Tusheti

Shuni, A Guest house in Dartlo

Posted on February 12, 2017. Filed under: Around Georgia, Tusheti |

Dartlo represents a dream village, on the beautiful alpine slopes of Caucasus Mountains at the level of 1850m. Tusheti’s Alazani River, lots of home stays, Cafe with a perfect location, camping places, tasty mountain cheese, have a view of waterfall in the mountains from the houses and even more Dartlo has to offer.

If you decide to overnight in Dartlo, in the very center you will find a small hotel Shuni. Shuni means a female aurochs.  You will really be met warmly by Salome Idoidze, a hostess, who is a first female ranger in Europe. At the hotel you will be able to taste Tushetian dishes-Kotori (similar to khachapuri, made with kalti), Khinkali with kalti, (cottage cheese made from milk). You can also taste homemade butter and Guda Cheese. You may be lucky and listen how her father sings along Balalaika.

From Dartlo you can easily reach villages of Parsma, Girevi and Hegho, also to visit exotic village of Chigho and even Diklo and Shenako from Chigho.

See more links about Tusheti:

Dartlo, TushetiShenako, TushetiGirevi, Tusheti,  Kvavlo, TushetiGirevi, TushetiA road to TushetiMirgvela, Tusheti

By Tika Bujiashvili

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GEORGIA | Tusheti National Reserve

Posted on October 17, 2015. Filed under: Tusheti, Youtube About Georgia |

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Shenako, Tusheti

Posted on November 11, 2014. Filed under: Around Georgia, Tusheti |

Written by Tinatin Bujiashvili

Tusheti is a traditional mountain community with its own, unique culture surrounded by stunning landscapes. You cross the dramatic gorges and rugged peaks of the Caucasus Mountains and you find yourself among green pastures and little mountain villages.

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Village Shenako is situated on the south slope of Piriqiti ridge. In winter  Shenako  village is with only a couple of inhabited houses, the rest abandoned and rapidly becoming ruined. These are the houses the villagers moved to in the winter months of extreme cold and deep snow. Only one couple stay all year round now, the rest leave Tusheti in the winter (October – May) and move to Lower Tusheti-Alvani and villages of Kakheti.

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The village  is famous for its  unique impressive architecture – houses-towers. These residential places were designed to protect the family’s property as well the bottom floor of dwellings was used to keep livestock, with the living quarters, fireplace and etc while the top floor served for defense from enemies’ attacks. The peel houses of the commune had lost their defensive function late in the XIX century and it had begun to convert them into the accommodations of a new type – the houses with balconies. Alike the other villages of Tusheti, Shenako is in the checklist of UNESCO World Heritage Sites too.

There are only two churches in Tusheti and one of them, a Church of Holy Trinity is situated in Shenako -a wonderful architectural object  and  was built by Russians in the XIX century.  . It is situated in the eastern part of the village and has recently been renovated. Behind the Church there is a shrine.

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In front of the church there is a stadium where Tushs often play football against guests and always win.

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Village Shenako overlooks winter houses – cattle-sheds(boslebi). People kept cattle there.

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Nerve-shredding Moutain Pass – World’s Most Dangerous Roads – Series 3 – BBC

Posted on September 27, 2014. Filed under: Tusheti, Youtube About Georgia |

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Dartlo, Tusheti

Posted on September 8, 2014. Filed under: Around Georgia, Tusheti |

Written by Tinatin Bujiashvili

Village Dartlo in Tusheti Region is located in one of the most ecologically sound areas and owing to its vernacular architecture in general and fortress-like residential buildings in particular represents special interest for the tourists.  It should be emphasized that failing rehabilitation works, Dartlo will lose its attractiveness and the huge touristic potential inherent in this place.

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The village is situated less then 20 km from the border with Chechnya. Except the ancient castles, houses and towers, there are also the ruins of Christian churches in Tusheti. Once, one of the towers of Dartlo was attacked frequently by the enemy. This tower had 6 stories: during the war the captives were kept on the first storey. Second, third, forth and fifth stories were used as the shelter for women and children. The sixth storey was used by the warriors to shoot and throw the stones. This tower is now standing in the middle of the village.

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The church of Dartlo was reconstructed in the nineteen century. Today it is in ruins. For the village population, the church ground is sacred both because of the church and because of a shrine. So women aren’t allowed to approach the church.

