Tusheti: One Of Georgia’s Most Fascinating Regions

Photo of Ioanna Sakellaraki
9 February 2017

The perfect region for hiking as well as horse-trekking, Tusheti holds some of Georgia’s best-kept secrets in terms of food, hospitality and natural beauty.

View to Tushetian valley | © Ioanna Sakellaraki

Tusheti is located in the northeastern corner of Georgia, and bordered by the Russian Republics of Chechnya and Dagestan to the north and east. Hidden between pristine mountain peaks and valleys of the Caucasus, it has become one of the most welcoming destinations for long hikes and trekking. There is only a single 4-wheel-drive-accessible road through the 2900-meter Abano Pass from Kakheti that leads there. The weather can vary, so make sure you are well-equipped for the cold nights (even during summer).

Tusheti has a long history, and evidence of the old animistic religion here can be found around the different corners of this precious region. Stone shrines with the horns of sacrificed goat or sheep (khatebi), as well as ancient defensive towers (koshkebi) still stand in many of the villages.

View from Omalo | © Ioanna Sakellaraki
View from Omalo | © Ioanna Sakellaraki

Most of the villages in Tusheti are 2000 meters above sea level, offering some splendid views over some of the most impressive grass valleys of the South Caucasus. Omalo village is the biggest and most easily accessible village through the road from Kakheti. Perched in the rocky peaks of Tusheti, Omalo sustains an amazing grouping of old towers, also known as keseloebi. Here, you can find guesthouses and some of the best Georgian hospitality and specialties.

Hiking all the way through to Shenaqo village, east from Omalo, you will come across one of the prettiest villages in the area. Stone houses with large wooden balconies and delicate architecture of impressive complexity grouped under the only currently functional Orthodox church in the region. Heading just 4 kilometers east from Shenaqo, you can reach the old fortress of Diklo village, overlooking the splendid valleys.

View to Dartlo | © Ioanna Sakellaraki
View to Dartlo | © Ioanna Sakellaraki

Dartlo village is situated 12 kilometers east from the main village of Omalo, perched onto the Pirikiti Alazani Valley with another impressive grouping of ancient defensive towers build with a dark stone, well-conserved until today. A couple of guesthouses with a small number of private rooms and beautiful views by the river can also be found in here, making Dartlo worth the steep hike from Omalo. It definitely offers some of the most rewarding mountain views along the way. If you have the courage to climb up, Kvavlo village, no more than 400 meters above Dartlo, consists of just one ancient tower overlooking the whole valley and amazing scenery right in the heart of Caucasian nature.

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