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Yupshar Canyon

The Yupshar Canyon in Abkhazia is a popular tourist attraction. Picturesque peaks, cliffs, observation platforms are located between the Gega waterfall and the high-mountainous Lake Ritsa. You can reach the site by cab, car or bus as part of an organized tour group.

Brief information about the canyon

Yupshar Canyon
Yupshara Canyon in Abkhazia.

Yupshar Canyon is a natural monument located in Abkhazia. Other names of the object among tourists in the region: “Stone Bag”, Yupsharskaya Gorge. The gorge is part of the Ritsa National Park.

The cliffs are located at 450 m above sea level. The height of the canyon reaches 400 m. The depth of the crack in the rocks in some sections is more than 30 m.

Where is Yupshar Canyon

The canyon is located in the Gudauta district of the Republic of Abkhazia. The natural site in the western Caucasus as part of the national park is on the way to Lake Ritsa.

The rocks are covered with mosses, ivy, and other plants. A meandering river runs through the gorge. Tourists can drive for several kilometers along a mountain corridor with a narrow strip of sky.

History of the origins of the canyon

The canyon was formed in the process of natural and historical development of rocks, natural phenomena. Many millions of years ago tectonic processes took place on the territory of the modern state of Abkhazia. According to scientists, there was a strong earthquake at the site of the canyon and a deep fissure was formed in the rocks.

Now here flows the river Yupshara length of about 12 km. Gradually the waters of the river smoothed out the irregularities of the rocks. On the walls of the canyon there are species of ferns, relict boxwood, mosses and shrubs.

Gradually a geological landscape was formed near the lake. Ritz. The length of the canyon is about 8 km. The gully runs between closely spaced cliffs.

Across the river Yupshara built 11 bridges, a section of 11 km is used to organize rafting of different categories. On the territory of the mountain canyon laid asphalt road. There is a fence on the difficult areas.

The gap between the peaks is 20 m. A narrow strip of sky can be seen from inside the natural object. On the territory grow rare flora, including: Kolakovsky Bellflower, Camille’s Leptica, Thyme of Bzyb, Dioscorea caucasian, Ghegsky Vosborum, Gentian, etc.

The narrowest place of Yupshar Canyon

The narrowest part of the canyon is the Yupshar Gate. In the section of the nature monument, the distance between the rocks is no more than 20 meters. From the canyon, it seems to tourists that the peaks are almost closing. After the Yupshar Gate, there is a steep ascent leading to the high-mountainous Lake Ritsa.

The narrowest part of the canyon
Only about 20 meters distance between the rocks.

Attractions in and around the canyon

In the vicinity of the canyon are waterfalls, platforms, which offer picturesque views of the slopes with thickets of moss, ferns, relict boxwoods, shrubs and other rare plants.

Tourists are recommended to see along the way:

  • an observation deck;
  • Gegsky, Men’s and Maiden’s Tears waterfalls;
  • lake. Ritz;
  • “The Kissing Stone;
  • Blue Lake, etc.

Stone of Kisses

Near the gorge, in front of the Yupshar Gate, there is a huge fragment of rock. The boulder is romantically called the “Kissing Stone” and is considered a symbol of eternal love. The place has become popular with locals and travelers.

According to legend, if the two lovers climb the boulder and kiss each other, they will be happy together for a long time. Nearby, across the street, is the Balcony of Wishes. This is the name of a small ledge in the steep slope. According to beliefs, it is inhabited by spirits who grant wishes.

Stone of Kisses
A kissing stone for lovers.

Observation deck

The second name of the observation platform Chabgarian Cornice is “Farewell to the Motherland”. According to historical information, a tragic event took place on this site during World War II. While driving from the site into a deep ravine, a bus carrying military personnel fell. According to other versions, German prisoners were transported in the vehicle.

Over time, the place became popular with travelers. The site offers picturesque views of sheer cliffs, mountains and relic vegetation. There are springs with clean drinking water near the site.

Waterfall Women’s Tears

On the road to Lake Ritsa there is a waterfall Maiden’s tears. The height of the water flow is 55 mm. The waterfall is separated from the Bzyb River by a mountain road. From the city of Gagra object is remote at 25 km.

The length of the waterfall is about 100 meters along the Ritza Highway. The water seeps through the limestone rocks and cascades down in numerous streams. The waterfall is surrounded by thickets of evergreen ivy and shrubs. Beautiful romantic legends are associated with the place.

The waterfall is referred to as a sliding waterfall, because. streams roll down a steep slope, not off a cliff. The site is fed by moisture from the high mountain meadows, and in the spring by meltwater that flows down the high slopes. After seeping through the thicknesses of limestone, the fluid is clear and cold.

