Not far from Sukhumi in a picturesque bay of the Black Sea there is another well-known resort city of Abkhazia with the most unusual name - New Athos.
It is remarkable due to unique landscapes and outstanding ancient monuments of early Christianity. The city territory can be conditionally divided into three zones – the coastal with golden beaches, the submountain with big forests and the mountainous with picturesque gorges.
Each zone is distinguished by its special charm. The coastal zone is decorated by marvelous park with samples of exotic flora: palm trees, laurels, magnolias, bananas, oleanders, eucalypts and others as well as pure river ponds with swans. Cypress-lined avenues stretch along the entire territory of the resort. At the foot of the mountains you will find yellow-orange groves of orange, tangerine and lemon trees.
And of course, the mountainous landscape is especially charming: the tiers of mountain chains rise higher and higher to the snow-covered peaks of the Major Caucasian Ridge. They protect the resort from northern winds; the sea breeze creates sunny and cool weather even in the middle of summer. The average temperature in the summer is +23 С , in the winter +6 С .
Despite the word "new", the city has a very rich history. In early antiquity on the seacoast, between two rivers a small trading settlement was founded; the fact is proven by found fragments of ware, amphorae and other objects which reached us from that epoch.
According to the Bible these lands became the place of Christian sermons of Apostle Simon Canonite who was later killed there. On the place of his burial the St. Simon Canonite temple, the major relic of New Athos and entire Abkhazia, was erected.
In the 4 th century Abkhazians constructed a fortress on Mount Iberia and called it Anakopia. It was repeatedly attacked by enemies - the fiercest battle for the fortress took place in 736-737 when Anakopia protected by Georgian tsar Archil and Abkhazian ruler Leon I resisted the attacks of Arabian armies under the leadership of Murvan ibn Mohammed. After the long siege Arabs had to withdraw. In the end of the 8 th century Anakopia became the capital of Abkhazian kingdom and had the status until it was passed to the city of Kutaisi .
After the consolidation of Georgia (the 9 th century) Anakopia turned into one of the largest seaside centers. Its territory was expanded and built up. The city was surrounded by a new fortification which is almost destroyed by the sea surf now.
However, during the period feudal dissociation of Georgia (the 14 th -17 th centuries) Anakopia lost its political and economic significance. The densely populated seaport was deserted by its townsfolk. From time to time Turks raided neighboring Abkhazian villages. By the second half of the 18 th century Anakopia ceased to exist as a city. There were only the ruins grown with thick woods.
The city's rebirth was in 1874 when the monks from St. Panteleimon monastery came to Akopia from the Holy Mount Athos in Greece . The imperial government allowed them to found a monastery in Abkhazia. The monks liked this area a lot. At the foot of Mount Iberia (New Athos) they built New Athos monastery which become one of the greatest cult structures of Caucasus . The settlement which appeared nearby with churches, dwelling houses and cells, gardens and parks was also named New Athos.
The contemporary resort city was formed on the place of monastic settlement in the 20 th century.
Read more about New Athos Landmarks