Tucked away in the Caucasus in Georgia’s far northeast corner, Tusheti is a historic region remains one of the country’s most picturesque, fascinating and pristine high-mountain regions. The single road to Tusheti, over the 2950 m Abano Pass from Kakheti, is 4WD-only and only passable from about late May to mid-October. Centuries-old koshkebi (stone defence and refuge towers) still stand in many villages, and evidence of Tusheti’s old animist religion is plentiful in the form of stone shrines called khatebi (singular: khati) decked with the horns of sacrificed goats or sheep. Women, including visitors, are not permitted to approach khatebi.
Today most Tusheti folk only go up to Tusheti in summer, to graze their flocks, participate in festivals, cater for tourists and generally reconnect with their roots. Many have winter homes around Akhmeta and Alvani in Kakheti. Tusheti has two main river valleys – the Pirikiti Alazani and the more southerly Gomtsari (Tushetis) Alazani – which meet below Omalo, the biggest village, then flow east into Dagestan (Russia). The scenery everywhere is a spectacular mix of snow-covered rocky peaks, deep gorges, tower-dotted villages and steep, grassy hillsides where distant flocks of sheep appear as slowly shifting patterns of white specks. The whole area is under environmental protection as the Tusheti Protected Areas (1137 sq km).
There is no public transport to Tusheti. To get to Omalo, you will need to hire a driver with 4WD. Aqtushetii can organize this for you either from Tbilisi or Kvemo Alvani village. If you decide to make your own way there: first get to Kvemo Alvani village - this can be done by marshrutka or a taxi. Marshrutka departs from Ortachala bus station in Tbilisi at 9.am and two hours later arrives at Alvani. Shared taxi departs from Isani metro station. Local drivers usually approach the tourists and offer them to arrange the transport to Tusheti. If your driver doesn't, you will need to ask around for a driver - it shouldn't be too hard. The trip usually takes 4 hours from Kvemo Alvani