ "так называемый Глава Администрации г.Пицунда". The official website of the City Administration of Pitsunda. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
2011 Abkhazian local elections

On 12 February 2011, Abkhazia held local elections for the 5th convocations of its local assemblies.

2016 Abkhazian local elections

On 3 April 2016, Abkhazia held local elections for the 6th convocations of its local assemblies in all districts except Gali.

Abkhazian Orthodox Church

The Abkhazian Orthodox Church (Russian: Абхазская Православная церковь) is an Eastern Orthodox church outside the official Eastern Orthodox ecclesiastical hierarchy. It came into existence when the Sukhumi-Abkhazian Eparchy declared on 15 September 2009 that it no longer considered itself part of the Georgian Orthodox Church and that it was "re-establishing the Catholicate of Abkhazia disbanded in 1795".

Andria Apakidze

Andria Apakidze (Georgian: ანდრია აფაქიძე) (September 3, 1914 – November 25, 2005), Doctor of History and professor, was a Georgian archaeologist and historian specializing in the studies of ancient Georgia, and the author of widely known works on archaeology.

He led the large-scale excavations of Armazi, Tsitsamuri, and Sarkine (1936), Pitsunda (1952-1974) and Mtskheta (since 1975). He directed the Janashia Museum of Georgia from 1943 until 1952 when he became the head of the archaeology section of the Georgian Academy of Sciences Institute of History. Since April 1, 1994, he presided over the Mtskheta Archaeology Institute.

Beslan Ardzinba

Beslan Ardzinba is a former Mayor of Pitsunda, Abkhazia.

Bichvinta-Miuseri Strict Nature Reserve

Bichvinta-Miuseri Strict Nature Reserve (Georgian: ბიჭვინთა-მიუსერის სახელმწიფო ნაკრძალი) is a protected area in the Gagra District and Gudauta District of Abkhazia formerly Abkhazia region of Georgia.

Reserve main goal is protecting Bichvinta's relic and colonized flora and fauna.

Bichvinta Gospels

The Bichvinta Four Gospels (Georgian: ბიჭვინთის ოთხთავი) is a 12th-century illuminated manuscript of the Four Gospels in Georgian, copied in the nuskhuri script. It is named after the cathedral church in Abkhazia, where the book was discovered in 1830. The manuscript is now at the Georgian National Center of Manuscripts, Tbilisi, as H-2120.

Bzyb River

The Bzyb (Georgian: ბზიფი, Abkhazian: Бзыҧ, Russian: Бзыбь) is one of the two largest rivers of Abkhazia, along with the Kodori and the twelfth longest river in Georgia. The river valley has rich biodiversity of herbaceous garden plants, particularly in the gorge section in the upper reaches where the most prominent and colourful bellflower Campanula mirabilis with profuse growth of 100 flowers per plant is given the name, the "Queen of the Abkhazian flora".

Catholicate of Abkhazia

The Catholicate of Abkhazia (Georgian: აფხაზეთის საკათალიკოსო) was a subdivision of the Georgian Orthodox Church that existed as an independent entity in western Georgia from the 1470s to 1814. It was headed by the Catholicos (later, Catholicos Patriarch), officially styled as the Catholicos Patriarch of Imereti, Odishi, Ponto-Abkhaz-Guria, Racha-Lechkhum-Svaneti, Ossetians, Dvals, and all of the North. The residence of the Catholicoi was at Bichvinta (now Pitsunda) in Abkhazia (hence, the name of the Catholicate), but was moved to the Gelati Monastery in Imereti in the late 16th century. In 1814, the office of the Catholicos of Abkhazia was abolished by the Russian Empire which would take control of the Georgian church until 1917.

Geography of Abkhazia

Abkhazia is a region in South Caucasus. It is de facto independent republic, but is mostly internationally recognized as an autonomous republic within Georgia. The article deals with the geography and climate of Abkhazia.

Hibla Gerzmava

Hibla Gerzmava (Russian: Хи́бла Лева́рсовна Герзма́ва Abkhazian: Хьыбла Леуарса-иҧа Герзмаа), (born January 6, 1970), is an Abkhazian-Russian operatic soprano who currently resides in Moscow.

List of lighthouses in Abkhazia

This is a list of lighthouses in Abkhazia.

