Geography of Pshav-Khevsureti

Pshav-Khevsureti is located in the northeast of Georgia, on the southern and northern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains. Eastern and western borders of Pshav-Khevsureti are defined by high mountain ridges. The western border is formed of following ranges (looking from the north): Kidegana Range; Chaukhi Massive; finally Gudamakari and Alevi ridges located between rivers Ksani and Aragvi. From the East the border follows Mutso Ridge, Atsunta Ridge and from mountain Borbalo goes to Kakheti Ridge. Local part of the Great Caucasus Range streching from mount Chaukhi on west to the Borbalo mountain to the east is called Khevsureti Range. It divides Khevsureti into two parts: Piraketi, i.e. southern Khevsureti and Pirikiti, i.e. northern Khevsureti. Pirikiti Khevsureti consists of several gorges: Arkhoti in the basin of river Asa, Guro-Shatili and Ardoti in the basin of Arghun. Piraketi Khevsureti is confined among the ravines of headwater tributaries of the so-called Khevsuretis Aragvi. Pshavi lies shouthern to Piraketa Khevureti around the basin the river Pshavis Aragvi. A local curiosity in Khevsureti’s Ridge is that the slopes at lower altitudes are much steeper than the higher, relatively flattened peaks. It forms the characteristic landscape of Khevsureti with deep, steep gorges topped and vast alpine meadows formed on the wide ranges above them. The highest peak in the region is mount Tebulo (4493 m). The other important peaks are: Kidegana (4275), Chaukhi (3842), Tanie (3499), Amghismaghali (3741), Makhismaghali (3991), Maistismta (4081), Borola (2954), Big and Small Borbalo (3294 and 3134 respectively). The main passes are Arkhotistavis Ghele (3287 m.), Arkhotisghele (2932), Datvisjvari (2676), Andaki (2887) and Atsunta (3431m). The local landscape, streched between 1300 and 4500 meters asl, is characterised by various climate zones: mountain forests, subalpine and alpine meadows, sub-nival (rocky levels between meadows and icebound territories) and nival (permanently covered with snow) levels. In the Territory of Pshavi and Southern Khevsureti there are almost no glaciers, the only existing present-day glaciers are located on the slopes of the Chaukhi Massive, at the source of the River Abedalaura. There are some traces of glaciers visible on the Main Ridge, i.e. around Mount Borbalo. In Northern Khevsureti glaciers are present in many places. In the Arghun-Ardotis ravine one encounters well developed glacial ridges such as mount Tebula, Amugo, Pirchita, Makhis Maghali, etc. In the Asa valley, on the Kidegani Ridge there are numerous circus and hanging glaciers. They are the source of Asa’s left tributaries Chimghistskali, Akhielistskali and Chkhanta. One of the most curious post-glacial natural structures are the so called “wandering boulders” in the Roshka ravine. They are relicts of the Pleistocene period and have been brought to this area by glaciers from the Chaukhis massive, approximately from an altitude of 3700-3800 meters. You can see an impressive “stone river” built by the boulders dragged all the way down to the subapline zone, around 2000 m asl.