Abkhazia: Lake Ritsa
By: The PH Team
Abkhazia is an unrecognized country internationally recognized as part of neighbouring Georgia. The country, which initially declared independence shortly after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, reinforced its de facto independence, along with South Ossetia, during the 2008 Russo-Georgia War.
During the Soviet Union, Abkhazia was known for its sub-tropical climate, breathtaking nature and was a frequented holiday destination for the Soviet elite - including Stalin himself.
Stalin had one of his summer houses (dacha in Russian) by the lake. Later, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev had his dacha near the lake as well. Today, the dacha is property of the Abkhazian government.
In addition, the lake was an important tourist attraction for many citizens during the Soviet period.
Lake Ritsa is a lake in the Caucasus region, within the borders of the unrecognized country of Abkhazia. Famous in local and Soviet folklore, the lake is the centre of many legends and fairytales throughout Abkhazia and ex-Soviet states.
The lake is surrounded by mixed mountain forests and vast meadows. Lake Ritsa water is cold and clear. Mountains with heights of up to 3500 meters surround the lake.
The region around Lake Ritsa is a part of the Euxine-Colchic deciduous forests ecoregion, known for its high concentration of evergreen boxwood groves.
Many examples of the Nordmann Fir, which reach heights of over 70 metres, are found around the lake and offer tourists serenity from the outside world.
In 1930, during the time of the Soviet Union, the Ritsa Nature Reserve was established to protect the natural state of the lake and the surrounding areas.
Today, the lake is still largely frequented by Russian and local tourists. Western tourists however, still have not made Lake Ritsa a frequented holidays destination.