UN changes to Georgian spelling of breakaway region’s towns

18 Sep 2015 - 17:02

  • The original spelling of Sokhumi, the capital city of breakaway Abkhazia, was updated on the United Nations website. Sokhumi. Photo by Anuna Bukia.
Agenda.ge, 18 Sep 2015 - 17:02, Tbilisi,Georgia

The map of Georgia on a section of the United Nations (UN) website now features the original Georgian spelling of several disputed cities on the country’s Black Sea coast.

On September 12 the UN approved the change of spelling for five places in Georgia after being approached by the Permanent mission of Georgia to the UN. The changes were made to the map posted on the Geospatial Information section of the UN website.

The following cities were now spelled using Georgian original spelling:

  • Sokhumi;
  • Bichvinta;
  • Akhali Atoni;
  • Gulripshi; and
  • Ochamchire.

Earlier this month Georgian internet user Giorgi Balakhadze challenged Google Maps on the spelling of Abkhazia - one of the Russian-occupied regions of Georgia. The search engine now referred to the area as the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia instead of the Republic of Abkhazia.

On September 16 the United Nations approved the name change, initiated by the Permanent mission of Georgia to the UN. Photo by UN official website. 

Balakhadze’s earlier request to change the spelling of the capital of Abkhazia was also approved. In February Google Maps supported his appeal to recognise the capital city of Abkhazia as Sokhumi instead of Sukhumi, using Georgian spelling.

Politically this was a significant change for Georgia, as until then several cities in Georgia’s breakaway regions were denoted with Russian spelling.

Now they are publicly displayed online in accordance with the established norms of Georgian toponyms for the world to see.