Mimino Travel

Khevsureti

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Khevsureti

Located in the mountains of the High Caucasus, right on the Chechen boundary, Khevsureti is one of Georgia's most distant, unchanged and exciting regions. Out of reach during the winter, Khevsureti is completely separate world, where the men wore chain mail until the 1930s and ancient pre-Christian traditions still are preserved; and among the high mountains, the rocky canyons and the forsaken forts, you feel like you've stepped into scenery that most worldwide famous poets would be proud to call their own.

Sightseeings:

Barisakho is a little town at the southern entry of Lower Khevsureti. Apart from guesthouses and local services there is a nice museum of the artist Shota Arabuli. He collects and exhibits all possible cultural treasures of Khevsur life. Nobody should miss the gallery and his paintings, either. Barisakho is a wonderful basis to hike and horse ride in that territory.

The most essential attraction in the area is Shatili. Shatili’s old town, constructed between the 7th and 13th centuries, is a cluster of tall fortresses clinging together on a rock to form a single fortress-like whole. The old town was abandoned between the 1960s and ’80s, and the new village, of approximately 20 houses, is just around the hill. But several towers have recently been restored and one includes a museum. Visitors, however, have the chance to stay in one of the towers, which has been turned into an extraordinary hotel.

About 8km from Shatili is the ruined fortress village of Mutso. Old village on a very abrupt rock top is one of the most exciting in Khevsureti, with big stone tombs in which you can see human remains. It has approximately thirty towers and dozens of intact death houses.

Not far from the village of Roshka in Lower Khevsureti are three wonderful Abudelauri Lakes. They come from glacier of Chaukhi and distinguish by color. One lake, which is shallow, is a bright green color from plants that grow at the bottom of the lake. Another is very deep and dark blue. The third one is white like milk from glacial ice in the water. It’s a hard rocky climb along narrow paths to reach these three lakes but well worth the effort.

History:

Residents are living by communities. Each of community takes one gorge or province. Previously, these communities were constantly at odds with its neighbors. This feud was predetermined by socio-economic conditions of the tribal system, and the main objective was to capture prey. Strong community was trying to influence on others. Committing invasions brought to life the custom of blood revenge. According to traditions, the winner cut off right hand of the enemy and hung it on the wall of the tower. According to custom heroism was measured by the amount of cut hands.

Because of incessant disagreements and hostility, population of Khevsureti was forced to hide in castles. Quite famous are villages-fortresses Shatili and Mutso.

In the middle ages, Khevsureti, like other mountain areas, was free and nobody had the right to intervene in their affairs, they obeyed only to Georgian kings and fought against enemies of Georgia. They also actively fought against colonial policy of Russia. In the 80-ies of XIX century began settling Khevsurs in other areas. In the 60-ies of XX century resettlement of population of Khevsureti in the valley has caused negative social and economic consequences.

Systematic recovery of Khevsureti began in the 80s of the twentieth century.

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