Pitsunda


Pitsunda

Pitsunda ( _ab. ПиUnicode|ҵунда, Georgian: ბიჭვინთა - "Bichvinta" _ru. Пицунда, ) is a resort town in Gagra district of the Republic of Abkhazia. It is situated on the shore of the Black Sea 25 km south from Gagra.

The town was founded by the Greeks in the 5th century BC as a trade colony Pityus or Pitiunt (Πιτυος). [CathEncy|wstitle=Pityus] Excavations guided by Andria Apakidze unearthed remains of three 4th-century churches and a bath with superb mosaic floors. The former "Great Pityus" harbour is now a mere lake within the town. Saint John Chrysostom was exiled there and died near the shore in 407. [CathEncy|wstitle=Pityus] In the 6th century, the town was one of the major political and religious centres of the kingdom of Egrisi (Lazica). An archbishopric of Pitiunt was instituted in 541. In medieval Georgia, the town's name was spelled as "Bichvinta". At the end of the 10th century, King Bagrat III of Georgia built there the magnificent Pitsunda Cathedral which survives to this day and contains vestiges of wall-painting from the 13th and the 16th centuries. Bichvinta also served as the seat of the Georgian Orthodox Catholicate of Abkhazia until the late 16th century when Abkhazia came under the Ottoman hegemony. It is still a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church. [CathEncy|wstitle=Pityus] In the late 13th century, the area housed a short-lived Genoese trade colony called "Pezonda". There are many hotels for Russian tourists, who frequent the area in summertime.

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