Pirikiti Valley

Dartlo

The village of Dartlo is about 3 hours of walk or 1 hour of drive from Omalo. It can mainly attract you with its original houses from the 19th century, mostly with their unique stone roofs (often substituted by metal sheets in Omalo), vastly reconstructed in 2012. The place is also characterized with its distinct towers, rather slender, resembling those in Khevsureti or Ingushetia. The "Stone Court" (saprindao) located behind the ruined church (that women were not allowed to approach) was restored in 2010 with the help of Czech volunteers. The place was used for deliberations on important issues in the community and for settling any local disputes pursuant to customary law. Today, it is considered a unique landmark of its kind, the only one existing in the Caucasus mountains. Above Dartlo we may find the fortified village of Kvavlo, where the locals defended themselves from the raids by Dagestani and Chechens. The village is almost entirely abandoned today. Still, it preserves a typical character of the defense towers of Khevsureti-Tusheti.

The village of Chigho is half way between Dartlo and Diklo. Lashari, the main Tusheti shrine and a place of gatherings of Tushetian communities, is just above the village. Girevi is the first and last inhabited place (in summer) after/before the hike from/to Khevsureti through Atsunta Pass. Several interesting villages may be found in the surroundings - Dakiurta (high above Girevi) and Nakudurta (short way up the hill) with their houses and towers. Girevi itself retains a perfectly preserved defence tower of the Khevsureti type (see the picture on the right), which neighbours a ruined dwelling tower. There is a nice view of the source of Pirikiti Alazani Valley, the confluence of the rivers Narovani (left) and Kvakhidis Tskali (right). The promontory above the confluence (you will have to wade through the river Kvakhidis Tskali) preserves the remnants of the village of Hegho. Higher on the hillside you may see a burial place with tombs still containing human remains and shrines. From Hegho there is a way through Narovanis Tskali Valley to Narovani Lake.


Chigho and Lashari

The village of Chigho is half way between Dartlo and Diklo. Lashari, the main Tusheti shrine and a place of gatherings of Tushetian communities, is just above the village.

Pharsma

A village between Cheso and Girevi, it is dominated by a clan tower with the reputation of the most solid tower in all Tusheti (see the legend about its construction). Its history is inherently linked to the Tusheti legend of heroine Tino, who defended Pharsma and Tusheti from the raids of Murtaza Khan in 1841-1842.


Legend about Pharsma tower construction

The Girevi and Pharsma towers are said to have been constructed by famous builders, a father and his son. Pharsma was suffering from hunger that year. The inhabitants of Girevi cherished their builders generously while those in Pharsma could not. The son then said to his father:

"I shall not keep my promise given to the people of Pharsma as they feed me bad food".

"And what do they feed you? the father asked.

"Flour churned with milk" was the son's response.

"And what do they feed themselves?"

"They feed themselves what comes to their hand".

"You see, my son. They feed themselves worse and give better to you. They treat you the best they can. Do not betray your word", said the father.

The builder fulfilled his promise.

Girevi

Girevi is the first and last inhabited place (in summer) after/before the hike from/to Khevsureti through Atsunta Pass. Several interesting villages may be found in the surroundings - Dakiurta (high above Girevi) and Nakudurta (short way up the hill) with their houses and towers. Girevi itself retains a perfectly preserved defence tower of the Khevsureti type (see the picture on the right), which neighbours a ruined dwelling tower. There is a nice view of the source of Pirikiti Alazani Valley, the confluence of the rivers Narovani (left) and Kvakhidis Tskali (right). The promontory above the confluence (you will have to wade through the river Kvakhidis Tskali) preserves the remnants of the village of Hegho. Higher on the hillside you may see a burial place with tombs still containing human remains and shrines. From Hegho there is a way through Narovanis Tskali Valley to Narovani Lake.