14 Oct 2021
Cafe “Amra” in Abkhazia: Only Memories Left Alive
Once popular among free-minded citizens and the creative intelligentsia of Sukhum/i, today the Amra café is nothing more than a vacant archive of memories among locals and former residents of Abkhazia.
The café was opened in the sixties by the famous Soviet statesman, writer, and journalist Mikhail Bgazhba, whose name is closely linked to the “cultural revival” in Abkhazia; the Amra café would become one of the centers of the Sukhum/i intelligentsia.
Café “Amra”, translated from Abkhazian as “sun”, was a two-story establishment perched on a pier which extended out into the sea. The first floor was a restaurant, the second, a café where the locals liked to sit under umbrellas eating ice cream and drinking coffee and soft drinks. Quite often, dissident-minded people would gather in this café, discussing their dreams of a world one day without borders, enabling them to travel freely.
After the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict, the first floor no longer functioned, but the café on the second floor continued to operate until part of the pier collapsed in 2017. Later, due to the danger of the pier’s total collapse, the building was shut down completely.
Today “Amra” is a dilapidated building that needs major restoration, but despite its dilapidated condition this place is still associated with Sukhum/i before the events of 1992-1993, when it was beautiful, well-maintained, and peaceful.
This material brings together the memories of people, and the cultural memory associated with their youth and lifestyle.