Akarmara is a ghost village with a tragic history
Among the abandoned buildings, beloved by stalkers, there are special ones that have an indescribable flavor. The Abkhazian urban-type settlement of Akarmara definitely belongs to them. This locality is neither alive nor dead — it is frozen on the border between these two states, but every year the lush subtropical vegetation erases this boundary more and more.
The urban-type settlement of Akarmara was founded in 1938. In 1942, it was incorporated into the nearby town of Tkvarcheli, becoming its suburb. The main construction here unfolded after the end of the war. Prisoners of war were sent to Tkvarcheli — German and Italian soldiers and officers who were to turn a group of Abkhazian settlements into an industrial city, the largest center of the coal industry in the region.
Thanks to the labor of the prisoners, the city of Tkvarcheli and its mountainous region of Akarmara were strikingly different from other small Soviet cities. The buildings here were of original, Western European architecture, and the improvement of streets, squares and courtyards could be envied by the cities of millions.
Due to its remote location from the center, the village of Akarmara became an elite area of the city, where absolutely everyone sought to get housing. Many people waited for several years to settle here, but they did not regret the time spent at all. In the Stalinka houses of this area there were large bright rooms with high ceilings, and from the windows of the apartments there were amazing mountain landscapes.
The district was completely autonomous from Tkvarcheli and had its own House of Culture, school, hospital, market, restaurant, cinema, boarding house and even a small hotel. Not bad at all, considering that the housing stock of the village consisted of only a couple of dozen buildings. The largest number of residents — 5 thousand, was registered here in the late 80s.
Today, 5 families live in Akarmar, who have to rely only on their own strength. Most of the city buildings are destroyed and they are gradually absorbed by the evergreen moist forest. It's hard to believe that 30 years ago there was a lot of life here, the streets were full of people, and children's laughter could be heard in the courtyards. What turned Akarmara into a ghost town?
The decisive event in the life of the city was the fighting that unfolded here in 1992-1993. The Georgian-Abkhazian conflict led to the siege of the city of Tkvarcheli. The blockade lasted 413 days. Almost every day, the city was shelled with artillery and small arms, which led to the destruction of industry, infrastructure and most of the city's buildings.
The village of Akarmara was under a tight blockade and its population, who did not have time to leave their native places before the conflict began, experienced incredible hardships. There were troubles here that it is difficult to imagine at the turn of the XX and XXI centuries. The inhabitants were overcome by hunger, cold and epidemics of infectious diseases. This is not counting the fact that the citizens were waiting for death during shelling and bombing.
In 2008, the President of Abkhazia awarded Tkuarchala (the new name of Tkvarcheli), the title of hero city. This status helped attract investment here, and the ruined city gradually began to revive. Unfortunately, these funds are clearly insufficient and so far the city can not even boast of restored roads.
As for the remote area of Akarmar, everyone has forgotten about it. The residents left the village overgrown with forest and there were only old people and those who have nowhere to go. The history of the ghost village is not unique for Abkhazia — the same dead settlements of Polyana and Dzhantukha are located nearby.
Keywords: Abkhazia | Blockade | Georgia | Abandoned buildings | Forest | Village