Peyveste Hanım

Peyveste Hanım (Ottoman Turkish: پیوسته خانم‎; born Princess Rabia Emuhvari; 10 May 1873 – c. 1943) was the ninth wife of Sultan Abdul Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire.

Pinus brutia

Pinus brutia, the Turkish pine, is a pine native to the eastern Mediterranean region. The bulk of its range is in Turkey, but it also extends to southeastern-most Bulgaria, the East Aegean Islands of Aegean Sea, Crete, the Crimea, Iran, Georgia, Azerbaijan, northern Iraq, western Syria, Israel, north-west Jordan, Lebanon, and Cyprus. It generally occurs at low altitudes, mostly from sea level to 600 metres (2,000 ft), up to 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) in the south of its range.

Turkish pine is also known by several other common names: Calabrian pine (from a naturalised population of the pine in Calabria in southern Italy, from where the pine was first botanically described), East Mediterranean pine and Brutia pine.

Pitsunda Bay

Pitsunda Bay (Abkhazian: Пиҵунда абаҕуаза, Georgian: ბიჭვინთის ყურე, Russian: Пицундская бухта) is a bay in the Black Sea near Pitsunda, Abkhazia.

Pitsunda Cathedral

The Cathedral of St. Andrew the Apostle, also known as the Pitsunda Cathedral or Bichvinta Cathedral (Georgian: ბიჭვინთის ტაძარი) is a Georgian Orthodox Cathedral located in Pitsunda, in the Gagra district of the de facto independent Republic of Abkhazia, internationally recognised as constituting a part of Georgia. The cathedral is currently used by the Abkhazian Orthodox Church and serves as that body's seat, although this usage is disputed by the Republic of Georgia and is considered irregular by the Eastern Orthodox communion.

Pitsunda Cathedral was built at the end of the 10th century by King Bagrat III of Georgia. It served as the seat of the Georgian Orthodox Catholicate of Abkhazia until the late 16th century when Abkhazia came under the Ottoman hegemony. According to 17th century French traveller Jean Chardin, Catholicos, who no longer lived in Pitsunda, visited the cathedral once a year with the retinue of bishops and princes to perform the sanctification of chrism. The cathedral was reconsecrated in 1869 when Abkhazia was already a part of Russian Empire.It is a cross-domed cathedral with three naves and three apses, shaped as a rectangle with extending semicircular apses. The cathedral is notable for its impressive size, reaching 29 m high (including the dome), 37 m long and 25 m wide; the walls are up to 1.5 m thick. The building rests on heavy slabs of grey sandstone; the walls are made up of alternating rows of stone and brickwork, a typical technique for late Byzantine architecture. The cathedral contains vestiges of wall-painting from the 13th and the 16th centuries. A 12th-century Georgian manuscript of the Four Gospels, found at the cathedral in 1830, is now preserved at the Georgian National Center of Manuscripts in Tbilisi.

Saida Gunba

Saida Kanosovna Gunba (Georgian: საიდა გუმბა; 30 August 1959 in Sukhumi, Abkhazia – 24 November 2018 in Pitsunda, Abkhazia) was a Soviet javelin thrower.

She competed for the USSR at the 1980 Summer Olympics held in Moscow, where she won the silver medal in the women's javelin competition. She also finished fifth at the 1979 IAAF World Cup.

Her personal best throw was 68.28 metres with the old javelin type, achieved in 1980.


Soterioupolis (Greek: Σωτηριούπολις; "City of the Saviour") or Soteropolis (Σωτηρόπολις) was a Byzantine fortress in the southeastern Black Sea coast during the 10th–12th centuries. The name has been suggested to apply to two different localities, Pitsunda in Georgia and Borçka in Turkey.

Subdivisions of Abkhazia

In Soviet times, the Abkhazian ASSR was divided into six raions (districts) named after their respective capitals.

The administrative divisions of the disputed Republic of Abkhazia have stayed the same, with one exception: in 1995 the Tkvarcheli District was created around the town of Tkvarcheli from parts of the Ochamchira and Gali raions.

The Georgian government, which claims Abkhazia as an Autonomous region but lacks control, has not changed the Soviet divisions.

Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia
Autonomous Republic of Adjara
Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti
Racha-Lechkhumi and
Kvemo Svaneti
Kvemo Kartli
Shida Kartli
Cities with local government
Capital city
Other populated places
Other settlements

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