Abkhazia's Gudauta residents to renovate historic train station themselves
Residents of Gudauta in Abkhazia have decided to renovate the local railway station on their own dime.
They believe that the railway station is an important building for the republic and they are actively gathering money to restore it – and everyone is pitching in.
The building will first have its roof repaired. This will cost about 2 million roubles [USD 32 000] and will help to prevent the building from deteriorating further.
The train station was used for manufacturing during World War II. The style of the building might be called ‘Stalinist empire’.
The train station itself is managed by Abkhaz Railways, which does not have the funds to restore it and, apparently, will not have the funds to do so in the near future.
Since the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict in 1992-1993, the Abkhaz railroad was no longer a transit zone and came to a standstill. Trains from Russia only go as far as Sukhumi.
A significant decrease in the flow of traffic on the railroad led to the deterioration of both the station and its infrastructure. Because of this, practically all of the railway stations in Abkhazia are in a semi-dilapidated condition, and there is no money to restore them.
Gudauta residents have asked their local administration on several occasions to repair the station, but were told that the administration could not make the decision themselves because the railway belongs not to the city but to the railway administration itself.
In 2016, the building’s facade did, however, receive a new paint job.
The railway station is clearly a losing battle, and nobody is arguing with this. However, there might be some hope.
The current proposal put forward by Gudauta’s residents is to turn the station into an art platform or rent it to a business, in which case the entrepreneurs themselves would take on the costs of restoring and maintaining the station.
The Abkhaz Ministry of Culture was keen on the idea. Both the Gudauta railway station and Gudauta region are, after all, on the ministry’s register of cultural monuments. However, it is up to the local residents to bring it to life.