Pshavi is the southeastern part of historic Pkhovi. It was named in the 16th century. Today, together with Khevsureti, it


Pshavi is the southeastern part of historic Pkhovi. It was named in the 16th century. Today, together with Khevsureti, it belongs to Dusheti municipality. Pshavi is known in Georgia as the native land of Vazha-Pshavela. The great poet was born and worked in the village of Chargali. Pshavi is the smallest historic and ethnographic province of Georgia. It is bordered by Khevsureti to the north, Gudamakari to the west, and Tianeti to the southeast. The area of Pshavi is sparsely populated. The district has historically had small villages within the Magharoskari and Ukana Pshavi (Shuapkho) sakrebulos. The population’s migration, caused by hard living and economic conditions, started in the 19th century. At the end of the 19 th century, there were 48 villages in Pshavi, and the population exceeded 5 thousand; today’s statistics are as follows: up to 20 villages and 1,000 inhabitants. According to their respective populations, very sparsely populated villages can be found in Ukana Pshavi—7 of which have less than 10 inhabitants. The population of Pshavi today is scattered along the Aragvi, Iori, Ilto and Alazani riverheads. They also live in Gombori, Ertso-Tianeti and Shiraki.

Table 1. Dynamics of settlements and population of Pshavi. Barisakho and Ukanapshavi
YEAR                                        1886 1959 1970 2002
NUMBER OF VILLAGES          48     33       30     30
POPULATION                          5067 1411 1335 1002

The main river of Pshavi is Aragvi, which originates in Botana-Borolo (3,135 m). Climate change is caused by the physical and geographical situation of Pshavi (1,000-3,000 m a.s.l). In comparison with the lower areas of the Caucasus, the climate is relatively mild. The annual average temperature is 11 C, with cold winters that are 6 C on average. The annual precipitation is between 1,000-1,200 mm, and rain and mist is common in the summertime.
Pshavi ranked second among Georgia’s regions in terms of sheep breeding, with the most popular sheep breeding area being Tusheti. Because of the pastures necessary for the activity, Pshav sheep breeders settled in Iori, Gombori, Ertso-Tianeti and Shiraki; the cottage industry in the area works primarily with sheep-breeding related activities.

There are no towers preserved in Psahvi—only ruins. There are several ruins in Ukanapshavi, which is where the Pshav communities originally settled. These tower-fortresses were generally destroyed in the 13 th century when the Pshav’s rebelled against the king. Afterwards, they were prohibited from restoring the fortress-towers. Additionally, foreign tribes rarely penetrated into the region and defensive warfare could be carried out without fortresses.

At the converging point of Shuapkho and Goglaurta, on a high hill, the dry stone wall of Pshav Tsikhe-Gora Fortress stands; its height and width is 14 x 25 m. The fortress is difficult to access. A 70 cm thick wall stands in the northern part. To the south, the fortress meets a steep cliff, on the northwestern part of which some gaps are observable. A similar 50 x 50 m fortress wall has been preserved in the village of Muko. Its wall is high and has some gaps. Two towers are built on it. Both Mtiuluri-style towers are partially destroyed.