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25 July 2011


Laurence Mitchell

Believe it or not, I have very nearly visited Abkhazia on two occasions last year. Both times I had written permission to enter by way of Georgia and proceed to Sukhumi, the capital, where I could collect a visa. The trouble is, the first time I was delayed by the Icelandic volcanic dust cloud and the second by not being able to get on an overnight train to western Georgia. The documentation is very strict in that you have to specify the exact day on which you enter.
Anyone interested should maybe look at Lonely Planet's Thorntree forum for further information. There's also a bit in the new (4th) edition of the Bradt Georgia guide, which I updated (although, understandably, the Georgians are not very keen on you going there!).
I have been lucky enough to visit Trans-Dnestria and Nagorno-Karabakh (lovely visa sticker but don't stick it in your passport if you ever want to visit Azerbaijan again), and the Turkish republic of North Cyprus, which is also widely unrecognised. I'll probably post something on these on my blog - http://eastofelveden.wordpress.com - in the near future. Please excuse the shameless self-promotion.
By the way, Nakhichevan is merely an exclave of Azerbaijan and not a wannabe independent republic. Other unrecognised states that immediately spring to mind include Somaliland and Puntland, which are parts of the old Somalia. And South Ossetia, of course.

Bill Murray

So, the Georgians didn't go out of their way to help you get to the border with Abkhazia, eh? About having to specify your exact date of arrival, for what it's worth (probably not much to most people), I've read the same is true of Turkmenistan.

Quite right about South Ossetia in Georgia and North Cyprus (nice one), and the unrecognized parts of old Somalia. Here's an article about a visit to the "Republic of Somaliland":


Nice work, Laurence. And I may not exactly be among thousands here, but I envy you your visit to Trans-Dnestria.


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