Tuscheti-Tusheti

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History

The history of Tusheti, which is the area of highlands and of difficult access, is less studied. The first scientific expedition here was organized in 1931. In archeological respect, Tusheti is almost not studied. From 1975, the archaeological expedition of Georgian State Museum headed by Rusudan Dolaberidze, Candidate of Historical Sciences, carried our excavations on ‘Nishtako’ hill located at the border of the village of Shenako. The excavations revealed a terrace type of settlement characteristic to the mountains and three cultural layers of different ages: of the I-III c.c. B.C., the III-IV c.c. A.D. and the VI-VIII c.c. A.D., and the materials of Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages were found on ‘Kurekhi’ hill. The monuments found as a result of the archaeological excavation are very interesting and important. The items of the Bronze Age found here evidence that this territory was already occupied by humans in the XXI-XXII c.c. B.C. Besides everyday items, there were cult ritual materials found here reflecting the beliefs and imaginations of old people. Those materials are now kept at the National Museum of Georgia.

The earliest historical data about Tusheti refers to the III century B.C., the period of reign of the first King of Georgia Parnavaz, the enlightener of the nation, and the first written data about the geographical settlement of the Tushs belong to Greek geographer of the II century A.D. Ptolemaus. Among Caucasian tribes he mentioned the Tushs, too: ‘There are the Tusks (‘Tuskoi’ means ‘Tushs’) and the Diduri (the ‘Didoels’) between Caucasus and Kervani Mountains.’ The academician Ivane Javakhishvili comments upon the Tusks as follows: ‘Tus(koi) is the right Greek word for Georgian ‘Tush’.’ As for the word ‘Tush’ or ‘Tosh’, it has no meaning of its own, but it is used by all Georgian tribes. The Lezghins called the Tushs ‘Mosek’, and the Kists called them ‘Batsuoi’. As the Tushs say, they were named ‘Tushs’ by the Lezghins referring to the word ‘Dusht’ meaning ‘Enemy’. The Kists referred to the bravest warriors as ‘Enemies’. This name may well be associated with a pagan deity of the Kists ‘Tushol’ regarded a deity of fruitfulness and worshiped by the communities of Chechnya-Ingushetia. It was Vakhushti Bagrationi to give the geographical-ethnographic characterization of the Tushs in “Geographical description of Georgia” (first half of the XVII century). As Vakhushti stated, the Tushs’ settlement here was the resulted from two circumstances: the Tushs having escaped from serfdom or enemies found their shelter here and those refusing the Christianity during the reign of King Mirian used to flee to these mountains. It was not until the IX century when the Tushs adopted the Christianity and since then, despite complex relief, they have had close contacts with the population of the plain, particularly that of Kaheti. The Tushs’ migration to the plain became more intense since the XVI century. King of Kahetians Levan II (1520-1574) was among the first kings to open the way for the Tushs to Alazani Valley. In The XVII-XVIII centuries, the Tushs greatly supported the kings of Kartli and Kaheti in wars. King Erekle II even had several Tush warriors at court as the bravest ones. Bakhtrioni Epopee (1659) is connected to the Tushs, and the name of Zezva Gaprindauli, the greatest hero of Tusheti being a real legend today is linked with the historical Bakhtrioni Battle. Vazha-Pshavela praises Zezva in his poem “Bakhtrioni”. After freeing Bakhtrioni from the tribes of the Persians the elder of the Tushs asked the King for a dwelling place as a reward. The King agreed, but under one condition – he would grant the elder the dwelling up to the point the elder rode his horse non-stop from Bakhtrioni. Zezva rode his horse until it fell down lifeless. The King gave these places to the Tushs. At present, this is the place where the villages of Kvemo and Zemo Alvani are located. One part of Tusheti communities started nomad life since this time visiting their old dwelling place in summer. Some communities did not leave their ancient dwellings until several decades ago due to different reasons.

