Ghost Town: Tkuarchal was founded in 1942 as an industrial center for Abkhazia. The town was called Twarcheli in Soviet times. It was part of the Abkhaz Autonomous Republic which was part of the Georgian SSR.
Due to the topography of the area, Tkuarchal is geographically divided into two parts: upper and lower. Access between these two areas is by a ring road, a cable car, and a long staircase with a hundred steps.
Tkuarchal is surrounded by mountains. Only one road leads into and out of the town.
When it comes to architecture, Tkuarchal is a unique place. The administrative and public buildings were built by captured German soldiers, meaning that German architects and engineers have left their mark on the city through their interesting building design.
After World War II, Tkuarchal began to develop rapidly and became an industrial center focussed on mining because of the coal deposits in its territory. Between 1950-1970, the town flourished thanks to these deposits.
In the twentieth century, coal exploitation became intense. Even before the collapse of the Soviet Union, coal reserves were depleted. This was one of the reasons why the population of Tkuarchal reduced from 40,000 to 20-25,000. This happened even before the Georgian-Abkhaz war which reduced the population further.
The town of Tkuarchal is a peculiar one to look at. On the slopes of the mountains are high-rise buildings. Residential areas are adjacent to the rocks and waterfalls. Nature combined with the best architecture of Abkhazia. However, at the same time, there were mines and hydroelectric power stations in the town.
At one time, Tkuarchal was a working and cultural town. The schools offered a high level of education, and Tkuarchal was filled with culture and elegant architecture.
During the 1992-1993 war, many buildings were destroyed. Some buildings were so damaged that they fell into disrepair.
During this same year, the city was subjected to a serious blockade. Several hundred residents were caught up in the siege which lasted 413 days.
After the war, many residents left the city. By the end of the 2000s, the population of Tkuarchal had reduced to about 5,000 people.
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