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Abkhazia: A Vacation in a Non-Existent Country

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Jonas Bendiksen During the 1993 war with Georgia, over 10 000 people died, and hundreds of non-Abkhazians were forced to flee the country, leaving behind a decaying city. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen Boys playing on a pier. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen Although Abkhazia is isolated, half-abandoned and still suffering war wounds due to its unrecognized status, both locals and Russian tourists are drawn to the warm waters of the Black Sea. This unr (...)
Jonas Bendiksen My passport with the visa for Abkhazia, a country that in many ways does not exist. The Inguri river bridge forms the border between Georgia and Abkhazia. Although no other country recognizes Abkha (...)
Jonas Bendiksen Babushka "Tanya," an elderly ethnic Russian woman, heads back to her bombed out apartment building after walking her dog. Despite the damages, three apartments remain occupied in the building. Sukh (...)
Jonas Bendiksen Babushka Tanya's run down apartment. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen Babushka Tanya's run down apartment. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen Babushka Tanya's run down apartment. Her building was on the front line between Abkhazian and Georgian forces during the 1993 war. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen Babushka Tanya in front her damaged building, which was on the front line between Abkhazian and Georgian forces in the 1993 war. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen People sailing out on the Black Sea. Gagra, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen A girl steps over a puddle surrounded by damaged buildings. Abkhazia is an unrecognized country on a lush stretch of Black Sea coast. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen Checking in at the Soviet-era resort hotel "Pensionat Energetik," on the Black Sea cost. Back in Soviet Days, Abkhazia rivalled Sochi and the Crimean Peninsula for summer vacations. Gagra, Abkhazia (...)
Jonas Bendiksen A Russian tourist girl in a Soviet-era resort "Pensionat Energetik," on the coast of Gagra. Gagra, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen A residential area of Sukhum. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen An abandoned crane doubles as a diving board. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen A boy dives off an abandoned ship. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen An abandoned crane doubles as a diving board. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen A stuffed bear shows his fangs while a Russian tourist swims nearby. Abkhazia is an unrecognized country on a lush stretch of Black Sea coast. They won their independence from the former Soviet rep (...)
Jonas Bendiksen Half-abandoned apartment building. After the 1993 war, hundreds of thousands of non-ethnic Abkhazian fled the country; most of them became refugees in Georgia. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen This prime beach resort town offers pebble beaches and Soviet-era hotels. Pitsunda, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen The damaged "People's Assembly Building" stands like a war memorial in central Sukhum. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen Two men taking an evening stroll on a pier. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen With its lush Black Sea location, Abkhazia is trying to attract Russian tourists, who steadily increase in numbers each year. Here, at a road stop, on the tour bus route, an entrepreneur charges te (...)
Jonas Bendiksen With its lush Black Sea location, Abkhazia is trying to attract Russian tourists, who steadily increase in numbers each year. Here, at a road stop on the tour bus route, an entrepreneur charges 10 (...)
Jonas Bendiksen Damaged apartment building on the outskirts of Sukhum. Some of the apartments are still occupied. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen With its lush Black Sea location, Abkhazia is trying to attract Russian tourists. Here, at a road stop on the tour bus route, an entrepreneur, who charges tourists 10 rubles to photograph his bear, (...)
Jonas Bendiksen A man with Tuberculosis. Abkhazia has high rates of TB. "Doctors Without Borders" supply the DOTS treatment in this hospital. Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen Damaged building. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen Damaged housing block. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen A Russian tourist, dressed in a "USSR" track suit, photographs his friend dressed up in more traditional garments at a pit-stop for tour buses. Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen Freight vessel lies at anchor outside Sukhum. Boats rarely make it as they are often embargoed by Georgian coast guard vessels. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen Kids playing outside an apartment building. Sukhum, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen A woman hauls her goods across the bridge of the Inguri river, which separates Abkhazia from Georgia. Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos