Unlike the other resorts of the Caucasus Coast, Gagra has a rather interesting history of its foundation. The great grandson of the Russian Emperor Paul I, the Duke Alexander Petrovich of Oldenburg, the founder of the St. Petersburg-based Institute of Experimental Medicine, decided that the Caucasus must have the `Russian Monte-Carlo,` and it was the settlement Gagra that he chose.
In the area of Gagra the Greater Caucasus Range (average height reaching 3500 m) is immediately adjacent to the coast. So, Gagra is completely screened from the cold northern winds, which contributed to the development of the subtropical climate, and unlike the rest of the the area stretching from the Greater Sochi to Sukhumi, it is especially pronounced in Gagra.
In 1901 in Gagra there was laid on electricity, constructed the water supply system, laid down the park, planted eucalyptuses, agaves, and various citrus plants, which added to the already abundant vegetation of Gagra. The Duke of Oldenburg had the Gagripsh Hotel designed in Paris, produced in Norway, and shipped in disassembled state to Gagra. On January, 9, 1903 at the restaurant of the Gagripsh Hotel there was held the opening ceremony of the Gagra climate station, and that day is considered to be the date of the foundation of Gagra.
In the Soviet time Gagra became one of the most famous resorts in the USSR, and to a certain degree it could be considered as an elite one, as it combined a beautiful nature, comfortable climate, and entertainment infrastructure. There were built both theatres (including the Winter theatre) for civilized recreation, and places of entertainment for night discos.
You should pay a special attention to the Gagra park designed by the architect Shervinsky in 1902. There were planted a lot of tropical plants at the park. The park stretches for 6 kilometers along the coast in the north of Gagra between the Gagripsh and Zhoekvara gorges.
Now Gagra is also the most popular resort in Abkhazia, although it will take a lot of time and efforts to completely restore it after the war of 1992. The lovers of active recreation will be offered foot or horse tours over the Gagripsh gorge. Also you can ascend the Mamdzyshkha Mount and have a beautiful view on Gagra and Pitsunda, which is located on the peninsula.