At present, the Tush population is divided into two parts – Tsova Tushs and Chaghma Tushs. There was almost no difference between these two groups according to their ethnographic, everyday and cultural traditions. The only difference between them lies in language. The Chaghma Tushs speak one common language, which is the Georgian language dialect, which together with Phav, Khevsurian and Mokhevian dialects is linguistically united in so called Pkhovian group of the Georgian dialects. The Tsova Tushs speak two languages. They commonly speak Tsova Tushetian or Batsbian in informal surroundings, and they speak the dialect somewhat similar to the Kahetian dialect of the Georgian language outside their homes. This dialect differs from the Kahetian dialect by the vocabulary characteristic to Tushetian traditional life and fields of farming and by the marked intonation characteristic to Tsova Tushetian.


Geographical Conditions

Tusheti is located beyond the Main Ridge of Caucasioni, on its Northern slope, between the latitudes 42°32´-42°22´ North and longitudes 63°17´-63°22´ East. The elevation of Tusheti from the sea level is 1650-4493 meters, the region occupies about 896 square kilometers of area and has the shape of an irregular pentahedral depression, with its southern-eastern axis reaching 40 km in length and 25 km in width. The climate is cold here and belongs to Apline Climatic Zone. Average annual temperature is 5°C (average temperature in July is about 13-15°C). Annual precipitation amounts to approximately 450-900 mm and the precipitation mainly falls as snow.
Tusheti is bordered by Dagestan in the east, Pshav-Khevsureti in the west, Chechnya-Ingushetia in the north and Eastern Kaheti in the south. Tusheti is bordered with watershed high ridges with the height of 3000-4500 meters. Among them, the most gorgeous is northern ridge with its high peaks: Tebulo Mount (4492 m), Komito (4261 m), Dano Mount (4174 m) and Diklosmta (4285 m). These peaks make Tusketi Alp, dividing it from Chechnya-Ingushetia. The inner Tusheti is covered with ravines, including Pirikiti Kedi, directed from the heads of Amugo and both Alazani rivers to south-east dividing Tusheti into two gorges of Pirikiti Gorge in the north and Gometseri Gorge in the south. There are narrow footpaths over Pirikiti Gorge connecting the two gorges. These are the paths of Larovani (3317 m) (from Larovani Gorge to the Alazani source) and Nakle-Kholi (2903 m).
The whole surface of this mountainous corner is covered with ravines with rapid flows from the high mountain peaks flowing into two big rivers of Tusheti – the Gometseri Alazani and Pirikiti Alazani. The Gometseri Alazani heads in Borbalo Mountain (3134 m) and flows fast to east. At the village of Gogrula, the Ortskali flows into the Gometsari Alazani and Chanchakhovani Tskali flows into it at the village of Khakhabo. Pirikita Alazani flows from Amugo Mountain (3839 m). At the site of ancient village of Hegho, the Larovani Tskali flows into it and the river flows north-east, in parallel to the Gometsari Alazani. On its way, it is flown by the waters from Tusheti Alp: Hashaki Tskali, Katsi Tskali, Dano Tskali, Kvavlo Tskali and others. The two Alazanis meet each other at the village of Shenako and the one large river flowing beyond the borders of Tusheti reaches the territory of Dagestan, where it becomes known as the ‘Andis Koisu’, which after flowing with the ‘Avarias Koisu’, flows into the Caspian Sea as the ‘River Sulaki’.
The whole territory of Tusheti is located in the basin of the two Alazanis and is divided into four gorges: Pirikiti Gorge, Gometseri Gorge, Chagma and Chanchakhovani.


