Otap (or Otapi) is a village and municipality in Ochamchira District, Abkhazia, a partially-recognized state claimed by Georgia. The village lies on the Otapi River. Otap is noted for its karst cave, Abrskil Cave, which is a tourist attraction in the area.

Village and municipality
Municipal location within Ochamchira District (shaded orange)
Municipal location within Ochamchira District (shaded orange)
Otap is located in Abkhazia
Location of Otap
Otap is located in Georgia
Otap (Georgia)
Coordinates: 42°55′18″N 41°32′43″E / 42.92167°N 41.54528°E / 42.92167; 41.54528Coordinates: 42°55′18″N 41°32′43″E / 42.92167°N 41.54528°E / 42.92167; 41.54528
CountryGeorgia (Abkhazia[1])
DistrictOchamchira District
 • District head (as of 2010)Murman Dzhopua
 • TotalApprox. 150
Time zoneUTC+3 (MSK)


Otap (or Otapi) is also known by several other names such as Atap-Tsarakhmul, Tskar-Khumul, Tskarkhumuli and Tskhar-Khumul.


Otap is in the northwestern part of Georgia and in the central-eastern part of Abkhazia. Within Ochamchira district it is in the central-northern area, to the northwest of Tkvarcheli and to the southeast of Tsebelda (Lata).[2][3] Populated towns within 5 km (3.1 mi) distance from the Otap are the Mramba (3.1 km (1.9 mi)), the Akhyvaa (3.7 km (2.3 mi)), the Aymara (4.2 km (2.6 mi)) and the Androu (4.8 km (3.0 mi)).[4]

The town is situated in a very mountainous terrain in the Greater Caucasus at an elevation of 255 metres (837 ft). It experiences snowfall for a considerable duration of the year. The climate is cold and harsh during the winter months.

Mountains in this area of Abkhazia include Mount Achimedzmakh, Eisirkhu (1,237 metres (4,058 ft)), Atvazhukhu (895 metres (2,936 ft)) and Beduk (392 metres (1,286 ft)).[5][6] Gora Atvazhu-Khu and Gora Beduk are the nearest mountains, which surround the town, within 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) distance.[4] Ablaskira Cave lies at an altitude of 600–700 m (2,000–2,300 ft).

The Otap River flows through the village and continues south. Mokva River is another river that flows through this part of Abkhazia. Approximately 20 km (12 mi) to 25 km (16 mi) north of the village is the greater Kodori River, which eventually flows into the Black Sea. Two other small rivers which flow close to the town are the Ulys and the Dzhandzhali-Kvara Rivers.[4]


Before the 1992-1993 Georgian-Abkhaz war, up to 125 families lived in Otap.[7] The population of the village has declined considerably due to conflict in the region. As of 2010, Otap contains about 50 houses and buildings.


The nearest railroad is Stantsiya, Gupi, which is 11.1 km (6.9 mi) away from the town. The nearest airport is at Sukhumi dranda(SUI) 18 mi (29 km) and Georgia is 41.2 km (25.6 mi) away.[4][6]

Abrskila CaveEdit

There are two caves of note in the immediate region: Abrskila and Achkityzga.

Abrskil Cave (or "Abrskila") is a notable landmark in the area and it is named after the hero of the Abkhazian national epos, Abrskil. According to Prof. Shalwa Inal-yipa, it is the biggest cave in Caucasia.[8] Characteristics of the cave include interior walls that reach a height of 30–40 meters and this karstic cave reaches a length of about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi),[7] although only 1,500–1,700 metres (4,900–5,600 ft) are accessible to tourists.[9] The Achwats stream flows out of the cave and into the Duab River. The part of the cave which is open to tourists consists of four halls with stalactites and stalagmites. At the cave entrance, tourists can view a waterfall, as well as the Great Abkhazian Wall towers.[10] On June 6, 2010, President Sergey Bagapsh visited the village of Otap and the Abrskil Cave with MP Zaur Adleiba and the Ochamchira district governor Murman Dzhopua and pledged to provide the assistance needed to restore a tourist route to Abrskil cave.[7] The villagers of Otap rely heavily on tourists visiting this cave for their livelihoods and selling locally produced farm goods to them.[7] The Abkhaz state-owned company, Chernomorenergo, has been responsible for providing the cave with electricity to light up the tunnels and attract more tourists to fuel the local economy.[7]

Peshchera Achkityzga Cave is situated on the side of a cliff within 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) distance from the town of Otap.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Abkhazia is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Abkhazia and Georgia. The Republic of Abkhazia unilaterally declared independence on 23 July 1992, but Georgia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory and designates it as a territory occupied by Russia. Abkhazia has received formal recognition as an independent state from 7 out of 193 United Nations member states, 1 of which has subsequently withdrawn its recognition.
  2. ^ Google Maps (Map). Google. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  3. ^ Bing Maps (Map). Microsoft and Harris Corporation Earthstar Geographics LLC. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d e "Otap'i, Abkhazia, Georgia". Travelingluck. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  5. ^ Shelley, Maryann (1956). Karst and caves in the Caucasus. Study (Field Research Projects). p. 30.
  6. ^ a b "Otap'i, Georgia Page". Fallingrian.com. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  7. ^ a b c d e "President Sergey Bagapsh Promised to Help Village of Otap Restore Unique Tourist Route to Abrskila Cave". Government of Abkhazia. June 10, 2010. Archived from the original on March 27, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
  8. ^ Shinkuba, Bagrat. "Regarding The Myth of "Abriskil". Archived from the original on 30 May 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  9. ^ "Ochamchira Landmarks – Abrskil Cave in Otap". Advantour. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
  10. ^ "Ochamchira Landmarks – Abrskil Cave in Otap". Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2010.

External linksEdit