Written By: RA
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Located along a breakaway republic in the middle of Georgia and Russia, is a surreal railway leading to everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Cracked cement and growing moss covers the surface of the Abkhazian Railway, masking what was once white ornate pillars of a busy station that connected regions of Russia, Georgia and Abkhazia. Because of several territorial disputes occurring over its connecting railways, much of the station no longer operates – leaving these inter-community links completely abandoned.
What was once a full station buzzing with activity, has become a regal skeleton for undergrowth and moss. There is an otherworldly allure to its aging infrastructure, sitting idly while its walls are slowly being reclaimed by the nature that occupied the land before it was built. At first glance, one could mistake it as a passageway to a completely different world.
Casualty of war
The standstill of the ethereal Abkhazian Railway was the product of a long history of territorial dispute between Georgia and Russia. By the 19th century, their proximity with Russia made them subject to territorial dominance by the USSR. In the process, the large population of Georgians living in the region were driven out in what was described by Georgia as “ethnic cleansing.”
In the early 90s however, Abkhazia seceded from the northern region of Georgia effectively cutting off their connecting train lines due to the overlapping territorial dispute. To this day, the UN has declared Abkhazia as Georgian territory despite the large Russian military presence in the area. Only Russia has acknowledged the independence of Abkhazia, which holds its own elections and enacts its own policies.
By the end of the Georgia-Abkhazia war in 1993, the railway had become defunct and abandoned.
The stations that once connected distant areas for trade, tourism and commerce had been cut loose.
Eventually, certain parts of the railway became operational once more during the 2014 Winter Olympics when the railways connecting Sochi to Russia were made to function.
Currently, there is a daily long-distance train connected Moscow and Sukhumi and suburban trains connecting Adler and Gagra.
There were proposals to revive the other train links, but the continuous territorial dispute that plagues the railway’s lifelines continue to prevent its complete to return as a functioning, present-day relic.
Do you like our article on the Abkhazian Railway? Comment below.