Cult rituals - "Atnigenoba"

Autumn works in Tusheti are preceded by a cycle of summer cult ceremonies – “Atnigenoba”. It starts on the hundredth day from Easter and continues for two weeks. In this period cult services were held in some calendar succession in all the villages. A host of “Atnigenoba” is “Shulta”, a cross servant elected by the village for a year. A few days before “Atnigenoba” starts, “Shulta” “hangs a pot” – to boil “aludi”. All the villages take part in it. A building is sacred and women of the menstruation age are not permitted to enter it. “Atnigenoba”, i.e. “Jvariskari” ritual ceremonies, is led by “Khelosani”, a cross servant. Only he has the right “to bring out” a cross banner and by ringing the bells to inform about start of “Atnigenoba”. After the banner is brought out, the “Khelosani” blesses “cod” with “aludi”, the cross community members, the guests, the men attending the ceremony cry thrice “be you blessed”. After that thay sit at sanctified feast table and the feast begins. Man sit separately from women. No “Atnigenoba” has ever been held without entertainment or feast. A horse race and “Korbeghela” are often held at “Atnigenoba”. Five men with their hands on one another’s shoulder stand in a circle, the other five stood on their shoulders. So turning slowly round they took “Korbeghela” From the cross place (place of their gathering) to “Jvariskari” (to the icon). Here they turn three times and separate “Korbeghela”. “Korbeghela” is a magic ritual of astral celestial deity. After a feast, ritual games of entertaining character are held. “Chataraoba” is frequently held. It is a ceremony of fight between men and women, taking prisoner and ransoming. The ceremony is dedicated to activation of male-female cosmic origins and is a magic ritual of world creation. After “Atnigenoba”, autumn works begin, a busy season of mowing, harvest gathering and storing. Those, who know the atnigenoba, tray to specially visit Tusheti in this period. Along with feasts, this celebration is a wonderful festival of folk art. Guest, who visit a Tushetian village in this period, are invited to the feast table by all means and Tushetians pay no attention as of what religion their guests are. Tushetians prefer to perform their cult activites without strangers. However, they sometimes invite guests to attend them, especially those visitors whom they know well and who more than once visited Tusheti.
Mariamoba - (day of St. Mary)
On August 28 (according to Gregorian calendar) Mariamoba is celebrated. This day is considered to be “Day of the dead”. All the families lay a table in memory of the dead. That day the rezidents of the village Omalo celebrate the days of “Elia Tsiteltisa”, deity of the sky-clouds and pray for good weather. Tsiteloba preceded field reaping.
Giorgoba (day of St. George)
It is celebrated on November 10. The day is dedicated to glorifing of St. Giorgi. It is an important date marking finish of previous economic cycle and start of the next. By that day harvest was usually stored. People left the villages for “Boslebi”, winter dwellings and kept cattle in stalls. Twenty week long winter started that day.
Mzebudoba
It is on december 9 (according to julia calendar) and marks turn of the sun towards summer. It is an archaic cult celebration representing astral concepts and beliefs. The sun female deity. The local population believed that on December 6 the sun set in its setting. If the sun finds a lamb there, the sun then stays there for three days and rises on December 9. If a snake – the sun jumps as long as a three day lamb and the days became immediately longer. On December 9 a feast table is laid in all the families. A hostess makes ritual “kadas” (biscuits) of the sun called “machkati”, “khavitsi” and all this along with “Zedashe” (church wine) and one candle is put on the tray. The hostess lights the melted butter with the lighted candle and sticks the candle on the window through which the sun looks into the room. She also puts there three ritual cakes – “machkati” and raises a glass to glorify the sun.
Tseltsdoba - (New Year)
