UNDISCOVERED ABKHAZIA EXPEDITION
UNDISCOVERED ABKHAZIA - An urban explorer's wonderland; July 1st - 12th, 2020
Twenty five years after a bitter civil war left its Black Sea resorts in ruins, the abandoned relics of Abkhazia’s Soviet past have become a major drawcard for the most adventurous travellers. Join award winning foreign correspondent and filmmaker Nick Lazaredes on an extraordinary journey through one of the least visited places on the planet - the de-facto Republic of Abkhazia.
Abkhazia’s status as a separatist state virtually unrecognised by the world, except for Russia and a handful of others, means that few non-Russian tourists make the journey to this former Soviet republic. For those who undertake the challenge there are many rewards. Abkhazia is a place of astonishing natural beauty, covered in pristine ancient forests, turquoise lakes, and dotted with neolithic stone dolmens. A favourite summer getaway of soviet dictators, Abkhazia is slowly restoring its abandoned black sea resorts and parks, and breathing new life into the crumbling Stalin era tourist attractions that made it the most popular holiday destination in the USSR.
On our adventure, we'll travel mind blowing gorges to Lake Ritsa, and Stalin’s dacha. As we venture deeper into the Caucasus mountains, we'll walk through the valley of the seven lakes and continue our journey by off-road vehicle to the remote mountain village of Pskhu where a small community enjoys life in almost splendid isolation.
Abkhazia is an urban explorers wonderland and the photographic opportunities are endless. We'll journey beyond the coastal fringes into the lesser known eastern region of Abkhazia to explore Soviet era ghost towns. Following overgrown paths we'll wander through an astonishing treasure trove of deserted hotels and eerie ruins in what was once a thriving mountain health resort. Along the way we’ll visit another of Abkhazia’s most sacred sites and learn about the seven shrines of Abkhazia before completing our expedition with an incredible journey into one of the world’s largest caves.
EXPEDITION LEADER - NICK LAZAREDES
Nick Lazaredes is an accomplished international correspondent and filmmaker who has reported from around the world for SBS Television, ABC-TV, Al Jazeera and the BBC. A regular visitor to the Caucasus Nick first reported from Abkhazia during the 2008 conflict between Russia and Georgia. He witnessed the celebrations in Sukhumi firsthand on the day Russia formally recognised Abkhazia as an independent state. He has visited both Abkhazia and Georgia several times, most recently in 2017.
Nick established his career as a reporter on the ABC-TV programs Countrywide and Landline, before heading to Russia in early 1992, just months after the collapse of the USSR. Travelling throughout the former Soviet Union as a foreign correspondent Nick reported from the Russian Far East, Central Asia, and Siberia, to the Baltics and Ukraine, charting the twists and turns of the newly independent states. Returning to Australia in 2000 Nick joined SBS Television as a reporter for the Dateline program from around the world. Since 2016, Nick has been an independent correspondent for BBC Television’s international current affairs program Our World and has received numerous international awards iNew York Festivals Silver and Bronze medals.