Friday, 17 April 2009

An introduction to Tusheti - Georgia



The following blog is my personal account of Tusheti , what I've learned about this remote region in Georgia, plus a number of personal observations I would have liked to have known when I was trying to uncover the fundimentals about the region . All essential when attempting to travel on horseback with my family in the summer of 2007.
I must confess some of the information detailed in this account could be inaccurate but I've made every attempt to try and gather as accurate a picture as I can of this Alpine heaven.
This small and unique part of Georgia is tucked up in the northeast of Georgia, on the Dagestan and Chechen boarders. Cradled in the Caucasus ,Tusheti is an untamed region, cut off from the world and until recently only populated by Shepperd's and Cowmen who make a meagre living by crafting a variety of cherished salty cheeses, supplemented by the farming of potatoes and vegetables grown in their cottage gardens. This remote and remarkable area is one of the most fascinating and pristine high-mountain regions in Georgia and most likely Europe.


In recent years the indigenous population has diminished significantly, with many Tush now working in the lowlands and only visiting the region during festival times. This leaves a minority of Tush to continue living a tough transhumant life in the mountains. A life made harder by the fact that most Tushetiens take three days to move their stock up from the lowlands in May for the summer pastures and bringing them down again in October to over winter in a more gentle climate. .

Life has changed in recent years for the Tush. Tourism is beginning to take a hold as the world wakes up to a people and lifestyle forgotten about by those in the grip of ambition and wealth creation. As we make a dash for prosperity and comfort, the western world appears to have lost touch with the land of our forefathers and for some, Tusheti is one of the last links with life as it was.

This account is an assortment of general information, facts and insight I've learned while travelling in this region. It is not a sentimental view but a pragmatic window on a part of the world that no man can ever tame. This is a noble land that even the Georgians find hard to understand but by reading this account you may gain a taste and understanding for Tushetians shear exuberance, vitality and energy, born from another era and a tribal culture that must be nearly extinct in other parts of Europe.

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