Mariam Amurvelashvili, Georgia
Khevsureti (the lost paradise)
Nestled 2,300 meters high in the mountains near the Georgian – Russian border Khevsureti is one of the highest Regions in Georgia. The region and its habitants date back to the XIV century and it is possibly the most mysterious region in the Greater Caucasus. The difficult location has isolated Khevsureti from the rest of modernizing Georgia and as a result many Khevsuretian religious and cultural traditions have remained virtually intact.
Khevsureti is a "lost Paradise," a beautiful unique place that is struggling to survive as economic and social changes in Georgia, impact on it. The changes have put the existence of one of Georgia’s oldest tribes in jeopardy.
Defiance by the Khevsurs to the Soviet ideology resulted in the initiation of an obligatory migration plan by the government in the 1950s. As a result, many high-mountainous villages were deserted. Economic hardship of the last two decades also increased a tendency towards migration.
The architecture of Khevsureti is mostly characterized as fortress style and towers are located in the mountains as a sign of constant watch over their enemies. As Khevsureti is abandoned, its powerful Architecture stands forlorn without its people.