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Historical Region

Map highlighting the historical region of Tusheti in Georgia
Country  Georgia
Mkhare Kakheti
Capital Omalo
 • Total 896 km2 (346 sq mi)

Tusheti (Georgia.


  • Geography 1
  • History 2
  • Migration to Kakheti 3
  • Culture 4
  • Historical population figures 5
  • See also 6
  • External links 7
  • References 8


Located on the northern slopes of the Greater Kakheti. The largest village in Tusheti is Omalo.


Typical towers at Dartlo, Tusheti

The area is thought to have long been inhabited by the

  1. ^ a b c The Red Book of Peoples of the Russian Empire; Bats section. Available online:
  2. ^ Jaimoukha, Amjad. The Chechens: A Handbook. Routledge Curzon: Oxon, 2005. Page 29
  3. ^ Джавахишвили И. А. Введение в историю грузинского народа. кн.1, Тбилиси, 1950, page.47-49
  4. ^ Ахмадов, Шарпудин Бачуевич (2002). Чечня и Ингушетия в ХVIII - начале XIX века.  
  5. ^ Гаджиева В. Г. Сочинение И. Гербера Описание стран и народов между Астраханью и рекою Курой находящихся, М, 1979, page.55.
  6. ^ NICHOLS, Johanna, "The Origin of the Chechen and Ingush: A Study in Alpine Linguistic and Ethnic Geography", Anthropological Linguistics, Vol. 46, No. 2, 2004.
  7. ^ 15 and 20(c) in ALLEN, W.E.D. (Ed.), Russian Embassies to the Georgian Kings – 1589–1605, The Hakluyt Society, Second Series No. CXXXVIII, Cambridge University Press, 1970
  8. ^ Johanna Nichols, ibid.
  9. ^ GOULBAT, A., "The Tale of Zesva", in Caucasian Legends, translated from the Russian of A. Goulbat by Sergei de Wesselitsky-Bojidarovitch, New York: Hinds, Noble and Eldredge, 1904
  10. ^ TOPCHISHVILI, Prof. Roland, The Tsova-Tushs (the Batsbs), article published with funding from the University of Frankfurt's ECLING project
  11. ^ For detailed tables, go to this page on


  • Tusheti National Park - official website
  • Peter Nasmyth (2006), Walking in the Caucasus - Georgia: A Complete Guide to the Birds, Flora and Fauna of Europe's, page 121-140, ISBN 1-84511-206-7
  • The Bats people
  • Photos of Tusheti

External links

See also

Note: The Indurta and Sagirta communities were home to the Bats people.

1873 TOTAL: 50 villages, 1,131 households, consisting of 2,548 men and 2,555 women, in all 5,103 souls.

  • the Parsma community: 7 villages, 133 households, consisting of 290 men and 260 women, totalling 550 souls
  • the Dartlo community: 6 villages, 143 households, consisting of 251 men and 275 women, totalling 526 souls
  • the Omalo community: 7 villages, 143 households, consisting of 354 men and 362 women, totalling 716 souls
  • the Natsikhvári community: 8 villages, 116 households, consisting of 282 men and 293 women, totalling 575 souls
  • the Djvar-Boseli community: 10 villages, 116 households, consisting of 270 men and 295 women, totalling 565 souls
  • the Indurta community: 1 village, 191 households, consisting of 413 men and 396 women, totalling 809 souls
  • the Sagirta community: 3 villages, 153 households, consisting of 372 men and 345 women, totalling 717 souls
  • the Iliúrta community: 8 villages, 136 households, consisting of 316 men and 329 women, totalling 645 souls

Figures from the Russian imperial census of 1873 given in Dr. Gustav Radde's Die Chews'uren und ihr Land — ein monographischer Versuch untersucht im Sommer 1876 (published by Cassel in 1878) divide the villages of Tusheti into eight communities:[11]

Historical population figures

Pork is tabooed in Tusheti. Farmers will not raise pigs and travelers are usually advised to not bring any pork into the region. Locals will however eat pork themselves when not in Tusheti.

