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GES288 - Abkhazia Parliament Building

Nestled in the foothills of the Caucasus mountains, Abkhazia is a country within a country. It's one of a number of ex-Soviet breakaway republics. It sits in the Northern part of Georgia, on the edge of the Black Sea. It was formed after a bitter civil war between 1992 and 1993. The Abkhaz minority claimed victory with Russian backing, and ethnic cleansing of Georgians began. When Abkhaz fighters fought with Russia against Georgia in the South Ossetian conflict of 2008, Russia formerly recognised Abkhazia, and the UN mission was removed. When crossing into Abkhazia from Georgia in the South (there are only 2 ways in to Abkhazia), you are cross examined by Russian FSB agents.

The Parliament or Council of Minsters building in the capital Sokhumi, played a key part in the 1992-93 conflict, partly due to it's height (for snipers), but also due to it's Government role. The building was hit numerous times by shells, bullets and at one point set on fire. The Russian backed Abkhazians committed horrendous acts against the majority ethnic Georgian population at this time. The building has in a way stood as a monument since then to horrors of civil war.

I generally always like to approach places by the rear, and this was no exception. Access was as easy as boosting myself in through one of the many blown out windows. I was a bit careful, as i didn't know what the locals reaction might be if seen.

Once inside, the results of the war were more obvious. Twisted metal and broken sections of concrete roofs and floors littered everywhere.

The former entrance area, now open to the elements and square outside. Two large sweeping staircases went off to the left and right at the front. Only to the first floor though.

Getting higher in the building was going to be tricky, as the building only had two staircases up to the top of the building. Both were a mish-mash of iron bars I wasn't going to get through anytime soon. I wandered back and forth in the building looking for other possible ways up.

I had a nosy into the lift shaft, and noticed holes had been made precariously into the mesh separating the shafts. I banged them, and they seemed sturdy, so I began to climb up the shaft to the 3rd floor, where I could climb out.

The corridors of the upper floors were nothing to write home about. Dusty remains in the shell of a building.

I finally reached the top of the building, only to once again be thwarted. I tried jumping and grabbing onto the grill in the ceiling, but it wasn't budging.

Fortunately the door was open on the other side of the building, and it was a simple walk onto the roof. This is the Eastern wing of the building.

Looking over Freedom Park and down Confederates Street to the shore of the Black Sea.

Looking out East to a hill park and the Caucasus mountains in the background.

The Black Sea and Western district of Sokhumi

The Western wing of the building, the roof still in tact on some sections, with windows still in situ.

I went for a wander around the lower roof as I came down.

As the roof beams are still in tact, I would assume this area was destroyed by the fire, rather than by shelling.

A scramble down the lift shaft again, and I walked out the front of the building. There isn't a huge amount to do or see in such a small city, so this was a splendid way to use up an hour.