Аԥсны Аҳәынҭқарра

Republic of Abkhazia

Abkhazia is a separatist state in the South Caucasus. It had autonomy within Soviet Georgia at the time when the Soviet Union began to disintegrate in the late 1980s. After the creation of Georgia as an independent country ethnic tensions between the Abkhaz and Georgians culminated in the 1992–1993 War. In 1994 the war ended with a ceasefire agreement, but despite years of negotiations the dispute remains unresolved. In 2008 war broke out again and Abkhazia was formally recognized by Russia and declared a Russian-occupied territory.

The Caucasus Mountains to the north and northeast divide Abkhazia and the Russian Federation. There are lowlands along the Black Sea coast and up to 4,000 m high mountains in the Caucasus. This enormous difference in heights and the abundance of limestone are the reason why this is the area with the deepest caves of the world. The world's deepest known cave, Veryovkina Cave, is located in the western Caucasus mountains.

But unfortunately these caves are located in an unstable and poor part of the world. This made it almost impossible for foreign cavers to visit this place in years. While it was part of the Soviet Union they were mostly explored by Russian cavers. The hope of international cavers was piqued in the late 1980s, but the outbreak of the war stopped this. Even the locals have some difficulties in exploration, especially poverty and the impossibility to get the necessary equipment. But since the turn of the millennium the Russian cavers increased their exploration activities, and since 2008 there were a lot of new discoveries.