Abandoned Council of Ministries Building – Sukhumi, Abkhazia - Atlas Obscura
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Sukhumi, Abkhazia

Abandoned Council of Ministries Building

Ruins of a former government building destroyed during the Georgian-Abkhaz war in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union. 

This giant abandoned government building is located in Sukhumi, the capital of a country that isn’t widely recognized as such. 

After the fall of the Soviet Union in the early ’90s, various countries began to form and celebrated their newfound independence. Abkhazia, which had been part of Georgia during Soviet rule, sought to gain their own independence as well, but Georgia, also newly autonomous, fought bitterly with them over the region. 

From 1992 to 1993, thousands of ethnic Georgians fled or were killed in the Abkhazia region, buildings were destroyed, and the once prosperous seaside region fell into a state of disrepair that has yet to recover even today. 

One of the bloodiest battles during the Georgian-Abkhaz war took place at the former Council of the Ministries building, located in the very center of Sukhumi. Tank shells and bullets flew, and at one point the building was gutted by flames. The Georgians of Sukhumi were brutally massacred by the Abkhaz in an effort to retain control of the region, though there are some suggestions the violence was instead carried out by Russian supporting forces.

Today the building remains abandoned, unfenced and accessible to the public. A sad reminder of the recent war and what was lost, it is also a good example of Soviet Brutalist architecture style. 

Know Before You Go

Getting to the abandoned Council of Ministries Building is actually fairly easy; getting into Abkhazia is the difficult part. You must apply for a visa through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website in order to be granted access to Abkhazia in the first place. Once you receive your visa, you can cross the Inguri border with Georgia which is a lengthy process and then you can head into the Republic of Abkhazia. Don't forget to register your visa once there or you will receive an excessive fine. If you come to visit the Council of Ministries Building from the Russian side, you are unable to enter into Georgia from Abkhazia. You will also be barred from ever entering Georgia again on that same passport. Finally, beware of stray dogs!

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