Day #5 Tkuarchal – Abandoned In The Mountains [Photos]

Day #4 My Day Off [Photos]

Today was the day, no rain and off to Ochamchire! Sergej came with me and with the help of some locals we found the right mashrutkas to reach the bus station where our bus to the abandoned district capital would take off. After talking to another local couple to find the right bus, we were convinced by them to take another bus. Into the mountains to the miners town of Tkuarchal. By the time we pulled out, the bus was filled up with people and goods that should be delivered to a shop in the center. The ride took longer than expected, since the bus got a flat tire on the highway. The sun was burning while the driver and two volunteers were fixing the problem. We reached Tkuarchal, delivered the goods all together and Ruslan and I got off at the last stop. ”Hey! Hello!”. Joseph, he said, his name was, called us over to offer us to drive us around the city and some sights outside the town. Since he wanted 2000 RUB for this service, we refused and made our own way through the streets of the town. The place we got out of the bus was a rather nasty square directly connected to a shabby market and four streets that seemed more or less unspectacular, although we quickly found an old theatre, that seemed have survived a bombing, since its interior was bursted, the inner walls darkened. The town got pretty grand a few streets away from the square. Wide streets, grand houses and even fresh pavement and young trees were a lot on site. If a majority of the houses weren’t empty, the city would seem quite prosperous. And it had been before the war. It got rich with coal during Soviet times. Now it was more of an empty shell. ”Interesting isn’t it”, an elderly white man with full white hair commented me taking a photo of two buildings, one of them empty and burned out. ”Indeed”, I replied. He introduced himself as Rusland and as soon as he learned that Ruslan was a Russian speaker, the conversation switched to Russian language. He told us that he was Megrelian and had stayed in Abkhazia during and after the war. This was his city. Next to the box of cigarettes in his chest pocket he had a joint, pulled it out, lightet it and offered us: ”do you smoke’?’. Quite suprised, we refused. I saw my chance to ask him a lot of questions, when another guy came along, Timur. Black hair, tanned skin, well dressed and a strong handshake. He was a friend of Ruslan (megrelian) and among other things South Ossetian. It was the perfect situation… I thought. They talked a bit with Ruslan (russian) about sights of the city. When I finally wanted to ask about their friendship and lives they said they really had to go, giving us their cell phone numbers to call them in case we get in trouble. I was really disappointed. It could have been the most interesting conversation so far, since I also had a Russian and English speaker with me. A shame. Also a shop owner that we met, didn’t seem to be to keen about talking about the conflict topic with us. Rather she told us places to go and where to find war monuments. Tkuarcheli is quite impressively built in a lower mountains region and thus there is a lower and an upper part of town. When we reached the lower part, the former glance of the city got very pale. Restoration hadn’t taken place at all and the impression the buildings and streets made was more sad and lost. Children were even harder to find here. While in the upper part ‘gangs’ of children were playing on the streets or relaxing on a depressive looking playground, here we only saw a few children with their parents, backgammon matches played by grown ups. The old factory also was in the lower part of town. Many sites were not in use anymore, overgrown by grass and as we explored the old area we were accompanied by the sounds of crickets and bees instead of steam engines and conveyors. When tried to find the square where we landed again, our way led through grey buildings between green forest and the sound of the flowing river. Mosquitos stayed close to our side. We went through green community areas with playgrounds that were out of use, passed houses that looked abandobale but in front of them and out of the windows still hung fresh laundry. Like in many places in Abkhazia most dogs seemed to be wounded. Horses grazed under advertisments in the city, cows were looking for food in the litter bins. As we drove out with the bus, the city seemed even more lonely and abandoned since it was even harder to notice the bit of life that was left in that place.

© Jan Fjornes


  • ბლოგ-პოსტში მოყვანილი მოსაზრება ეკუთვნის ავტორს და შეიძლება არ ასახავდეს JRC-ის პოზიციას.
  • “აფხაზური დღიურები” ჯამში მოიცავს 5 დღეს.
  • ბლოგ-პოსტები, ასევე ითარგმნება ქართულ ენაზე.
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