You can see stony sofas next to the church. The elder people of the village were sitting on them, discussing some questionable matters, such as stealing, murdering, betraying and etc. It is a unique example of a tribal justice system. Initially the amount of chairs was twelve according to the number of judges. In front of the chairs standing in a semicircle, there were two stones placed in the ground. One represented the plaintiff, the other one the defendant. All justice cases were discussed at the “sabcheo”. So, Imagine twelve wise judges sitting on the semi circled set stones. There is a defender, a witness and the accused. Nearby there is a crowed of people. Oath ritual is done. Under oath stone there is a small hall, where there are moustaches hair of the process representatives. All these means, that matters customs judgments is started. The wise and intelligent daughter of Devdris Anta-Tushetian national hero occupied the main seat of the judge (Tavbche) at the end of the XVIII century.

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The “sabcheo”also had a function of a court. It would determine the charges, and the measure of punishment. In case the suspect did not recognize the crime he was accused of, he was made to swear by the cross, or by his ancestors’ grave. The highest measure of punishment was the “outcasting” from the community- to declare a cross knight an outlaw. At present, Tushetians settle their grievance within the community at large.

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Rehabilitation works in Dartlo were launched in August of 2012, though based on the monitoring conducted within the period of September 17-October 11, the World Bank has ranked the project as unsuccessful,   which has induced a necessity of redesigning the projects.  According to the adjusted designs, which were developed by theNational Agency for Cultural Heritage Protection and the  Municipal Development Fund of Georgia, in course of current year 7 buildings will get rehabilitated in Dartlo, while the repair works for   27 buildings will be carried out in  2015.

At present the design documentation is submitted for approval to the World Bank.

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Today most Tusheti folk only go up to Tusheti in summer: to graze their sheep or cattle, attend festivals, cater for tourists and generally reconnect with their roots. Many have winter homes in and around Alvani in Kakheti. The road to Tusheti is only open from about early June to early October, and some of the homestays may not open till July.

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Kvavlo, Tusheti

Posted on August 17, 2014. Filed under: Around Georgia, Tusheti |

Written by Tinatin Bujiashvili

Every village of Tusheti is a historical monument itself dating back to the late middle ages. In Piriqiti gorge you can see one of the most beautiful villages Kvavlo. The road to Kvavlo goes through the village Dartlo. As other villages of Tusheti, Kvavlo is abandoned in winter times.

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When you go to Kvavlo you should know which path to lead, as there is a path where women aren’t allowed.

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The place is notable for its fabulous landscapes and beautiful alpine meadows. You will meet ruins of fortress-houses and towers. Traditional type is common in historical settlements. It is a 2-6-floor construction with a tower that reminds of fortress but is used not only for defense and protection but for living as well. This was a common habitat for extended families. Extended families survived due to the necessity of collective work and defense. It was very clever of Tushs to roof the houses with cobblestones, as in winter snow didn’t stay long on the roof.

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Kvavlo has the single tall tower on the hill 350m from Dartlo. The tower is five-storied and is build with slate. Today it is being reconstructed.

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The people living in Kvavlo are very hospitable. Several guest houses have been opened for Georgian and foreign tourists.

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Girevi, Tusheti

Posted on August 12, 2014. Filed under: Around Georgia, Tusheti |

Written By Tinatin Bujiashvili

During your tour to Tusheti you will enjoy seeing historical provinces of the region. Tusheti is the most unspoiled place in whole Caucasus eco region. Beautiful landscapes, breathtaking views, local traditions and culture, architectural and monuments of nature and somewhat simple but tasty cuisine (for example Kotori, which is made of cheese and tastes like Khachapuri) will leave unforgettable and pleasant memories.

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Architectural style is common in Tusheti, but every village represents unique combination of towers, houses and nature.
Girevi is one of the villages of Piriqiti community. Settlers living in the villages of Pirikiti community (Chegho, Chontio, Dadikurta and Nakudurta) were leaving the territory, some settlers often stayed in Girevi.  Girevi was the last abandoned village. Today, in the end of the village, there is a post of border guards. Several families return in the village in summer, though in winter it is still abandoned.

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After Dartlo, the pedestrian trial goes along the left bank of Piriqita Alazani and heads up the river.

