Toponymy of the Sukhum-Akua Region According to Medieval Narrative and Cartographic Sources, by Denis Gopia

Sukhum (Aqw'a in Abkhaz) is the capital city of Abkhazia

Sukhum (Aqw'a in Abkhaz) is the capital city of the Republic of Abkhazia.

Karadeniz İncelemeleri Dergisi, Sayı 2Топонимика региона Сухум-Акуа по средневековым нарративным и картографическим источникам
(Toponymy of the Sukhum-Akua Region According to Medieval Narrative and Cartographic Sources)

Author: Denis K. Gopia
Year: 2024
Place of Publication: Sukhum / Aqw'a, Abkhazia
Published by: Abkhazian Historical Society [Aamҭaқәa Journal, No. 1-2.]
Number of pages: 37 (pp.53-73 / and 12 maps)
Language: Russian

 PREFACE (Translated from Russian)

Sukhum, the capital of the Republic of Abkhazia, has a profound history dating back about 2,700 years, according to the latest data. The city essentially embodies the history of the country. Therefore, the accurate identification and localisation of all its various names, and, of course, the time and conditions of its founding are of significant importance in modern life. Many renowned researchers have addressed these issues for over a century and a half (F. Dubois de Montpére, D.I. Gulia, L.N. Solovyev, M.M. Trapsh, Y.N. Voronov, G.K. Shamba, G.A. Lordkipanidze, among others). In this work, these fascinating inquiries are continued by the young historian Denis Gopia, with the aid of medieval European maps from the 14th to the 18th centuries he discovered. He is a graduate student at the Abkhazian Institute for Geographical Research named after D.I. Gulia of the Abkhazian Academy of Sciences.

Researchers have more or less figured out the names and locations of the city in ancient and early medieval times, although even here, the latest excavations by A.B. Belinsky and I.I. Tsvinaria in the village of Adzyubzha have sparked debate. The situation with the medieval names of the city is more complicated: Tskhum – Sukhum and “porto megrelo” – “Kelasur”. The author rightly, in my opinion, demonstrated that all the medieval toponyms (rivers, hills, settlements) located within and around the current city of Sukhum, have an underlying ancient Abkhazian character (“couleur locale”) with secondary Kartvelian, Italian, and Turkish layers. In short, the toponym Akuа is associated with Bagrat’s castle, Tskhum – with the Basla-Kelasur interfluve, “porto megrelo” – with the mouth of the Kelasur river.

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