New Athos

New Athos
ახალი ათონი, Афон Ҿыц, Новый Афон, Νέος Άθως
Akhali Atoni, Afon Ch'yts, Novy Afon, Neos Athos

New Athos Monastery

Location of New Athos in Abkhazia
Coordinates: 43°05′3.3″N 40°49′2.64″E / 43.084250°N 40.8174000°E / 43.084250; 40.8174000Coordinates: 43°05′3.3″N 40°49′2.64″E / 43.084250°N 40.8174000°E / 43.084250; 40.8174000
Country Georgia
Partially recognized
independent country
District Gudauta
  Mayor Feliks Dautia
Population (2011)
  Total 1,518
Time zone MSK (UTC+3)

New Athos or Akhali Atoni (Georgian: ახალი ათონი, Akhali Atoni; Abkhaz: Афон Ҿыц, Afon Ch'yts; Russian: Новый Афон; Novy Afon, Greek: Νέος Άθως, Neos Athos) is a town in the Gudauta raion of Abkhazia, situated some 22 km (14 mi) from Sukhumi by the shores of the Black Sea. The town was previously known under the names Nikopol, Acheisos, Anakopia, Nikopia, Nikofia, Nikopsis, Absara, and Psyrtskha.

New Athos Cave is one of the tourist attractions of Abkhazia,[1]/Georgia.

Ancient History

Anacopia fortress

A large ancient Greek port town of Anacopia was recorded there in the 3rd century. Its ruins are still visible. In the 5th century, Georgians [2] built a fortress on the top of the Iverian Mountain. Anacopia was the capital of the Abkhazian princedom in the orbit of the Byzantine Empire and then of the Abkhazian Kingdom after the archon Leon II declared himself a king in the late 8th century. Later, the capital was moved to Kutaisi.

Anacopia was ceded to Byzantine Empire by Demetre in 1033 but was retaken by Georgians in 1072 among the other territories Georgia gained as a result of the Empire's defeat at Manzikert at the hands of Seljuks.


Located between the Black Sea and the Iverian Mountain, New Athos is 17 km far from Gudauta, 22 from Sukhumi and 84 from the Russian borders at Vesyoloye, a village near the city of Sochi.


Vitali Smyr was reappointed as Mayor on 10 May 2001 following the March 2001 local elections.[3]

On 8 May 2003, Smyr was appointed Minister for Agriculture and released as Mayor of New Athos.[4] On 19 May, Feliks Dautia was appointed his successor.[5]

List of mayors

# Name Entered office Left office President Comments
Heads of the Town Administration:
Vitali Smyr 1995 [6] 8 May 2003 [4] Vladislav Ardzinba
Feliks Dautia 19 May 2003 [5] 12 February 2005
12 February 2005 29 May 2011 Sergei Bagapsh
29 May 2011 Present Alexander Ankvab

Main sights


St. Simon the Canaanite church in the New Athos (VI–VIII cc.)
Psyrtskha railway station
New Athos Cave

In 1874 Russian monks from the overcrowded Rossikon Monastery on Mount Athos arrived to the Caucasus in order to find a place for possible resettlement. They feared that the Ottoman Empire would oust the Russians from Athos after the outbreak of the impending Russo-Turkish War. They selected Psyrtskha, and the Neo-Byzantine New Athos Monastery, dedicated to St. Simon the Canaanite, was constructed there in the 1880s with funds provided by Tsar Alexander III of Russia. Eventually Russian monks were permitted to stay in the "old" Athos, and the New Athos monastery had much less occupancy than anticipated.

In 1924, during the Soviet persecution of religion, the monastery was closed. It was later used as a storage facility, tourist base, hospital and museum. Its return to the Orthodox Church began in 1994, after the end of the war.

The scenic setting of the New Athos monastery by the sea has made it a popular destination with Russian tourists visiting Abkhazia.[7]

Hydroelectric power station

New Athos has a small hydroelectric power station and artificial lake on the river Psyrtskha, close to the old Church of St. Simon the Canaanite. The station was built by the monks of the monastery between 1892 and 1903 and repaired in 1922. It remained broken for over forty years before being repaired again it was re-opened on 4 June 2012. It produces an estimated 100 kW per hour for the monastery which still owns it.[8][9]


Main article: New Athos Cave

New Athos cave is a karst cave in the Iverian Mountain, few km far from the town.[10] Since 1975 it is served by the New Athos Cave Railway.[11]

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

New Athos is twinned with the following city:

See also


  1. 1 2 Abkhazia's status is disputed. It considers itself to be an independent state, but this is recognised by only a few other countries. The Georgian government and most of the world's other states consider Abkhazia de jure a part of Georgia's territory. In Georgia's official subdivision it is an autonomous republic, whose government sits in exile in Tbilisi.
  2. Georgia in Antiquity: A History of Colchis and Transcaucasian Iberia, by David Braund, p. 54
  3. "Выпуск № 92". Apsnypress. 10 May 2001. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  4. 1 2 Выпуск № 088. Apsnypress (in Russian). 8 May 2003. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  5. 1 2 "Выпуск № 095". Apsnypress. 19 May 2003. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  6. Kazenin, Konstantin (19 May 2003). "Первый месяц "окопного" правительства: Абхазия в СМИ 1-18 мая 2003". REGNUM News Agency. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  7. International Crisis Group, Abkhazia: Deepening Dependence, p. 6
  8. "4 июня в Новом Афоне торжественно откроют ГЭС на реке Псырцха.". Apsnypress. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  9. "В Новом Афоне ввели в эксплуатацию малую ГЭС на реке Псырцха.". Apsnypress. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  10. New Athos Cave at
  11. New Athos Cave Railway at
  12. "Между городами Новый Афон и Сремски-Карловцы подписан Договор о сотрудничестве". Apsnypress. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
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