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Lake Malaya Ritsa

Malaya Ritsa is a little-known “pearl” of Abkhazia. Thousands of tourists make excursions to the famous Lake Ritsa. But not everyone reaches the second point of interest – the “younger brother” Big Ritza.

Characteristics of Lake Malaya Ritsa

Malaya Ritsa

This freshwater lake in Abkhazia, surrounded by forests and mountains, is located in the mountains of the Western Caucasus. It attracts tourists with the beauty of unspoiled nature and the possibility of solitude.

History of appearance

Studies of the reservoir began in the early 20th century. In 1913, a geologist L.K. Konyushnevsky worked here. And in 1914. – The expedition, organized by the Crimean-Caucasian Mountain Club under the leadership of geographer E. И. Morozova-Popova.

Specialists performed measurements to determine the depth and area of the object, and recorded its location on topographic maps.

There are several versions of how the lake was formed. The most famous of them: the reservoir appeared after a powerful collapse of the mountain Pshegishkhva. The shards of rock that broke away from it blocked the flow of water, and this led to the emergence of the lake in the pit. It was formed at the same time as the Big Rice.


The attraction is located east of the Gagra Range, directly in the Yupshar hollow. Despite the fact that the lake is only 300 meters higher above sea level than Bolshaya Ritsa, the walk to it will have about 5 km.


Malaya Ritsa is not shaped like a regular oval. Its maximum length is 530 m, width is 290 m, and depth is almost 80 m.

The depth of the lake
The depth of the lake reaches 80 m.

Flora and fauna of the lake

There are fir trees on the rocks surrounding the lake. Mount Przegishhwa, overhanging the Malaya Ritza, is covered with deciduous trees.

The lake is almost devoid of aquatic vegetation and fish. There are only the following representatives of the fauna:

  • floating beetles;
  • frogs;
  • waterfowl;
  • crested newt.

The latter is listed in the Red Book.

Interesting facts about the attraction

  1. The water is surprisingly clear. You can see the bottom, despite the great depth.
  2. The reservoir is filled with precipitation and melting snow from the mountains. In summer and fall, the water level drops several meters. In August, the temperature of the upper layer of water reaches +20 C°, but in the depths it is much colder, only about +4 C°.
  3. Bathing in Malaya Ritsa is prohibited. The lake belongs to the Ritza Relict National Park.
  4. The banks are steep and in some places even precipitous. It will not be easy to go around the Malaya Ritsa because of the dense vegetation and fallen trees.
  5. Malaya Ritsa is less popular than Bolshaya Ritsa. This is due to the fact that it is not so easy to get to it.
The banks of the Malaya Ritsa are steep and littered with fallen trees.

Legends of Lake Malaya Ritsa

Many years ago there were peace-loving, friendly people living in the mountains. One day the devil instilled anger and hatred into their hearts. A prophet was called to remedy the situation. Pretending to be a vagrant, he knocked on people’s houses, but was refused lodging everywhere.

Only one old woman showed hospitality and was rewarded for it. The prophet warned her that trouble was coming to the village: we must leave. An elderly woman took her grandchildren and left the valley.

When the woman returned, she saw that the village had gone under water. “Knight!” she could only exclaim. The word means “unhappy. After that, the mountain lakes began to be called by consonant names.

There are other legends: of the poor widow, of the girl Ritsa, who drowned in the lake, and her brothers, petrified of grief and turned into mountains.

How to get to Malaya Ritsa

To see Malaya Ritza, you need to get to Ritza Relict National Park. Admission costs 350 rubles. Children are given a 50% discount, and preschoolers are invited for free.

Route to Malaya Ritsa Lake
You can get to the lake by car.

Direct route

It is convenient to get to the place along Sukhumi highway to Ritsinskoe highway. From Sukhumskoe sh. to Bolshaya Ritsa – about 60 km. The road is narrow, but the quality of the asphalt is good.

All along the way, the highway loops between two towering and steep mountain slopes. After entering the park, the road becomes even narrower. On the way you will meet the Yupsharskaya Gorge, another popular site of the national park.

Lake Malaya Ritsa on the map

Best time to visit

Tourists come here in any season, but the attraction is especially spectacular in September – October. The golden fall seems to be reflected in the blue of the reservoir: everything around seems fabulously beautiful.

Is it possible to drive your own car to the attraction

You can reach Bolshaya Ritsa by car. You have to walk the rest of the way.

To get to your destination, you must first arrive at the parking lot near the main lake Ritsa. Once on the grounds, turn left and go around the observation deck. Follow the paved road along the cafe.

Continue on the same road, going uphill through the woods. When you reach one of the corners, you will find an abandoned house. Just behind it is a steep trail.

Go up it and soon you will see signs. You can tell when a landmark is close by the loud croaking of frogs. The ascent from Bolshaya Ritsa takes about 1-1.5 hours.

If you plan to visit this unique place, take a supply of water and food with you: there are no cafes near Malaya Ritsa. Silence, unspoiled nature, colorful scenery pay for the lack of infrastructure.

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