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 started relocating from Tusheti to the southern regions during the first half of the 19th century, establishing settlements in the low-lying fields of Alvani, situated at the western edge of Kakheti.
Alvani had long served as a wintering ground for Tush shepherds and their flocks, a tradition dating back centuries. In recognition of the Tush people's invaluable assistance in defeating a Persian army at the Battle of Bakhtrioni in 1659, Alvani territory was granted to them in the 17th century.
These families typically followed a semi-nomadic lifestyle, spending their summers high in the mountains with their families and herds of sheep from April to October, and relocating to Kakheti for the winter months.
Traditionally, the Tush people have been known for their expertise in sheep herding, production of Tushetian Guda cheese and high-quality wool being particularly renowned. Even today, sheep and cattle breeding remain their primary economic activities.
Tusheti is widely recognized as one of the most ecologically pristine areas in the Caucasus, making it a sought-after destination for mountain trekkers and nature enthusiasts.
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