Day#1 (2) Monument of post-war Abkhazia: Council of Ministers [Photos]

Day#1-Abkhazia – Impressions of a break-away state.

When I walked back I stopped at the obviously most impressive monument of post-war Abkhazia: The former building of the Council of Ministers. To its feet lies the Gulia Street and the Freedom Park. It is the highest building of the city apparently, yet abandoned. During the war it got partly destroyed, after the war the remains were taken. Now it is empty. I couldn’t withstand the temptation of walking inside. It was interesting, yet sad and somehow frightening. No furniture,meven the bathroom facilities were taken away. No windows, just window shaped holes in the walls. Rubble on the floor, the ceiling coming off. Some walls pitch black from fire, green from dosh, or breached. While I walked through the long and rather dark hallways the smell of mustiness, dust and waste took turns crawling into my nose or they came as combined smell of demolition. Graffiti of smoking rabbits, combat slogans, pleas of forgiveness, declarations of love or simply names of people that have been here decorated the walls of former offices, bathrooms, waiting and conference rooms. Since the lift was more of a rusty cage in a rusty lifting hole and rusty or fallen out doors with no connection to the electricity network, I decided to take the stairs and went to the rooftop. Just like in many of the empty rooms also the staircase was full of graffiti and doodles. And with all the empty beer bottles and cans on the floor, it seemed that the building was frequently visited. All the more strange it occured to me that there was an official document from 1992, written in Georgian language, lying on the stairs, naked, yellowed, and hastily folded. It was an offical order before the war broke out, concerning privatizing of real estate. I quickly decided to take it with me and show it to a Georgian person that could maybe tell me more about it. I reached the top. The view was amazing, above all other buildings, reaching until the Black Sea and major part of the city. In the middle of the roof the Abkazian flag was put on a pole that seemed way too big. Although the building itself wasn’t used anymore, it yet seemed that its size was used for telecommunication antennas that were installed on the rooftop. When I walked back down the dark staircase with the shaky handrail and the doodled walls, I had a lot to think about. The impressions from that massive building, now serving as a monument of war, with a corner for telecommunication purposes gave me a different feeling about the city’s atmosphere on my way back. On the one hand I felt generally more depressed about that place, on the other hand I saw more beauty in things like nature taking over abandoned buildings and I noticed more houses actually being renovated.

© Jan Fjornes

Next chapter of the “Abkhazian Diary” will be published on 18 of September. Title: Day #2 – Registration and First Tourist Encounter in Novi Afon.


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