On the hot August day of 1927 the passenger steamer "Pestel" anchored in the roads of the broad Sukhum bay. The quay, to which ships are currently moored, was not available at that time, and the voyage vessels had to stop almost in the open sea.
A battered launch transported a few passengers ashore, then took a barge to tow to convey cargo from the ships to the shore. Delivery of goods was for people of Sukhum a common thing but not this time. A lot of people gathered on the beach because of the unusual load of the "Pestel" - four monkeys in cages. Tailed passengers were put on a cart drawn by a horse, and a strange crew headed for the mountain of Trapezia, followed by prying eyes. At the foot of the Trapezia mountain the cart turned left to the rise of Ostroumov’s former country house. Here the monkeys were placed in the living room with access to the terrace as far as the "cage 1" was not ready for the reception of new settlers.
So, with the foundation of Sukhum apery, the history of the world-famous Research Institute of Experimental Pathology and Therapy began.
The scientists of the Moscow Institute of Experimental Endocrinology spearheaded the creation of the apery. In November 1925, the director of this institute sent a letter to the Health Commissioner of the RSFSR Semashko. It stated that with regard to the growing need of medicine and biology in experiments with monkeys, the Scientific Medical Commission of the institute together with representatives of other medical facilities including the Institute of Experimental Biology "decided to deem it desirable to design an apery on the coast of the Black Sea with the aim of animals acclimatization". A commission to establish an apery was organized under the leadership of Semashko N. And that commission in December 1925 applied for the foundation of nursery on the Caucasian coast of the Black Sea.
A major contribution in the practical organization of the apery was made by the institute’s employee Tobolkin who initiated its foundation. He was aware of the attempts to acclimatize exotic birds and animals undertaken by the unfortunate relative of the Russian monarch Prince Oldenburg. Despite the fact that only memories remained from these attempts by that time, the experience also served as an occasion for considering Abkhazia as the place for the formation of apery. He carefully investigated the entire coast, and paid special attention to the Ostroumov’s country house stretching for 9 hectares. At the end of the nineteenth century the country house belonged to the outstanding medical worker Ostroumov A.A. Ostroumov highly estimated Sukhum, he wrote: " Sukhum is characterized by a mild,humid and warm climate, which compares favourably with that in Nice... The best months are from September to June. During this period there are almost no accidents of febrile illnesses. The average temperature here is +15°C, the average in spring +14°C, in summer +23°C, in autumn +17°C and in winter +7,5°C".As fate decreed that the institute was founded in the place where the outstanding figure of medicine Ostroumov lived and worked for the last years of his life. Afterwards the institute made an immeasurable contribution to the development of modern medicine.
However, the issue of placing a nursery in Abkhazia was not resolved immediately. Academician Sushkin P.P. expressed doubts about the optimality of the chosen place and suggested to think about the possibility of placing the apery in the Talish district near Lenkoran (Armenia). Since the opinions were divided, it was suggested that the Acclimatization Society should be asked to give a definitive conclusion about the choice of the site for the apery. This commission under the guidance of Kozhevnikov H.A. decided to recommend Ostroumov's former county house for the construction of a nursery. At the beginning of 1927 Lakoba N.A. and Tobolkin Y.A. signed an agreement on the transfer of the site of the former Ostroumov’s country house to the Institute of Experimental Endocrinology for the organization of the apery. In June of the same year, the construction of the cage 1 - a huge cage of iron rods - was started.
And in August 24, after a long journey, first monkeys from Africa arrived.
Since then, 90 years have passed, and the apery became the world-famous scientific research primatology center.Over the long years of its existence, it experienced periods of either falls or heyday. However, despite the difficulties, the work is resumed, and today the Institute continues research necessary to address the issues of basic science and practical public health.