Pitsunda

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Pitsunda

 

a seaside health resort in the Abkhazian ASSR, on a cape of the same name. Situated on the Black Sea, in the Caucasus, Pitsunda is 20 km south of Gagra. Summers are hot, with an average August temperature of 23°C, and winters are mild, with an average January temperature of 6°C. Precipitation totals 1,410 mm per year.

The treatments offered by Pitsunda are aerotherapy, heliotherapy, and thalassotherapy (from May to late October). The disorders treated are nontubercular respiratory ailments, functional disorders of the nervous system, and anemias. There is a broad beach of fine sand.

A hotel with a capacity of 3,000 was erected in the 1960’s; it consists of seven high buildings overlooking the Black Sea (1959–67; architects M. V. Posokhin, A. A. Mndoiants, V. A. Svirskii, and lu. V. Popov and engineers S. Ia. Shkol’nikov and V. S. Nikolaev). Pitsunda also has a tourist hostel and a preserve of Pitsunda pine that covers approximately 200 hectares.

The ancient and medieval city and port of Pityusa (Lamp-sacus), founded by the Greeks, was located on Cape Pitsunda. In the late second and early first centuries B.C., the city was part of the Pontic kingdom. In the late first century B.C. it became a Roman fortress, and in the fourth century A.D., one of the centers of Christianity in the Caucasus. From the fourth to eighth centuries, it was a Byzantine stronghold. In the 780’s, Pityusa became part of the Abkhazian Kingdom, and at the end of the tenth century, part of Georgia. A Genoese trading post (Pezonda) was located there in the 14th and 15th centuries. Pitsunda was under Turkish control in the 17th and 18th centuries and became part of Russia in the early 19th century.

Excavations in the 1950’s uncovered the remains of temples, including a basilica of the fourth or fifth century with a mosaic floor, fortifications, dwellings, and baths. To the northeast of the ancient fortified settlement is a three-aisled, cruciform, domed church of the tenth century that is now a museum. There are 16th-century frescoes in the church’s narthex.

REFERENCES

Pachulia, V. P. Pitsunda. Tbilisi, 1962.
Inadze, M. P. Prichernomorskie goroda drevnei Kolkhidy. Tbilisi, 1968.
Chikviladze, P. Kurort Pitsunda. Tbilisi, 1971.