Historically and geographically established mountainous region in northeastern Georgia. It is located in a mountain hollow, on the northern slopes of the Greater Caucasus Mountains. One of the most inaccessible regions, resulting in a well-preserved its pristineness. You can say: few have heard of him, but many have seen. Here were filmed some scenes of the most popular artistic tape of George Danelia "Mimino". And although the film is almost forty years old, it is still remembered and quoted. The main character of the film is a pilot Valiko Mizandari - tushin by origin, a native of Shenako.
Tusheti is located at an altitude of one and a half to four and a half thousand meters, and the settlements are at an altitude of 1900-2400 meters. It consists of four communities and administratively belongs to the Akhmeta municipality, part of the region of Kakheti.
Only in 1975, the road to Tushetia was built from Pshaveli (near Telavi) to the large village of Omalo, but it also works no more than three months a year, from June to September. The rest of the year, Tushetia is cut off from civilization. Most tushin (or tushintsev) now lives in the Alazani Valley, few families spend the winter in the mountains.
Tushins build their houses without mortar, skillfully rubbing flat slate stones together so that there are no gaps. In the old days, their dwellings were tall narrow towers: cattle were kept on the first floor, the owners lived on the second floor, and the upper part with loopholes - served as a defensive structure, there were always many stones stored there. There were male and female towers: women and children took refuge in the women's, while the men held the defense. Since ancient times, one of the main occupations of the local population was sheep breeding, the traditions of chaban art passed from father to son. True, in recent years, young tushins do not willingly go to the shepherds, because the work is truly convict.
The tushins adopted Christianity, but remained faithful to paganism as well: they sacrifice animals and worship the sun god. In many sacred places is forbidden to be women. Therefore, you can often find prohibitive signs in connection with this.
Six settlements of Tusheti are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Climate and weather
Mountain: winter is long, summer is hot, but in the evenings cool. Sometimes in the summer for 2-3 days in a row it rains. The tourist season is short - about three months.
How to get there?
There is no public transport. The most common route is along the highway from Telavi through Pshaveli, the difficult Abano pass at an altitude of almost 3,000 kilometers and further along the mountains to Omalo. We must go on the off-road, some brave go on motorcycles.
You can fly to Omalo by a helicopter from Telavi, as the hero of the film “Mimino” did (by the way, the private airport in Telavi is called Mimino). And also a 12-seater AN-2 aircraft from the Natakhtari private airfield, located between Tbilisi and Mtskheta (approximately 70 GEL).
Can be reached from Akhmeta on your own or rented car.
From Tbilisi you can find tours in Tusheti: from Ortachalsky and Navtlug bus stations ply minibuses (6 lari, 2 hours) and from Isani metro station (10 lari, 2 hours) - but they are only to Kvemo-Alvani (120 km from Tbilisi), and then rent an SUV.
The section of the Alvano-Omalo road, about 80 km long, in 2013, according to the version of the Air Force (British Broadcasting Corporation), was included in the list of the most extreme roads in Europe. On steep climbs before our eyes only a narrow strip of the route, piercing the sky.
For the night you can stay in the guesthouses or family houses of Omalo and other settlements. You can additionally order three meals or lunch - for example, for a picnic in the mountains. If you come by car, really agree to put a tent near someone's home or pasture.
Sights of Tusheti
It is more convenient to start a trip to Tusheti from Omalo, this is the geographical center of the region, where all the ways converge. There is electricity, mobile communications, a hotel and a shop.
The settlement is divided into two parts: Upper and Lower. In the old part is Keselo fortress of 13 towers, which served as a defensive line during the Tatar-Mongol invasion.
In Shenako there is the only Christian church in the mountain Tusheti - Trinity (or Sameba), built in 1843. Nearby are “niches”, local sanctuaries preserved from pagan beliefs. Women are not allowed to visit them.
15 kilometers from Omalo - the village of Dartlo. It is considered the highest and most beautiful. Here was another Christian church (1801), the ruins remained - very picturesque. The local tower, they say, was six floors. In the eastern part of the village - the pagan sanctuary Yakhsri.
By itself, this land is a huge natural landmark: waterfalls, rivers, mountain ranges, covered with thick forests, majestic glaciers, grazing flocks of sheep, horses ... Incredible pleasure and real rest for people living in megacities - to enjoy the pristine nature and silence.
The whole territory of Tusheti is a National Park, founded in 2003. Since then, the protected areas are divided into three zones: a reserve (about 11 hectares), a national park (83.5 hectares) and a landscape reserve (28 hectares). Rare animals are found here and unique plants grow. The peculiarity of this national park is that there are settlements of people in it. Even the entrance, as such, is not: having arrived here, you are already walking in the park. The picturesque surroundings of any village are called for a walk.
In Tusheti move on foot and on horseback. Many so-called "goat paths", which will have to walk, from the means of submission unless the bike.
With good weather, you can go on a circular route: Omalo - Verkhovani - Jarboseli - Chesco - Dartlo and return to the starting point. There are many short simple routes: Keselo - Kue (10 km, 8 hours); from Dartlo to the fortresses of the ancient abandoned city of Kavlo (12 km). By renting horses, you can make exciting walks and hikes from Shenako to Diklo, or to Lake Oreti. From Dartlo begin hiking and equestrian routes through the pass Atsunta.
Yes, how many more directions and parts of indescribable beauty! In the visitors' center of the protected area (during the season it is located in Omalo) you can look for interesting travels that match your time and energy. You will admire impressive landscapes, listen to birds singing, watch bezoar goats ...
A special local product is Aludi's low alcohol beer, very tasty. Production is simple, but in other parts of Georgia this is not done.
Of the dishes of national cuisine it is worth noting the guddy cheese (from sheep's milk). Each shepherd has his own recipe. 20 days the cheese is aged in sheep's skins, the aroma is specific, so not everyone is at risk to try, but who dares will not refuse the next bite.
The most popular meat is lamb. In general, meat products are difficult here: there are no refrigerators and shops.
• It is advisable to bring fruit, cigarettes, if you need them.
• Guesthouse guides with power on.
• Pork products must not be imported.
• Stock up on fuel for your car at the rate of 20 liters per 100 km, there are no gas stations here.
• Get ready that the Internet will not be a problem with a mobile connection.
• Approximately half of the population does not know Russian, few people know English.
• The Tushins, even though they are Orthodox Christians, have their own rules. Mountain patriarchal foundations prohibit women from entering holy places (even where, for example, local beer is brewed). Many of these places have warning signs; if not, they will warn you, take it easy. Show respect for your lifestyle.
• Be careful when meeting with herding dogs.
• On excursions do not forget to take water and at least a small supply of food.
• Traveling along this edge requires a certain physical form. If you are not very confident in yourself, stop in Omalo and walk along several simple routes in the vicinity, arrange a picnic on the edge of the abyss - even this will be enough to get unforgettable impressions of nature.