On December 25 “tseltsdoba” started, a two-week holiday of the New Year. The “tseltsdoba” was led by “nate” – head of the New Year ceremonies and a host, a community representative elected for one year. In the evening of that day the family mother baked symbolic images of human beings and domestik animals and round dumplings with a hole as many as there were sons in the family. She hung them at the hearth. She also baked small round bread and put them under the pillow of each member of the family by one in the evening. She put dumplings on the top of the house and animal stall doors. “Gomlis deda”, a symbolic image of family hearth patron angel, was put in the ashes at the hearth. On the New Year morning a family hostess took a “tskaros kveri” (a spring dumpling) to the water spring along with with cheese, wool and water vessel. Before bringing water they would not utter a word to anyone. At the water spring they put the dumpling and said: “water, I have brought you a dumpling, give me my fate to take to the family”. They threw what they brought into the water pleading for abundance. On coming home they rolled the dumpling inside blessing the New Year, sprinkled unspoken water around the hearth and used this water for meals. Children washed with this water. Soon a person would appear to wish happy New Year, blessing the kind trace, he usually went to the heart fire, touching the embers and brushing the sparks off them, wishing abundance and multiplying to the family. In the morning mother of the family went to the cattle to wish happy New Year. She broke the dumplings and gave them to bulls and cows to eat. Before the sunset the “cod” was blessed with “alidi” and all the men attended it. “Nate” and his assistants took meals to “sajare” (village place of gathering), where the whole community in their best clothes gathered.
Didmarkhva - (Lent)
Lent, seven-week fast of Easter, is preceded by three-week “markhva-shemoi”. “kdini”, “khortsieli” (meat days) and “kvelieri” (cheese days). “kdini” week is the third week of January. “kdini” is a week of goblins and devils. In that period they freely crawl and try to make people mad. There were some magic rules and rituals to be conducted to protect from their pressure. To know the fate expected thet year people go out of the village at night in the “kdini” week and listen. This is called “sminaoba” (listening). Through the voices heard there people try to guess what their future is. In “kdini” week local people think the dead souls come back to this world and stay till Saturday of “khortsieli” week. They are met in their families by table laid for them. The family members go round the table with fire three times from left to right, light a candle and drink in memory of their dead. In Saturday of “khortsieli” week the souls leave this world. After them come devils and goblins, which people see off with fire-lit arrows. “khortsieli” week is followed by “kvelieri” week. On Saturday of “kvelieri” week “kaltgoroba” ritual is arranged. To get hold of ritual “kotri” girls and boys fight with one another. The year will be lucky for those who win. After that they run after one another and throw mud. No one should be left without mud, neither grown-ups nor children. After “kvelieri” week there starts a seven-week fast, which ends in Easter Christian celebrations called “akhvseba” by Tushetians. It should be mentioned that three weeks of “markhvashemois” and Lent with its prohibitions, days off, ceremonies of ousting of demons, purifying, and fighting with one another have much in common with a cycle of old oriental new year “akidu” – re-creation of the world and a mystery of time’s annual renewal.
Khargav - (“otsoba” –“ twenty weeks”)
On march 25 by julian calendar, after twenty weeks pass from giorgoba, “otsoba” starts on Annunciation day. That day there start spring works. “otsoba” is a day of turning from winter to summer. That day shows whether the year is lucky or unlucky, so a number of magic rules and rituals are performed. People never leave house in the morning without eating a piece of bread. That day they take cattle to pastures and with a rope tie on the tails wooden beads made of Tursa (uzani tree) brought from the forest without speaking to anyone. They are sure this will protect their cattle from an evil eye. That day people take out bull-plow and conduct “ugheldebis” ritual. They take ritual bread, candles and church wine. They make one furrow and stop, put lighted candles on the horns of both bulls and say a prayer with a glass of booze. Then they break the ritual bread on the yoke, give one half to one bull and the other half to the other bull, say toasts for victory and eat remaining ritual bread. Next day there start spring works.



