Throughout the history, there have been pandemic outbreaks all over the world. We know historic places, where people took quarantine and isolation measures. But the story of Anatori is unique and not like any other.
Anatori is located on the crossroads of two valleys. The roads coming from Chechnya-Ingushetia, Dagestan, Tusheti, Kartli-Kakheti are crossed over there.
So, when a black plague broke out in the village, it was very important to prevent the spread. People took drastic measures, thus demonstrated high level of social responsibility.
Three men were chosen to control all three exits out of the village, so that no one could escape. If someone attempted the run, the gunmen had the right to shoot. The villagers built the tombs. Inside the tombs layers of shelves were arranged, along the walls. Infected people would voluntarily go to the tomb, lay on a shelf and wait for their death.
Several dozen people were buried in the tombs. The bones of those, who died previously were accumulated on the floor and under the shelves of the lower tier.
Archaeological excavations have uncovered wooden utensils, jewelry, arrowheads, and silver coins. Also, a woman’s skeleton was found next to the baby’s skeleton and crib. Such level of self-sacrifice is probably unknown to mankind.
Sadly, over the years the tombs were looted and not only jewelry, but also human skulls and bones were taken. Since then, nobody dared to settle in the village. The place is considered sacred and mystical.
Today, remains of the tombs are still there. Since Khevsureti is quite a tourist attraction, many pass by the place and not even know what a tragic history it has. So, if you happen to travel this beautiful part of Georgia, please be respectful of Anatori tombs and to those, who found the resting place there forever. It’s a haunting place even today, with a spectacular setting 3km north of Shatili.
Georgian poets dedicated poems to Anatori. One of them is a poem “The Notes of Anatoreli” by Giorgi Arabuli. There are sad verses written from the point of view of a person, who is waiting for death.
“I left outside my horse.
“You gave birth to me, mother –
You gave birth to your own pain.”
“My children are here too.
I do not breathe anymore,
So the air is enough for them.”
Trips in a 4 x 4 can be arranged from the city of Tbilisi.