Khevsureti encompasses the Aragvi (Barisakho, Gudani–Piraketa Khevsureti), Arkhoti, Shatili and Ardoti (Pirikita Khevsureti) gorges. Khevsureti borders Tusheti to the east,


Khevsureti encompasses the Aragvi (Barisakho, Gudani–Piraketa Khevsureti), Arkhoti, Shatili and Ardoti (Pirikita Khevsureti) gorges. Khevsureti borders Tusheti to the east, the Russian Federation (Chechnya) to the north, Khevi and Mtiulet-Gudamakarito the west, and Pshavi to the south. Khevsureti has several deep gorges; its name sake Khevsureti implies that it is a place of deep gorges, as the term khevi means gorge in Georgian. Before the 1950s, 81 inhabited villages were in the basins of these gorges, including 35 located within the heads of the Aragvi River Basin. Today, 33 of Khevsureti’s villages are completely deserted; 48 villages (200 households, 700 persons) are inhabited, although the majority of them spend winter in lowland districts. Only 20 villages have permanent residents.

Table 2. Khevsureti Population Dynamics
YEAR                                          2010  2012          2010  2012
NUMBER OF HOUSEHOLDS   204  163                 67  56
POPULATION                            604  526               251  119

The Barisakho and Shatili municipalities comprise 10 principal communities:
Piraketa Khevsureti
(Barisakho Communiity Sakrebulo)
• Gveleti Community – villages: Motsmao, Sakhile, Datvisi, Gveleti, Achekha
• Barisakho Community – villages: Kvemo Barisakho, Zemo Barisakho, Korsha
• Chirdili Community – villages: Chirdili, Buchkurta, Uakanakho, Lipoda, Ubani, Okherkhevi
• Tskalsikiti Community – villages: Ghelisvake, Kmosti, Roshka, Blo
• Gorsheghmi Community – villages: Ukankhadu, Tsinkhadu, Atabe, Batsaligo, Chkhuba, Akbeli, Zeistechno
• Gudani Community – villages: Gudani, Ghuli, Chie, Biso, Khakhmati, Chormeshavi, Zenubani
• Likoki Community – villages: Akusho, Chalisopeli, Kobulo, Keo, Kartsaulta, Bogcvilo

Pirikita Khevsureti
(Shatili Community Sakrebulo)
• Arkhoti Community – villages: Amgha, Chimgha, Akhiela
• Shatili Community – villages: Shatili, Giorgitsminda, Kistani, Lebaiskari, Guro
• Mighmakhevi Community – villages: Mutso, Khanis Dziri, Ardoti, Khone, Khakhabo, Archilo, Andaki, Tsukie.


Arkhoti is situated in the Asa River Gorge, in northern Khevsureti, bordering Ingushetia to the west. It joins Piraketa Khevsureti via footpath. The principal sanctuary of the Arkhoti community is the cross of St. Michael the Archangel. Only three villages still remain in Arkhoti.

Amgha is situated near the Arkhoti community. The fragmentary remains of buildings preserved on terraces of the former village are built from dry slate stones. The monuments preserved in the village environs are: Gagati House-fortress; Tatraulebi Tower; Orbelti Church, the site of an ancient village; Kaviskatri Tower; the iron cross of church ruins; the Sveti Angel’s Cross; and the ensemble of a shrine including a hall, granary, “Droshat Sabzani”, tower, belfry tower, and the wall.

Akhieli Batakat House-fortress is located in central Akhieli. Kharat Tower-fortress is located 200 m northeast in the upper part of the village.

Anatori Cross is situated in Pirikita Khevsureti, 3 km from Shatili, at the confluence of the Arghuni and Mutsostskali rivers within the ancient village of Anatori. According to historical sources, the village, where the family of Sisuaris lived, died out in the 18 th century. Long ago, the village was plagued by an infection, and since no one remained to bury and take those who had passed away to the crypt, the sick villagers had to go themselves to the crypt and patiently await their demise there. In the crypt, along the wall, slate stone three-tier burial spaces were arranged. Archaeological excavations in the crypt discovered wooden vessels, various knickknacks, arrowheads and coins. The Anatori Cross was the common sanctuary of the Shatili community.

