SUKHUM / AQW'A — The city of Sukhum (Аҟәа / Aqw'a in Abkhaz), the capital of Abkhazia, hosted a grand celebration for City Day on Saturday, July 8. The city administration pulled out all the stops to ensure a variety of activities and entertainment were on hand for both adults and children alike.
The cultural facet of the festivities kicked off at the Central Exhibition Hall. The now-traditional exhibition, themed "Sukhum - a perpetual celebration," took centre stage with a display of 35 remarkable works by local Abkhazian artists. This year's exhibition was underscored by a poignant theme, "places of cultural memory," according to the Central Exhibition Hall's director, Elvira Arsalia.
She detailed that the collection included works capturing cultural memories from different eras. Arsalia shared insights into contributions from artists like Valentin Kontarev, Boris Petrov, Varvara Bubnova, Olga Brendel, Vissarion Tsvizhba, Gennady Ashkaryan, and Levarsa Butba, among others, spanning decades of cultural evolution.
City Day festivities spread across various locations throughout the capital. The Mukhadzhirs (exiles) embankment, known as the "Bridge of Happiness," witnessed a nostalgic recreation of the traditional Abkhazian courtyard “Аҟәа ашҭа”. On display were everyday items from yesteryears, and tents were set up to serve traditional Abkhazian cuisine, with the tantalising aroma of grilled meat wafting through the air.
Enthralling performances by vocal and instrumental ensembles, "Gunda" and "Apsny-folk," resonated with the melodious strains of national songs. Simultaneously, a display of traditional archery by young talents added to the allure, immersing visitors in the rich tapestry of Abkhazian culture.
On the bustling embankment, spectators were treated to a dazzling display of Abkhazian dance by a troupe of young performers, reimagined through a contemporary lens. A dedicated "Classical Music Island" was also set up near the Abkhaz State Drama Theatre. Festival-goers got a chance to bask in the melodious performance by professional musicians, ranging from pianists and saxophonists to violinists and guitarists.
A park adjacent to the drama theatre transformed into an artistic hub, hosting an exhibition of emerging artists and a captivating photo exhibition, "Sukhum: A Journey Through Time."
As the day winded down, the Philharmonic set the stage for the evening's concert “Сықалақь Аҟәа” showcasing a spectacular performance by renowned artists from Abkhazia's entertainment scene along with engaging dance troupes.
Finally, the event culminated in a stunning display of fireworks at the Sukhum Sea Port, truly a cherry on top of a day filled with jubilant celebrations.