One of the most ecologically unspoiled regions in the Caucasus, Tusheti is a popular mountain-trekking venue.

Traditionally, the Tushs are Khevsureti).

Keselo, Tusheti


The first to move were the Bats people following the destruction of one of their most important villages by a landslide in c.1830 and an outbreak of the plague.[10] The Tush of the Chaghma, Pirikiti and Gometsari communities followed later. Many of these families practiced a semi-nomadic way of life, the men spending the summer with the flocks of sheep high up in the mountains between April and October, and wintering their flocks in Kakheti.

(Alvan had already belonged to the Tush as a wintering-ground for their flocks for centuries; it was bequeathed to them in the seventeenth century in recognition of their valuable assistance in defeating a Persian army at the Battle of Bakhtrioni in 1659: Like a rushing stream did the Toushines make their way into the fortress, while the first rays of the rising sun were falling upon the grim old fortifications. The Tartars, half asleep, ran out into a field, but in vain for now they were met by the Pchaves and Khevsoures, who had ventured out from the gorge of Pankisse. The Tartars, surrounded on all sides, were exterminated to the last.[9])

Many Tush families began to move southwards from Tusheti during the first half of the nineteenth century and settled in the low-lying fields of Alvan at the western end of Kakheti.

Migration to Kakheti

During the German invasion of Soviet Union, a minor anti-Soviet revolt took place in the area in 1942-1943, seemingly linked to the similar but more large-scale events in the neighbouring Ingushetia.

Farsma tower, Tusheti

After the collapse of the unified Georgian monarchy, Tusheti came under the rule of Kakhetian kings in the fifteenth century.

For centuries there have been two communities next to each other in Tusheti, one speaking the Nakh language, the other Old Georgian. The general name for them is tush, according to their language either Tsova- or Chagma-Tushian. They formed one single material and intellectual unit with Old Georgian elements prevailing.

The descendants of the Old Georgian pagan tribes, whose ancestors had fled from Christianity to Tusheti, are regarded as Tushians. In the mountains some of the fugitives splintered off from other Old Georgian tribes. They were in close contact with the Nakh tribes which resulted in a new linguistic unit.[1]

Regarding the relationship between the Nakh (Tsova) and Georgian (Chaghma) Tushians, the "Red Book", states the following:

Pagan Georgians from Pkhovi took refuge in the uninhabited mountains during their rebellion against Christianization implemented by the Iberian king Mirian III in the 330s. Subsequently, they were forcibly converted to Christianity and subdued by the Georgian kings.

The Bats have considered themselves Georgian by nation for a long period of time, and have been speaking Georgian for a while as well.[8] The process of assimilation of the Bats continues, but many Bats have held on to Georgian Orthodox Christians.

Dartlo Village, Tusheti
Dartlo Village, Tusheti

King Bats languages. Nowadays, Bats is spoken only in a village Zemo Alvani. Anthropological studies on the Tsova-Tush found them to be somewhere in between the Chechen-origin Kists and the Chaghma-Tush of the region, but significantly closer to the Chaghma-Tush.[1]

The second theory has it that the Batsbi crossed the Greater Caucasus range from Ingusheti in the seventeenth century and eventually settled in Tusheti,[6][7] and that they are therefore a tribe of Ingush origin which was Christianized and "Georgianized" over the centuries.

A combat tower, Tusheti

One is that the Bats are the remnant of a larger Nakh-speaking people. Erebuni, a region linked to Nakh peoples by place names and various historiography.[3][4][5] However, theories linking the Bats to Transcaucasian peoples are not universally accepted (see below).

There are two major theories on the origins of the Bats (with various variations). [1] Historically, Tusheti comprised four mountain communities: the Tsova (living in the Tsova Gorge), the Gometsari (living along the banks of the Tushetis Alazani River), the Pirikiti (living along the banks of the Pirikitis Alazani River) and the Chaghma, living close to the confluence of the two rivers). Administratively speaking, Tusheti is now part of the

). tushebi

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