Tusheti National Park >>     



Ghele & northern Pirikiti range

Ghele & northern Pirikiti range

View from Ghele on gometsari gorge

View from Ghele on gometsari gorge

View on the village Chigho from Ghele place

View on the village Chigho from Ghele place

Spectacular view from Ghele place (2400m)

Spectacular view from Ghele place (2400m)

Stone court in village Dartlo

Stone court in village Dartlo

Village Museum Dartlo

Village Museum Dartlo

Trekking tour the best of Tusheti
www.tusheti.ge

Trekking tour the best of Tusheti www.tusheti.ge

Lunch with amazing views

Lunch with amazing views

View from the Nakaicho pass 2900m.

View from the Nakaicho pass 2900m.

View on the way to Nakaicho

View on the way to Nakaicho

Abano pass 2926 m.

Abano pass 2926 m.

The road to Tusheti is Open !!!

Tusheti National Park hat 4 neue Fotos zu dem Album „Tusheti“ hinzugefügt.

Beautiful surroundings of the village Omalo

One of the beautiful landscapes of Tusheti
Fortress "Kesalo"
One of the tower Kesalo complex
Village Shenaqo

Tusheti, village upper Omalo on the Kesalo fortress background.

Tusheti, village upper Omalo on the Kesalo fortress background.
Tusheti National Park hat sein/ihr Titelbild aktualisiert.
Tusheti National Parks Foto






















































Hotels and Guesthouses 
in Tusheti
 >>

http://www.tusheti.ge/ - Stand 2015
If you are interested in this Hotels or Guesthouses, please send the reservation request. Oure tour-operator will send you the best rate all the requested information during the day. If the condition will be acceptable, you can make the booking through our Agency.

Guesthouse Lasharai

Location: Village Zemo (Upper) Omalo (2200m.)
Owner: Vefkhia Rainauli
Hotel can accommodate 20 visitors at once.
2 Floors, 10 rooms, 7 Double rooms with private bathrooms, 2 triple room with private bathrooms, balconies, TV.

Room rates:
One person - 30 EUR (B/D);Booking

Personal contacts:
Tel: +995 568 861 084; +995 555 645 254;  E-mail: guesthouselasharai@yahoo.com

Guesthouse Shina

Location: Village Zemo (Upper) Omalo (2200m.)
Owner: Sergo Meltsaidze
Hotel can accommodate 18 visitors at once.
2 Floors, 8 rooms, 6 Double rooms with private bathrooms, 2 triple room with private bathrooms, balconies, TV.

Room rates:
One person - 30 EUR (B/D);Booking

Personal contacts:
Tel: +995 595 262 046; +995 597 970 112;  E-mail: hotelshina@gmail.com

Guesthouse Tusheti

Location: Village kvemo (lower) Omalo.
Owner: Vaja Shabalaidze
Hotel can accommodate 22 visitors at once.
2 Floors, 11 rooms, 6 Double rooms with private bathrooms, 3 triple room with shared bathrooms, balconies, TV.

Room rates:
One person - 25 EUR (B/D);Booking

Personal contacts:
Tel: +995 599 790 092; +995 599 231 132;  E-mail: hoteltusheti@yahoo.com

Guesthouse Kamsuri

Location: Village kvemo (lower) Omalo 
Owner: Gela Bakhturidze
Hotel can accommodate 12 visitors at once.
3 Floors, 6 Double rooms with two shared bathrooms, balcony, TV.


Room rates:
Per person - 20 EUR (B/D);Booking

Personal contacts:
Tel: +995 595 544 111;

Guesthouse Tower

Location: Village Zemo (Upper) Omalo
Owner: Nugzar Idoidze
Hotel can accommodate 9 visitors at once.
3 Floors, 4 rooms, 3 Double rooms with private bathrooms, 1 triple room with shared bathroom, balcony, TV.

Room rates:
Per person - 25 EUR (B/D);Booking

Personal contacts:
Tel: +995 593 769 135; +995 599 110 879;  E-mail: nidoidze@yahoo.com

Guesthouse Keselo

Location: Village kvemo (lower) Omalo 
Owner: Nani Arshaulidze
Hotel can accommodate 12 visitors at once.
2 Floors, 6 Double rooms with two shared bathrooms, balcony.


