Population

The Tusheti population is formed by approximately 48 original villages. Most inhabitants show pronounced Tusheti regional identity and still use their vigorous Tusheti dialect of Georgian. The entire Tusheti region is divided into four main subregions - the valleys of Chaghma, Pirikiti, Gometsari, and Tsovata with their local identities. The geographical borders of these valleys are logically delimited by individual river basins. Sometimes, the valleys comprise only a single Community (temi), while we may find more Communitys in other valleys (see below). Located on the slope between the Gometsari and Pirikiti Alazani valleys, the village of Omalo in the Community of Chaghma is the central and most strategic place. Keselo Hill with its reconstructed clan towers dominates the village and its large surroundings.

Tsovata, located in the valley of the River Tsovatis Tskali, tributary to the upper Gometsari Alazani, is a specific ethnical subregion of Tusheti. The local villages were once inhabited by Tsova Tushs (in some resources referred to as the Bats people, by their ethnonym - Batsav in singular and Batsbi in plural). In contrast to other Tushs, somehow incorrectly generally called the Chaghma Tushs, Tsova Tushs preserved their own language. The Tsova Tush language, i.e. the Bats language, is part of the Nakh group of Caucasian mountain languages, along with Chechen and Ingush (additionally, Kist idiom is sometimes also distinguished as a specific language in Pankisi Valley). According to the medieval Georgian Chronicles known as the Kartlis Tskhovreba, Tusheti and its neighbouring regions from Khev and Pirikiti Khevsureti to the borders of the land of Didos were originally part of Durdzuketi, a country dominated by the Vainakh (Nakh) tribes, i.e. ancestors of today's Chechens and Ingush, Pankisi Kists or the mentioned Tsova-Tushs. Nevertheless, in the early Middle Ages the descendants of the legendary forefather Durdzuk got under the influence of the Georgian state and missionary work of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Groups of people speaking Georgian apparently used to migrate to the territory of Durdzuks as well. As early as the Middle Ages, the Georgian identity and language successively prevailed in most of the land of the Durdzuks (including Tusheti), which thus became integral part of the present territory of Georgia. The social organization of Durdzuks was disrupted by raids of Genghis Khan at the beginning of the 13th century. While other parts of Tusheti only retained toponyms pointing at a strong influence of Nakhs (Vainakhs), the Community of Tsova has preserved its own specific Nakh language until today. In this respect, Chechens characteristically give the name of Batsoy to the entire Tusheti community while they divide the actual inhabitants of Tusheti into "Georgians" and "Ours" (i.e. Tsova-Tushs). Despite their differing language, the Tsova Tushs consider themselves inseparable part of the Georgian nation and the Tusheti subethnical group. With other Tushs they share their traditions and history and enjoy long-lasting bonds of brotherhood. Since the 30's of the 19th century all the Tsova-Tushs have been settled in the Alvani lowland (today's village of Zemo Alvani in Kakheti), where they successively blended into the Georgian language environment and their own Bats language was on decline. Although the official resources mention about 3,000 native speakers of Bats, only several tens of them can speak the language fully (mostly the oldest generation) and as their main means of communication. Hence, Tsova Tush idiom is one of the critically endangered languages.

List of villages in individual subregions

Chaghma

Community (temi) Chaghma - Omalo (central village of the Community), Kumelaurta, Tsokalta; Diklo, Shenako, Ageurta (deserted), Bochorna;

Community (temi) Chanchakhovani - Khiso, Shtrolta, Zhvelurta, Chiglaurta, Natsikhari (originally central village of the Community), Khakhabo.

Pirikiti

Community (temi) Aghma (Upper Pirikiti) - Pharsma (central village of the Community), Girevi, Baso (deserted), Dakiurta (deserted), Nakudurta (deserted), Hegho (deserted), Chontio (deserted);

Community (temi) Samtsikhe (Lower Pirikiti) - Chigho, Dartlo (central village of the Community), Kvavlo, Dano, Chesho.

Gometsari

Community (temi) Gometsari - Jvarboseli (central village of the Community), Verkhovani, Alisgori, Bikuurta, Gudanta, Koklata, Vakisdziri, Vedziskhevi, Dadikurta (deserted), Tsikhino (deserted),

Community (temi) Khutsurta - Iliurta (central village of the Community), Bukhurta, Beghela, Dochu (Beghela and Dochu are sometimes listed within the Community of Gometsari)

Community (temi) Ivanaurta - Gogrulta, Vestmo, Vestomta, Chirdili (deserted), Sachigolo, Sabue (deserted)

Tsovata

Tsaro (originally central village of the Community), Etelta, Indurta, Sagirta, Mozarta, Shavtskali (all deserted)

(source: https://www.dzeglebi.ge/mxareebi_qalaqebi/tusheti/tusheti_zogadi.html)