Eerie photos of an abandoned airport that hasn’t been touched in 25 years

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Roman Robroek

  • I recently visited Abkhazia, a disputed region in Georgia, to photograph abandoned buildings and towns.
  • The Sukhumi Babushara Airport in Abkhazia was built in the 1960s, but hasn’t been used since the early 1990s after it was heavily damaged in a war with Georgia.
  • Eerie photos of the abandoned airport show what it looks like today.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

On the coast of western Asia’s Black Sea lies an airport that has been abandoned for 25 years.

The Sukhumi Babushara Airport in Abkhazia, a disputed region of Georgia, was built in the 1960s, when Abkhazia was still a part of the Soviet Union.

Thanks to the city of Sukhumi’s proximity to the Black Sea, the airport was popular for domestic travelers looking for a beach getaway. At its peak, close to 5,000 people traveled through the airport each summer.

But the airport’s fate changed in the early 1990s, when Abkhazia was ravaged by war with Georgia. The airport was heavily damaged, leading to its abandonment.

As a photographer with a focus on abandoned buildings, I took a particular interest in the Abkhazia airport. I recently traveled to the region to document what 25 years of neglect have done to the building.

Here’s what the airport looks like today.


Abkhazia’s airport has gone virtually untouched since the early 1990s. The airport is closed for international traffic because it’s not recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

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Roman Robroek

There’s a non-functioning plane still sitting in the abandoned runway. The Yak-40 aircraft carried former Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze to Abkhazia in March 1993 to take charge of Georgian forces in the region.

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Roman Robroek

The decaying entrance to the airport was a sign of what was to come.

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Roman Robroek

Here’s what I found inside the airport, which was heavily damaged and eventually abandoned during the conflict with Georgia.

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Roman Robroek

Concrete staircases leading to an empty upper level were some of the only structures I saw standing.

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Roman Robroek

Here’s the view from the top floor.

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Roman Robroek

The airport was riddled with landmines during the war. It wasn’t until 2003 that all landmines and other explosive devices were declared to have been removed from the airport by the HALO Trust.

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Roman Robroek

Source: The HALO Trust


The airport is inaccessible to the public, but luckily, a few military personnel were willing to show me around.

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Roman Robroek

Russia is one of the few countries to recognize Abkhazia as a sovereign state, but even Russian planes can’t fly to the airport because of sanctions by the International Air Transport Association.

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Roman Robroek

This storage area was visibly damaged and was in the worst shape of the areas I saw.

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Roman Robroek

You can see the old baggage carousels where arriving passengers once picked up their luggage.

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Roman Robroek

The Abkhazian president said in 2006 that he hoped the airport would resume operations soon, but apart from a visit from the Russian foreign minister in 2008, that hasn’t materialized.

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Roman Robroek

Source: Sergey Bagapsh, Reuters


And it isn’t likely the airport will be used any time soon.

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Roman Robroek