Room rates:
Per person - 25 EUR (B/D);Booking

Personal contacts:
Tel: +995 558 209 901; +995 598 941 270;  E-mail: arshaulidze@gmail.com

Family Guesthouse

Location: Village kvemo (lower) Omalo 
Owner: Zurab Mouravidze
Hotel can accommodate 8 visitors at once.
1 Floors, 1 Double room, 2 triple with one shared bathroom, balcony.


Room rates:
Per person - 15 EUR (B/D);Booking

Personal contacts:
Tel: +995 598 540 545; +995 598 252 123;  E-mail: mouravidze@gmail.com

Family Guesthouse

Location: Village kvemo (lower) Omalo 
Owner: Mamuka Kindolauri
Hotel can accommodate 9 visitors at once.
2 Floors, 3 Double room, 1 triple with two shared bathroom.


Room rates:
Per person - 15 EUR (B/D);Booking

Personal contacts:
Tel: +995 593 323 586; +995 599 313 913; +995 593 531 796

Guesthouse Mirgvela

Location: Place Mirgvela, Cross-road of Pirikiti and Gometsari Gorges, 3.5km from Omalo village
Owner: Vaja Itiuridze
Hotel can accommodate 17 visitors at once.
2 Floors, 8 rooms, 7 Double rooms with private bathrooms, 1 triple room with shared bathroom, balcony.

Room rates:
Per person - 20 EUR (B/D);Booking

Personal contacts:
Tel: +995 599 636 103; +995 597 066 000;  E-mail: mirgvela@yahoo.com

Guesthouse Samtsikhe

Location: Village Dartlo
Owner: Beso Elanidze
Hotel can accommodate 24 visitors at once.
11 rooms, 8 Double rooms with shared bathrooms, 3 triple rooms with shared bathrooms, balconies.

Room rates:
Per person - 25 EUR (B/D);Booking

Personal contacts:
Tel: +995 599 118 993; +995 599 785 302;  E-mail: bes.el@posta.ge

Guesthouse Kekhi

Location: Village Khakhabo
Owner: Giorgi Bakuridze
Hotel can accommodate 9 visitors at once.
2 Floors, 4 rooms, 3 Double rooms with private bathrooms, One triple room with private bathroom.

Room rates:
Per person - 20 EUR (B/D);Booking

Personal contacts:
Tel: +995 557 143 907;  E-mail: gio.bakuridze@gmail.com

Guesthouse Shenako

Location: Village Shenako
Owner: Irodi Bukvaidze
Hotel can accommodate 10 visitors at once.
2 Floors, 5 rooms, 3 Double rooms with shared bathrooms, one triple and one single rooms with sheared bathroom.

Room rates:
Per person - 20 EUR (B/D);Booking

Personal contacts:
Tel: +995 558 639 722; +995 577 101 876;  E-mail: hotelshenaqo@yahoo.com

Guesthouse Kruiskari

Location: Village Dochu
Owner: Usupi Torgvaidze
Hotel can accommodate 14 visitors at once.
6 rooms, 4 Double rooms with private bathrooms, 2 triple rooms with sheared bathroom, balcony.

Room rates:
Per person - 20 EUR (B/D);Booking

Personal contacts:
Tel: +995 599 285 647; ;  E-mail: hotelkruiskari@yahoo.com

Guesthouse Lamata

Location: Village Verkhovani
Owner: Anzor Kritiuli
Hotel can accommodate 22 visitors at once.
6 rooms, 5 Double rooms with private bathrooms, one triple room with sheared bathroom, balconies.

Room rates:
One person - 20 EUR (B/D);Booking

Personal contacts:
Tel: +995 599 700 378;  E-mail: natia-kritiuli@web.de

Guesthouse Sargiri

Location: Village Jvarboseli
Owner: Panto Kardlidze
Hotel can accommodate 12 visitors at once.
5 rooms, 3 Double rooms, 2 triple rooms with one sheared bathroom, balconies.

Room rates:
One person - 17 EUR (B/D);Booking

Personal contacts:
Tel: +995 555 300 221; +995 599 755 543