Souvenirs from Abkhazia
Abkhazian souvenirs are a splendid way to enjoy the spirit of the country and its people after you've returned home. Much of the craftwork produced is for utilitarian needs in the home, but is still attractive and charming. Pottery formed into tea and coffee pots, bowls, trays and vases can provide a punch of earthiness to your decor, while lovely baskets and metal worked trays are ideal for displaying postcards, key chains, magnets and water globes collected from the markets. A memorable souvenir from Abkhazia can be the photos and videos of traditional musicians who sing songs of the ancient Narts, giants who lived in millennia past. Their exploits are still told of today, as well as Abrsk'il, protector of the ancient peoples. The belief is that he still roams the mountains after his fall from the grace of God, asking about the status of his beloved people, seeking to help them.
The Abkhazia Dispute
Abkhazia, also referred to as the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny, is an internationally disputed territory. Sitting on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, the majority of the world recognizes it as belonging to Georgia as an autonomous republic occupied by Russia. However, Abkhazia believes that it is an independent state, recognized by several countries, including Russia. When the Soviet Union began to dissolve in the 1980's, tensions grew between the ethnic Georgians and Abkhazians, which grew into a war in 1992, which Georgia lost. In the aftermath, the Georgian faction was either forcibly removed, or ethnically cleansed from Abkhazia. A ceasefire was reached in 1994, but was annulled by the South Ossetia war in 2008. During the ceasefire period, a pro-Georgian government, called the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, came into existence, in opposition to the regime that had forced it out. It is this government that is recognized, and sits in exile in Georgia.