Useful terms

Useful terms for survival in Tusheti


Alaverdoba (ალავერდობა). The biggest Kakheti festival held at the Alaverdi monastery at the time of autumn migration from summer pastures in Tusheti to winter pastures on the border with Azerbaijan. Celebrated 28 September.

Aludi (ალუდი). Tushetian variant of beer brewed from hops in a dedicated building (located in almost every village). Access to the brewery restricted for women in their period.


Araki (არაყი). Alcoholic drink made from grains, often also refers to brandy in general or chacha.

Atnigenoba (ათნიგენობა). A series of festivals beginning on the 100th day after Easter and held during two weeks in all villages of Tusheti. Traditionally, the events preceded the beginning of summer-autumn work. They are organized by shulta (may be more than one in larger villages), who is responsible for brewing beer (aludi), banquets, etc. In larger villages the festival is accompanied with horse races, games or ritual ceremonies (korbeghela).

Boseli (ბოსელი). Literally cowshed (plural form boslebi), winter home

Chacha (ჭაჭა). Brandy made from grape pomace served on any social occasions (encounters, feasts). See also "Araki".

Jvari (ჯვარი) name of a mountain shrine, literally "cross".

Ghele (ღელე). Pass (fully ugheltesi)

Khakhmati (ხახმატი, also Khakhmati Giorgi ხახმატისგიორგი). Name of one of the main Khevsureti shrines. Dedication to the patron of warriors was popular among Tushs as a number of Khakhmati shrines in Tusheti prove.

Khati (ხატი). In Georgian language "icon", understood as a sacred place, a shrine

Khelosani (ხელოსანი). Guard and servant of the shrine (khati).

Khevisberi (ხევისბერი). One of the guards of a shrine, typically chosen from local elders. Frequently also considered a political leader of the community.

Khutsesi (ხუცესი, also dekanozi, დეკანოზი). Spiritual guard of a shrine who performs usually religious rites in the shrine during festivals.

Kakhet-tushetoba (ახეთ-თუშეთობა). Traditional migration of Tushs from the mountains to the lowlands and vice versa.

Kopala (კოპალა). A legendary hero from the mountains of eastern Georgia who got his fame by expelling enemies and the ungodly. He is worshipped as a deity in many shrines around Tusheti dedicated to his name.

Korbeghela (ქორბეღელა). A magical rite performed during the Atnigenoba festival that is based on pagan traditions (see Makalatia, S.: Tusheti. Tbilisi, 1993, p.202). Five men stand in a circle holding each other's shoulders while other five men stand in the same circle on their mates' shoulders forming a human pyramid. This pyramid turns in a circle accompanied by singing, moving towards the village shrine (khati). The circular movement represents the sun moving in the sky (see the picture).

Kotori (კოტორი). Pancakes stuffed with curd or cheese, possibly with potatoes and cheese, which is a Tusheti version of khachapuri.

Kvevris gvino (ქვევრის ღვინო). Wine from kvervi (large vessels buried in the ground), traditional way of aging wine in Georgia.

Lasharis Giorgi (ლაშარიგიორგი). The main shrine of Tusheti above the village of Chigho, a hypostasis of the Pshavi shrine Lashari, is dedicated to St. George, patron of warriors

Lotsva (ლოცვა). Pray

Mimino (მიმინო, in Georgian "Sparrow hawk", incorrectly translated as "Falcon"). A Soviet legendary film (starring famous Georgian actor Vakhtang Kikabidze) about a pilot who flies from Kakheti to Omalo and dreams of large passenger aircrafts. When his dream comes true he begins to long for his return to Kakheti and flying a helicopter to Omalo and back.

Sadghegrdzelo (სადღეგრძელო). A Toast.


Salotsavi (სალოცავი). General denomination of a sacred place.

Stskalobdes (სწყალობდეს). Literally "Let the God bless (the work)". Traditional exclamation mainly in the time of festivals accompanying a toast to oblations and feasts as such.

Sopheli (სოფელი). Village.

Sophel-bosloba (სოფელ-ბოსლობა). Seasonal migration between the summer and winter homes in Tusheti.

Suphra (სუფრა). A reception held on various occasions (celebrations, weddings, welcoming guests), usually of several or many courses with toasts (sadghegrdzelo), managed by tamada.

Shulta (შულტა). A man representing the village in the time of a festival. Responsible for organization, receptions, brewing sufficient volume of beer (aludi) and getting a tamada for the banquet.

Tamada (თამადა). The toastmaster sitting at the head of the table having toasts or possibly delegating those to other people.

Temi (თემი). A community in Tusheti (and Georgia in general) based on the people's common local and clan or communal identity.

Zedashe (ზედაშე). Blessed wine (or any other alcoholic drink) used during rites, festivals or other celebrations.

Zezvaoba (ზეზვაობა). Spring festival in the time of driving sheep from the lowlands to the mountains. It is dedicated to Tusheti hero Zezva Gaphrindauli.