New Athos
ახალი ათონი, Афон Ҿыц, Новый Афон, Νέος Άθως
Akhali Atoni, Afon Ch'yts, Novy Afon, Neos Athos
New Athos Monastery
New Athos Monastery
Location of New Athos in Abkhazia
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; 40.8174000
Country Georgia
Partially recognized
independent country
 • MayorFeliks Dautia
 • Total1,518
Time zoneUTC+3 (MSK)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+4

New Athos or Akhali Atoni[b] is a town in the Gudauta raion of Abkhazia[a] 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 Abkhazia's tourist attractions.


Anakopia fortress

The excavations at the Anakopia Fortress which is located at the edge of the town showed that it functioned in the 5–12 centuries CE,[1] though some archeologists date the construction of the defences to 7th century. Anakopia is associated with the fortress of Tracheia mentioned by Prokopius.[2] Anakopia 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.

Anakopia 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.

According to a tradition Simon the Zealot died in Abkhazia having come there on a missionary trip and was buried in Nicopsis. His remains were transferred to Anakopia in the 14–15 centuries.[3]


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.[4]

On 8 May 2003, Smyr was appointed Minister for Agriculture and released as Mayor of New Athos.[5] On 19 May, Feliks Dautia was appointed his successor.[6]

List of mayors

# Name Entered office Left office President Comments
Heads of the Town Administration:
Vitali Smyr 1995 [7] 8 May 2003 [5] Vladislav Ardzinba
Feliks Dautia 19 May 2003 [6] 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 in Abkhazia.

The scenic setting of the New Athos monastery by the sea has made it a popular destination with Russian tourists visiting Abkhazia.[8] An older church of St. Simon the Canaanite, dated to the 9th-10th century and reconstructed in the 1880s, is located near the town, on the Psyrtskha stream.

Hydroelectric power station

New Athos has a small hydroelectric power station and artificial lake on the Psyrtskha river, 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 [sic]" for the monastery which still owns it.[9][10]


Main article: New Athos Cave

New Athos cave is a karst cave in the Iverian Mountain, few km far from the town.[11] Since 1975 it is served by the New Athos Cave Railway.[12]

Twin towns – sister cities

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Georgia (country)

New Athos is twinned with:

See also


  1. ^ a b The political status of Abkhazia is disputed. Having unilaterally declared independence from Georgia in 1992, Abkhazia is formally recognised as an independent state by 5 UN member states (two other states previously recognised it but then withdrew their recognition), while the remainder of the international community recognizes it as as de jure Georgian territory. Georgia continues to claim the area as its own territory, designating it as Russian-occupied territory.
  2. ^


  1. ^ Амичба, Г. А. (1988). Новый Афон и его окрестности (in Russian). Сухуми: Алашара. p. 4.
  2. ^ David, Braund (1994). Georgia in Antiquity. A History of Colchis and Transcaucasian Iberia 550 BC AD 562. Calendon Press. p. 301. ISBN 0198144733.
  3. ^ McDowell, Sean (2016). The Fate of the Apostles: Examining the Martyrdom Accounts of the Closest Followers of Jesus. Routledge. p. 247. ISBN 9781317031895.
  4. ^ "Выпуск № 92". Apsnypress. 10 May 2001. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  5. ^ a b Выпуск № 088. Apsnypress (in Russian). 8 May 2003. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Выпуск № 095". Apsnypress. 19 May 2003. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  7. ^ Kazenin, Konstantin (19 May 2003). "Первый месяц "окопного" правительства: Абхазия в СМИ 1-18 мая 2003". REGNUM News Agency. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  8. ^ International Crisis Group, Abkhazia: Deepening Dependence Archived 27 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine, p. 6
  9. ^ "4 июня в Новом Афоне торжественно откроют ГЭС на реке Псырцха". Apsnypress. 29 May 2012. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  10. ^ "В Новом Афоне ввели в эксплуатацию малую ГЭС на реке Псырцха". Apsnypress. 4 June 2012. Archived from the original on 11 August 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  11. ^ New Athos Cave at Archived 3 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ New Athos Cave Railway at