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(so͝okho͞o`mē), Abkhaz Sukhum, city (2011 pop. 62,914), capital of AbkhaziaAbkhazia
or Apsny
, autonomous republic (2011 pop. 240,705), 3,300 sq mi (8,547 sq km), in Georgia, between the Black Sea and the Greater Caucasus. Sukhumi (the capital) and Gagra are the chief cities.
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, a region in W Georgia that has had de facto independence since the 1990. Located on the Black Sea, it is a port and a rail junction and a subtropical resort, whose sulfur baths have been frequented since Roman times. The Greek colony of Dioscurias was founded on the site of the city in the 6th cent. B.C. It was known as Sebastopolis under Rome and Byzantium. Russia acquired it in 1810 as the Turkish fortress of Sukhum-Kale. Sukhumi was the center of a guerrilla war between Georgian military units and Abkhazian irregulars in the early 1990s that led to de facto independence for the region. The Sukhumi Military Road crosses the Caucasus at the Klukhori Pass (9,235 ft/2,815 m) and continues SW to Sukhumi. It is c.120 mi (190 km) long.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city in the Georgian SSR; capital of the Abkhazian ASSR. Port on the Black Sea; railroad station. Situated on a wide bay and on the slopes of hills with elevations to 140 m. Population, 118,000 (1976; 44,000 in 1939; 65,000 in 1959; 102,000 in 1970).

In the sixth century B.C., Greek merchants founded the city of Dioscurias near what is now Sukhumi. The city was conquered in the first century A.D. by the Romans, who erected the fortress of Sebastopolis in its place. In the early sixth century the city belonged to Byzantium. In Georgian chronicles it was called Tskhum, a name first mentioned in works dating from 736. In the 12th century it became a Genoese trading post, and in the 16th century it fell to Turkish feudal lords, who built a fortress there in 1724 and called it Sukhum-Kale (Sukhum Fortress).

Sukhumi was united with Russia in 1810 and made a city in 1847. After the liquidation of the Abkhazian Principality in 1864, it became the administrative center of the Sukhumi Military District. In 1903 a Social Democratic group was organized in Sukhumi as part of the Batumi committee of the RSDLP. The working people of Sukhumi participated in the revolutionary events of 1905 and 1917. In November 1917 the local body of the counterrevolutionary Transcaucasian Commissariat seized power in Sukhumi. In March 1918 the Bolshevik organizations of Abkhazia staged an armed uprising. Soviet power was proclaimed in Sukhumi on April 8; however, troops of the counterrevolutionary Transcaucasian Seim captured the city on May 17, 1918. The city was liberated on Mar. 4, 1921, by the working people of Abkhazia, with the support of the Red Army. In March 1921, Sukhumi became the capital of the Abkhazian ASSR.

During the years of socialist construction, Sukhumi has become an important cultural and economic center. It has industrial enterprises that process local agricultural goods, for example, an experimental tobacco combine, canneries, and an enterprise of the leather and footwear industry. The city also has a plant for the production of instruments and an experimental plant for the manufacture of gas equipment. The Sukhumi Hydroelectric Power Plant is situated on the Gumista River.

Educational institutions in Sukhumi include the D. I. Gulia Abkhazian Institute of Language, Literature, and History of the Academy of Sciences of the Georgian SSR, the Institute of Experimental Pathology and Therapy of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR, which has a monkey nursery, the Abkhazian branch of the Scientific Research Institute of Treatment at Health Resorts and Physiotherapy of the Ministry of Public Health of the Georgian SSR, a branch of the All-Union Institute of Tea and Subtropical Crops, and the Sukhumi Botanical Garden of the Academy of Sciences of the Georgian SSR. The city also has a pedagogical institute, an industrial technicum, and schools of medicine, cultural education, music, and art. Notable museums include the Abkhazian State Museum of Local Lore, the house-museum of D. I. Gulia, and the S. Ia. Chanba Sukhumi Drama Theater.

Contemporary buildings in Sukhumi include the Government Building of the Abkhazian ASSR (1932–39, architects V. A. Shchuko and V. G. Gel’freikh), the Hotel Abkhazia (1938; architects Iu. S. Golubev, Iu. V. Shchuko), the Chanba Theater (1952; architect M. Chkhikvadze), and the Sukhumi branch of the All-Union Institute of Tea and Subtropical Crops (1968; architects S. Kipshidze and others).

Sukhumi is a climatic balneological health resort. Summers are very warm (average July temperature, 24°C), and winters are mild (average January temperature, 6°C). Annual precipitation is approximately 1,460 mm. Treatment includes climatotherapy and sea bathing (from May through October). Mineral waters, including nitric sulfate-chloride-sodium-calcium waters and weak hydrogen sulfide-methane waters, are used mostly for therapeutic baths. Health resorts in Sukhumi provide treatment for the same diseases and disorders as the Gagra health resorts. Lodging is available in sanatoriums, houses of rest, and guest houses.

Sukhumi is a major tourist center of the Caucasus, especially for cruises on the Black Sea. The city has 20 all-Union tourist routes and two tourist centers. Novyi Afon, situated near Sukhumi, is a popular tourist attraction.


Trapsh, M. M. Trudy, vol. 2.
Drevnii Sukhumi. Sukhumi, 1969.
[Sikharulidze, V. N.] Sukhumi. [Guidebook. Sukhumi, 1967.]
Po Zakavkaz’iu: Putevoditel. Moscow, 1972.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a port and resort in W Georgia, on the Black Sea: site of an ancient Greek colony. Pop.: 134 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005