On this page we give all the information you will need for travel to the most remote and hardly accessible, but at the same time most interesting and authentic mountainous regions of Georgia - Tusheti.
Located on the northern slopes of the Greater Caucasus Mountains, Tusheti is bordered by the Russian republics of Chechnya and Dagestan to the north and east and by the Georgian historic provinces Kakheti and Pshav-Khevsureti to the south and west, respectively. The population of the area is mainly ethnic Georgians called Tushs or Tushetians.
Administratively speaking, Tusheti is now part of Akhmeta, itself part of Georgia's eastern region of Kakheti. The largest village in Tusheti is Omalo.
Many Tush families began to move southwards from Tusheti during the first half of the nineteenth century and settled in the low-lying fields of Alvan at the western end of Kakheti.
Alvan had already belonged to the Tush as a wintering-ground for their flocks for centuries; it was bequeathed to them in the 17th century in recognition of their valuable assistance in defeating a Persian army at the Battle of Bakhtrioni in 1659.
Many of these families practiced a semi-nomadic way of life, spending the summer with families and the flocks of sheep high up in the mountains between April and October, and wintering in Kakheti.
Traditionally, the Tushs are sheep herders. Tushetian Gouda cheese and high quality wool has always been famous. Even today sheep and cattle breeding is the leading branch of the economy of highland Tusheti.
One of the most ecologically unspoiled regions in the Caucasus, Tusheti is a popular mountain-trekking venue.
Pork is tabooed in Tusheti. Farmers will not raise pigs and travelers are advised to not bring any pork into the region. Locals will however eat pork themselves when not in Tusheti.
Keep in mind, due to its remoteness and high mountain passes Tusheti can be accessed by land transport only in Summertime, from May till Late October (depending on amount of snow). Also keep in mind that roads are always in bad condition and often get closed for short times due to landslides and for maintenance. The regions can only be accessed by 4WD vehicles.
Some restrictions and recommendations:
- Pork meat is not allowed in the territory of Tusheti
- Ladies are not allowed to go near the holy places (local places of worship)
- Local shepherd dogs often seem to be aggressive (and sometimes are dangerous) but on popular trails they are used to tourists and tamed by their owners. Anyway if you see a sheep herd, beware of the dogs.
- In general, Tushs are mountain people who highly appreciate their traditions and also respect and love guests, in return they ask for similar respect.
Here's a great video by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
ROUTE MAP (ONE WAY)
The Secrets And Dangers Of Georgia's Tusheti Road