Culture in a conflicted region
The history of Abkhazia is complex, multifaceted and quite dramatic. A small landmass on the Black Sea, Abkhazia has been historically located between the vast Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Russian Empires. This explains not only its multi-ethnic population, numerous historical and cultural monuments, and international trade, but also the number of conflicts it has experienced. The most recent conflict was the Georgian-Abkhaz War of 1992-93, the result of which was the declaration of independence by Abkhazia as an autonomous republic. This conflict, directly linked to the collapse of the Soviet Union, is known in the newly created republic as the Patriotic War of the People of Abkhazia.