Excursions to Lake Ritsa are organized not only from the cities of Abkhazia, but also from adjoining resorts of Krasnodar krai. In fact, if you are already in the Caucasus, visiting this unique natural landmark is a must. Lake Ritsa is the biggest of all beautiful high-mountainous lakes (more than 180) of Abkhazia. The lake is located 950 m above the sea level in a deep bowl of wood-covered mountains. Turquoise -emerald waters contrasting with malachite-colored woods are really impressive. Only Mother nature could create such a beauty!
The lake occupies 132 hectares. Maximum depth is 115 meters. The lake is fed by the river Lashupse and small inflows. The Lake emerged as a result of a huge collapse only about 250 years ago. In the middle of the 18 th century a huge mass limestone fell from Mount Pshegishkha and partitioned the river Lashupse valley. The waters of the diked river formed a lake of deep -green-blue color.
Lake Ritsa lies among the three big mountains - Mount Pshegishkha (2,222 m), Mount Atsetuk (2,542 m) and Mount Agapsta (3,263 m). The uniqueness of the lake is in its protogenic pure beauty. The azure smooth surface of the lake reflects the woods and mountains like a river. The out-of-this-world beauty of the lake is in harmony with the national legend about Lake Ritsa, "reviving" all natural landmarks of this area – Mouns Pshegishkha, Atsetuk, Agapsta; the rivers Gege and Yupsharu and Lake Ritsa itself …
“Once there was a wide river flowing along Ritsa Valey. On both sides there were juicy pastures where a beautiful girl named Ritsa tended her cattle. Ritsa had three brothers: Agepsta, Atsetuk and the youngest Pshegishkha. The druthers spent their days wandering in the mountains hunting swift-footed gazelles. In the evening they would came back to Ritsa and sat around the fire. Ritsa cooked meat and brothers sang songs and admired their sister's beauty. One day the brothers went very far to the mountains in the morning and in the evening they did not come back. Ritsa waited and waited for them. Then she collected her herd by the river and lay down on the bank without lighting a fire. She closed her eyes and started singing a song. Her voice floated so smoothly and beautifully that even Nature listened to it. Two robbers, the brothers Gega and Yuphara heard this song too. Yupshara went to find out who was singing in the valley. He saw Ritsa and froze - never before had he seen such a beauty. He rushed to Ritsa and seized her. Ritsa began to cry for help. The mountain falcon saw it all. Like an arrow it flew to Ritsa's brothers and told them about everything. The brothers got angry and rushed off headlong hoping to save their sister.
But Yupshara held her tight. Then Pshegishkha took his shield and casted it toward Yupshara but missed. The shield fell across the river and stopped the river flow. The river water rushed onto the valley flooding it until a lake was formed. Ritsa doing her best trying to escape the robber slipped and fell into the bubbling lake. The brother tried and tried to save their sister but all to no avail. Then Pshegishkha grasped Yupshara and threw him into the lake. But the lake did not accept the villain and threw him to the river which took him to the sea. Gega ran to help his brother but he failed to save him. Ritsa's brothers got petrified in their grief and turned into the three high mountains. So they stand over the clear waters of the lake guarding Ritsa's eternal sleep.
Maiden Tears Waterfall