Ardoti is a village built on the left bank of the Andaki River in the Shatili community (Pirikita Khevsureti), at a height of 1,820 m a.s.l.—15km from Shatili. A church from the 19 th century, a so-called “free cross” type structure, the Ziviadauri Tower (which is located in the southern part of the village, on the slope), dates back to the Middle Ages. The Blessed Virgin’s Cross can be found in the village. The sanctuary consists of a hall, belfry, the lighting towers, boiler, public room (sajare) and a granary.

Barisakho is the administrative center of Khevsureti. The village has a school, a medical center and a police station. The Georgian National Museum keeps a ritual water vessel with the depiction of a lion sacrificed to the Barisakho Khmala Angel (12th-14 th cc).

Giorgitsminda Hill-Fortress (Tsikhetgori) Necropolis is an archaeological monument 5 km from Shatili at the confluence of the Arghuni and Giorgitsmindistskali Rivers (v. Giorgitsminda, Pirikita Khevsureti). It dates back to the end of the 3 rd century BC. The village has no permanent residents today.

Gudani Cross, a the 19 th century relic is situated in the village of Gudani (Piraketa Khevsureti). It is considered to be the principal deity of the three main tribal-communal unions of Arabulis, Chincharaulis and Gogochuris and is a religious center for all of Khevsureti.

Guro, the former village of Shatili, is situated 7.5 km southwest of Shatili’s current location. Currently, the village has no permanent residents. In the town, there are the remains of a 17 th -18 th century pyramide-shaped tower that used to have five stories in the village.

Kistani Village-fortress—this medieval historic-architectural monument is situated in the Arghuni river gorge at an elevation of 1,800 m a.s.l. The village-fortress is built on a rock relief and is divided into two compact units. The main part of the village (now the site of an ancient settlement) consisted of up to 30 house-for-tresses, which served both domestic and defensive purposes. The ruins of these house-fortress have been preserved. Not far from the village, on a high rock, two well-preserved defensive structures stand.

Lebaiskiri Tower is located in the Arghuni river gorge, near the site of the ancient settlement of Lebaiskiri, at a distance of 300 m from the Barisakho-Shatili motor road. The tower dates back to the Middle Ages. The tower has five stories and is built of rubble. The entrance is in the east on the second floor, 2.2 m above the ground.

Mutso—a village-fortress situated in Pirikita Khevsureti, in the Ardoti river gorge, at 1,800 m a.s.l., at a distance of 12 km from Shatili, on top of high rocks. Since time immemorial, Mutso has been a single fortification, a defensive system and the principal safeguarding point of the roads leading to Georgia from the north. In the village, which was depopulated more than a century ago, there are up to forty medieval houses and household structures. They are located on vertical terraces on top of Mutso-Ardoti Gorge. Today, four tower-fortresses and the ruins of several dwellings have been preserved, including the legendary Torghvi Fortress and a tower. Mutso is divided into two parts: the upper, older, Shetekari district, and the second, relatively new, Diauri district. The remote village is a popular site among tourists and mountain climbers.

Roshka is situated in Pirikita Khevsureti and is one of the oldest settlements, through which an important inner road passed. In the 19 th century, the local population began migrating from Roshka to Ertso-Tianeti. According to the 1924 census, 137 people lived in the village; their primary economic activity was cattle breeding. Currently, the village has only a few permanent residents. Didgori Cross— the principal sanctuary of Roshka-Kmosti—is not far from the village. It includes a hall, a space for castrating cattle, Mariamtsminda Tower and a belfry.

Khakhabo Village-fortress is located in Pirikita Khevsureti, 25 km from Shatili. The ruins of over 30 house-fortresses have been preserved in the village. Prince Bedli Angel’s Cross is located on a high rock northeast of the village. The ensemble of the shrine consists of a granary, boiler and belfry.

Shatili Village-fortress is a monument of Georgian architectural art. It is located to the north of the Greater Caucasus Range, at 1,400 m a.s.l. The village-fortress is 170 km from Tbilisi. This late Middle Ages construction served as both a dwelling and fortification. A series of clustered house-fortresses create a single, defensive wall that protected the village. Only a narrow road running through the Arghuni Gorge connects the village to the outer world. Shatili is terrace-built; the principal type of buildings are flat-roofed houses and tower dwellings. What makes Shatili unique is its system of  connection through inner passes, which makes it possible to move within the whole village without leaving its defenses. Since 2007, Shatili has been included in the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites.