These photos were taken during two trips to Georgia. In 2015 I travelled with my teenage sons to the Khevsureti region to the remote medieval village of Shatili very close to the Chechen border. To get there we drove by 4WD for 8 hours along narrow tracks over mountains and through lush valleys with spectacular views. The old village of Shatili is a huddle of fortified towers which the people built to protect themselves from invaders. In effect the village became a fortress standing guard over the north-eastern border. In the 19th Century the village was attacked by Chechen and Dagestan warriors. During Soviet times the villagers were made to leave their castles and a new village was built close by.
Three kilometres from Shatili is the Chechen border and medieval death houses with human bones and silver chalices still present. During plagues infected villagers would voluntarily enter these tombs and wait for death. Further along the road is the village of Mutso and a spectacular old medieval fortified village.
In 2010 I travelled to Svaneti in north west Georgia near the Russian border. The area has snow capped peaks and gorges and lakes. Ushguli is said to be Europe’s highest inhabited spots at 2300 metres above sea level and is comprised of four villages all built from defensive towers.