Alexander Beskov. Sochi

In the beginning of the 19th century on the territory of Greater Sochi new names had already been in use. Now it was inhabited by Shapsugian (between the River Shakhe and the River Khosta) and Sadzian-Jigetian tribes (between the River Khosta and the River Psou) which in their turn divided into communities.

This country was traditionally closed for foreigners from Europe. However there were exceptions. At the end of 30's among the highlanders lived James Stanislaus Bell, an Englishman; at the same time the Russian intelligence agent Baron Tornau (F.F.Tornov) visited the coast. In 1833 the famous explorer Dubois de Montpereux sailed past Sochi on a war ship accurately recording his observations in a notebook...

All of them noted the extraordinary beauty of the local women. Wasp waist was an object of common worship. Girls wore a tight leather corset sewn up in childhood. It could be cut off only by the husband in the wedding day. Many girls were sent to Turkish harems, which wasn't a dishonorable thing.

The main riches of a man were his weapons and his horse. One could compliment his neighbor on a new shirt and immediately get it as a gift. Praising a weapon or a horse hoping to get it would be in vain. A man never left his house without a weapon: blood feud had deep and ancient roots. Asking one's neighbor about his wife's health would be regarded as a personal insult to the husband. To have a firm stone house was to testify to the absence of courage. Old age was respected more than wealth. Death from a lighting was thought sacred, and young people often went outside in thunderstorm hoping to find their fortune. The index of prosperity was the quantify of bulls and rams for Shapsugians and the quantity of slaves for Sadzians and Ubychians. However all of them were remarkable cattle-breeders, gardeners and bee-keepers. Ubychians and Sadzians were also famous for wine-making.

Ubychians thought themselves to be the descendants of Akhyn - a mighty cattle-breeder who could jump from one mountain to another. The Ubychian language, which was incomprehensible even for the neighbors, was compared with birds' twitter by Europeans, and with a pile of stone by Ubychians.
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