This is a small remote region in georgia on the dagestan,chechen border.a very special and unique area of eastern europe. Tusheti is an untamed region, cut off from the world and until recently only populated by Shepherd’s and Cowmen who lives by crafting a variety of cherished salty cheeses, supplemented by the farming of potatoes and vegetables grown in their cottage gardens.
This remote and remarkable area is one of the most fascinating and pristine high-mountain regions in Georgia and most likely Europe.
As we make a dash for prosperity and comfort, the world appears to have lost touch with the land of our forefathers and for some, Tusheti is one of the last links with life as it was.
On arrival you will see Tusheti has two Alazani rivers that join close to the village of Shenako, near Omalo.The combination of these two rivers flow out of Georgia where it crosses into Dagestan and onto the Caspian Sea. Tusheti is divided into four communities:
The villages situated in Pirikiti Alazani river gorge, unsurprisingly ,are known as the Pirikit Community.Villages in the Gomertsi Alazani gorge are referred to as the Gomertsi Community. And villages in the valley of the Tsuata Tskali river are known as the Tsova Community. The last community are the Chagmis who are located in the valley of the two Alazani rivers and the administrative center of Tusheti – Omalo
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.On arrival you will be stunned by the exceptional scenery where ever you look.A spectacular mix of, snow-covered, rocky peaks, deep gorges, and soft, grassy hillsides peppered with flocks of the indiginious sheep.
In Upper Omalo you will be able to see the recently restored Keslo towers and some great examples of local traditional construction.
An important point is there is no running water or electricity in Tusheti. This isn’t a problem but if you are a western city slicker treat the experience as a novelty and think of the romantic side to such an experience Eating by candlelight and showering with a bucket of warm water is something we can all get use too and remember, you will begin to connect with the wild after a short while .
Once you make your way by what ever route into Tusheti you will find evidence of its old animist religion. You will come upon stone shrines known as khatis, sometimes decked with the horns of sacrificed goats or sheep and possibly a bell. Women are not permitted to approach these shrines and please don’t think how silly. This is a very important aspect of the Tushetian culture and insulting to the Tush if, as a women, you choose to disregard their custom.
Once you have arrived in Tusheti the true mode of transport is the horse and we are not talking pack horses. These versatile, fleet of foot ponies have remarkable stamina. Tushetians will ride without stirrups and with any tack they can lay their hands on. Given the chance they will race at break neck speed just because they can. The earliest historical reference to Tusheti refers to the 3rd century B.C. this was during the reign of the first King of Georgia Parnavaz. This early written account belongs to a Greek geographer of the 2nd century A.D. called Ptolemaus who wrote about the geographical settlement of the Tushs