ტყვარჩელი, Тҟəарчал, Ткварчели
Tqvarcheli, Tqwarchal, Tkvarcheli

Aerial view of the town

location of Tkvarcheli within Abkhazia
Country Georgia
de facto state Abkhazia[note 1]
District Tkvarcheli
Population (2011)
  Total 5,013
Time zone MSK (UTC+3)

Tkvarcheli (Georgian: ტყვარჩელი [tʼqʼvɑrtʃʰɛli]; Abkhaz: Тҟəарчал, Tqwarchal; Russian: Ткварчели, Tkvarcheli) is a town in Abkhazia,[note 1] Georgia. It is situated on the river Ghalidzga (Aaldzga) and a railroad connects it with Ochamchire.


Coal mining, which began in the area in 1935, grew in importance during the Second World War, especially after the Donbass was lost during the Nazi invasion. Tkvarcheli was given town status on 9 April 1942 [1]

During the War in Abkhazia (1992-3), Tkvarcheli withstood, through Russian humanitarian and military aid, an uneasy siege by the Georgian forces. Since 1995, it is the centre of the newly formed Tkvarcheli District. On 27 September 2008, President Sergei Bagapsh awarded it the honorary title of Hero City.[1]


Coal-mining has been the town's main industry ever since although now the Soviet mines are closed and coal is quarried only by the Abkhaz-Turkish Tamsaş company using the open pit method. Tamsaş's tax payments account for 75% of the Tkvarcheli district's budget however, the company was criticised for neglecting environmental requirements.[2] Construction of a new cement plant is planned now, its output to be used for the Olympic construction projects in Sochi.[3] Georgia regards all this investment as illegal, in clear violation of the 1996 CIS restrictions[4] and has arrested several vessels, loaded with coal from Tkvarcheli, in its territorial waters, a measure that has reportedly brought Tamsaş to the verge of bankruptcy.[5]


View of the Akarmara ghost town near Tkvarcheli

The town's population was 21,744 in 1989. The three main ethnic groups were Abkhaz (42.3%), Russians (24.5%) and Georgians (23.4%).[6] As a result of the War in Abkhazia the town's industries all but stopped and its population decreased greatly and was between 7,000 and 8,000 in 2004 according to some sources[7] and only 4,800 according to others.[8] At the time of the 2003 census, its population was 4,786. By the time of the 2011 census, it had increased to 5,013. Of these, 66.5% were Abkhaz, 16.0% Georgian, 9.7% Russian, 1.4% Mingrelian, 1.3% Ukrainian, 1.1% Armenian, 0.4% Greek and 0.1% Svan.[9]


  1. 1 2 Abkhazia's status is disputed. It considers itself to be an independent state, but this is recognised by only a few other countries. The Georgian government and most of the world's other states consider Abkhazia de jure a part of Georgia's territory. In Georgia's official subdivision it is an autonomous republic, whose government sits in exile in Tbilisi.


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Coordinates: 42°51′N 41°41′E / 42.850°N 41.683°E / 42.850; 41.683

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