During the snowmelt, the waterfall is the most abundant and picturesque. During dry periods, there is less flow and the water jets are hidden behind boxwood and ivy. Tourists and locals tie brightly colored ribbons as a keepsake and ask for a wish to come true.

Waterfall Women's Tears
Woman’s Tears Falls flows in streams down the rocks.

Men’s Tears Falls

At a short distance from the Yupshar Gate is a picturesque waterfall Men’s Tears. It is so named for the combination with the object Women’s Tears. The waterfalls are united by a single legend about a pair of lovers. Adgur and Amra were separated by a sorceress. They could only be together by becoming streams of water.

Tourists can see the waterfall on the way from Gagra to the high-mountain lake Ritsa. The brook descends from the peaks of the Caucasus Range and falls almost steeply from a level of 11 meters into a small stone bowl at the edge of the trail. The cascade of water is clearly visible from the road. The site is part of the Ritza National Reserve.

The waterfall looks spectacular during the off-season, during heavy rains and melting snows in the spring. In the hot summer, the water jets diminish, becoming small streams. Near the waterfall there is parking, stores with local products (honey, sweets, fruit), souvenirs.

Jets of waterfall Men's tears
Jets of waterfall Men’s tears fall into a stone bowl.

Blue Lake

A small body of water in the mountains is characterized by the unusual color of the water of blue shades. The lake is located at 13 km of the Ritza Highway and does not freeze all year round. There are no fish or plankton growing in it. The water body is characterized by an increased concentration of mineral salts.

The lake is of karst origin, its area is about 180 square meters, the depth can reach 76 m. It is fed by the waters of an underground river, which originates on the slopes of Mount Akhtsykh. According to one legend, the reservoir was formed on the site of the death of a priest.

Gegsky waterfall

Near the canyon there is a trail leading to the picturesque Gegsky waterfall. The object is formed by the waters of the Gega River, which passes the karst gorge and falls from a height of 70 m down. Cold water flows out of a narrow crevice in the rock. The liquid is clean and drinkable.

In the vicinity of the falls were shooting a Soviet film about Sherlock Holmes, were filmed episodes of “Sportloto 82”, “Rickey-Tickey-Tavi” and other popular films.

Gegsky waterfall
The height of Gega waterfall reaches 70 meters.

Lake Ritsa

After visiting Yupshar Canyon tourists are recommended to go to the lake. Ritz. It is mountainous, of glacio-tectonic origin, located in the Western Caucasus.

The lake is considered one of the largest on the territory of Abkhazia, its area is 1.5 sq. km. The depth of the reservoir in some areas reaches 116 m. It is surrounded by dense forests and majestic mountain peaks.

The water in the lake changes color depending on the weather conditions and the season. In spring and summer, light greens, rich emeralds, and yellows prevail. In the fall and winter, the water body is grayish, blue, and blue in color.

On the eastern bank of the site is a parking lot for tourists with space for tents. The lake has a comfortable pebble beach with a fenced area for swimming.

However, the water is often cool. Ritsa can be reached by road, which passes through the valleys of the rivers Yupshara, Bzyb, and goes further to the resort of Auadhara.

Lake Ritsa
Lake Ritsa at sunrise is magnificent.

How to get to the canyon

There is no public transportation to the canyon.

You can get to the natural landmark in the following ways:

  • by car (personal or rented);
  • by cab;
  • on an equipped tourist bus.

It is convenient to travel by car from the resort town of Gagra. You need to follow Demerjipa Street, go down Sukhumi highway to the E-60 highway. After 9 km, turn right and go to the canyon on road SH11. It takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to travel.

Excursion routes to the site are organized from Gagra and other settlements of the Abkhazian region.

You can make a reservation at a local travel agency and drive through the canyon in UAZ, jeeps or as part of a bus tour. The plan is to stop tourists at interesting parts of the road to the gorge.

How to get to the canyon
The canyon is accessible by bus.

Tips for tourists

Recommendations for tourists:

  1. On the way to the canyon by your own car, it is important to consider the peculiarities of serpentine trails. On some narrow sections it may be difficult to separate two cars. On the way to the natural attractions there are steep turns.
  2. Lovers of rafting can raft down the river Yupshare in summer as part of organized tourist groups.
  3. It is not recommended to make loud noises in the gorge in order to prevent the risk of rockfalls.

The weather in the mountains is changeable, so tourists need to take warm clothes (jackets, stoles, jackets, raincoats, etc.).

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