The country of Georgia is well known for its beautiful nature and it is a top tourist destination. Besides ancient and modern cities, Georgia is known for its mountainous regions.
Khevsureti is a remote mountainous region, that is located in Northern Georgia, between Kazbegi and Tusheti. This historical area is famous for its unique abandoned settlements, fortified villages, and rivers. The road leading to Khevsureti goes through alpine landscapes and is an adventure itself.
The upper part of the Khevsureti region, lies on the Caucasian mountains northern slopes. The center of the region is comprised of medieval villages or fortress of Shatili, Arkhoti, and Mutso.
The region has been an inspiration to many travelers, painters, and writers for years. There are ancient cultural monuments such as: ritual places, tombs, and castle-towers, still preserved in this unique and picturesque Georgian region.
Shatili, Arkhoti and Mutso villages were used as defensive towns and it is evident, based on their existing impressive towers.
Khevsurians, people of the valley, have for a long time been known as formidable, yet respectful warriors and poets. They were able to survive domination by the Mongol, Persian, Roman, and Russian empires. These warriors, observed strict traditions and rules and were only subordinated to the King of Georgia. They safeguarded the Georgian Kingdom’s northern frontiers against nomadic tribes’ intrusion, in return for having no feudal lord.
From the middle of the 20th century, the region faced depopulation, due to lack of arable land and harsh climate. Today, most of the great portions of this Georgian region lie almost abandoned, having only a few families in the villages.
Shatili and Mutso
Shatili village is one of the most spectacular fortified villages of the Khevsureti. The village lies in the deep Argun river gorge. The ancient village has fortified houses made using stone and mortar. The fortified structures functioned, as fortresses and residential areas. The fortress has terraced structures and majorly flat-roofed houses and towers. About 60 of them are clustering together, thus forming a chain of fortifications.
Mutso is another important village in this region. This medieval village now is completely abandoned. Mutso is well known for its breathtaking mountain views, sacred legends and towers. The village has about 30 buildings. The fortified structures are arranged on 3 semi-artificial vertical terraces, on the Mutso-Ardoti Gorge. There are also combat towers and old structures surrounded by ruins.
This year, Mutso is a recipient of the European Heritage Award for Conservation. Also, it may win the prize of the Public Choice Award granted, by Europa Nostra: European cultural heritage organization. The winner of this award will be revealed by an online vote. Voting will be open to the public until September 15.
If you plan visiting Georgia, make sure to take time to explore Khevsureti. While hiking through this remote Georgian region, expect to be enchanted by folk songs, traditional Khevsurian costumes, heroic tales, Georgian cuisine and unrivaled hospitality.
How to get there
Buses from Tbilisi-Barisakho: Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun at 16:00
Buses from Tbilisi-Shatili: Tue, Friday at 09:00 from Navtlughi Station (close to Samgori Metro Station)