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The main ritual in Tusheti is brewing. At an indeterminate time before the great day men will be taken to the beer hut, a small house in the village built to brew beer and prepare food. The Shulta takes control and manage the proceedings. Women aren’t allowed in the brew house.

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500m from the village in the west at the border you will see a fortress. As local people tell us, all the fortresses were built by a Kist father-son from Bauli. It often happened in peaceful time. The fortress is on the rock.  It has five stories. (4.2X3.9 m, height 18.3m). Upper part of the fortress is narrower. The construction is dry made out of shale. The fortress needs restoration-reconstruction.

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In the end, as said above, due to climate problems, the area is closed from winter to spring. So in the winter the area is almost empty. Visiting Tusheti is possible only in summer and with an off-road vehicle. People from Tusheti traditionally look after cattle and sheep. In recent years many tourists visited this area, which created new sources of income for residents, who are beginning to develop tourist services and hotels.

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Mirgvela, Tusheti

Posted on August 8, 2014. Filed under: Around Georgia, Tusheti |

Written by Tinatin Bujiashvili

Tusheti is a real paradise for those, who prefer active rest, tracking through the mountain passes, breathing fresh air, sleeping in a tent in the mountains. It is the best way of physical and spiritual rest.

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In Tusheti at the cross-road of Piriqiti and Gometsari gorges, there is a beautiful place Mirgvela. It is about 4km from Omalo. On the field of pine-trees you can set up your tent, make a campfire and watch the sunrise from the picturesque Caucasus Mountains in the morning and the sunset in the evening. While gathering some wood for fire, you come across beautiful mushrooms. You can also taste the sweetest wild strawberries.

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Nearby the campsite, there is a guest house Mirgvela, which is a cottage style wooden house. You can hire horses there too.

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A road to Tusheti

Posted on July 30, 2014. Filed under: Around Georgia, Tusheti |

Written by Tinatin Bujiashvili

“Travel as much as you can, As far as you can, As long a you can.

Life’s not meant to be lived in one place.”

Tusheti is a really Must place to visit. The road is quite dangerous. The landscape is made up from a mixture of shale and rock knitted together by centuries of alpine woods.

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The journey starts from Pshaveli with the road taking you over Abano pass and onto Omalo, which is the main village of Tusheti. The journey takes more then 6 hours.

Abano pass is a mountain pass located at 2 850 m from sea level and is the highest drivable mountain pass in the Caucasus. The pass was built in 1978 and is only open during the summer months from around May until to October.

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Omalo is the largest village in Tusheti and regarded by some as the center of administration and a good starting point when embarking on a trip around Tusheti.

The visitor centre is located in village Kvemo Omalo. In 100 meters from the board protected area signboard is situated the administrative complex of Tusheti Protected Areas – one of the most beautiful buildings in the area. The place is surrounded with pine trees. To the east from the visitor centre there is a scenic viewpoint with a breathtaking panoramic view. You can see several villages from there, such as: Kumelaurta, Tsokalta, Chiglaurta and Khakhabo.

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The visitor centre has plentiful displays, maps and material on Tusheti, and can provide walking route and accommodation information, and help arrange guides, horses and vehicle transport.

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Historically, Tusheti comprised four mountain communities: the Tsova (living in the Tsova Gorge), the Gometsari (living along the banks of the Tushetis Alazani River), the Pirikiti (living along the banks of the Pirikitis Alazani River) and the Chaghma, living close to the confluence of the two rivers). Administratively speaking, Tusheti is now part of the region of Akhmeta, itself part of Georgia‘s eastern region of Kakheti. The largest village in Tusheti is Omalo.

Traditionally, the Tushs are sheep herders. Tushetian Guda cheese and high quality wool was famous and was exported to Europe and Russia. Even today sheep and cattle breeding is the leading branch of the economy of highland Tusheti. The local shepherds spend the summer months in the highland areas of Tusheti but live in the lowland villages of Zemo Alvani and Kvemo Alvani in wintertime. Their customs and traditions are similar to those of other eastern Georgian mountaineers.

One of the most ecologically unspoiled regions in the Caucasus, Tusheti is a popular mountain-trekking venue.

Pork is tabooed in Tusheti. Farmers will not raise pigs and travelers are usually advised to not bring any pork into the region. Locals will however eat pork themselves when not in Tusheti.

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