Poetry

Khevsureti is the mother country of folk poetry which, beyond all doubt, bears classical lucidity. All spheres of everyday life of the local population are reflected in Khevsur poetry. The historical past of Georgia’s ancient province is represented in its wonderful, full-blooded poems. This is a truthful literary chronicle the cognitive and aesthetic value of … Read more

Mythology

Among the monuments of Khevsur oral literature held in high regard are the epics and legends on mythological themes, the essence of which is an imaginative description of the origin and adventures of local deities (khvti’shvili in Georgian). According to the ancient plots, the Pantheon of celestial powers is presided over by the supreme god … Read more

Religion

The system of religious belief of the Khevsuris is a symbiosis of Orthodox Georgian Christianity and paganism. A variety of deities, i.e. polytheism evidences that in the distant past the Khevsuris they were devotees of pre-Christian faiths and beliefs. They believed in the divinity of the sky – the abode of the deities (“khvtishvilebi”) patronizing … Read more

Funeral Rites

Khevsureti is a unique province within Georgia, where the locals have retained their ancient customs and traditions as well as highly artistic funeral poetry, the so-called ritual laments in verse that is the representation of the cult of the dead. Profound veneration to the memory of ancestors has always been held within the framework of … Read more

Marriage

It was the custom in Khevsureti to betroth a girl and a boy while they were still in the cradle. The ritual is called datsindva and was performed by separate personalities or families in accordance with their wish to become close relatives. A similar tradition is evidenced throughout the whole of Caucasia as well as … Read more

“Stsorproba”

One of the most striking features of the traditional culture of Khevsureti is the relationship between a young couple known as stsorproba, which had been preserved up to the middle of the past century. “Stsorperi” is the Georgian for “equal” or “peer”, “two of a kind”. A young Khevsuri couple (a single man and a single … Read more

Talavari (Garments)

The Khevsuris call their national dress talavari. The talavari is made of homespun woolen cloth (“toli”). The cloth for talavari, as a rule, is prepared by women. The toli is a thick, heavy and coarse but hardwearing and durable fabric. The women wore dresses (kaba) called sadiatso, made of dark blue or black woolen stuff. The … Read more

Folk Medicine

Hostilities, tribal strives and family feuds resulting in bullet wounds or injuries inflicted by cold weapons, as well as frequent physical traumas made the Khevsuris acquire at least an elementary knowledge of medical treatment to cure people.Local healers (“akimi”) studied and preserved the secrets of healing, explored and transmitted their predecessors’ and passed on theoretical knowledge … Read more

Economy

Crop farming is evidently backward compared to animal husbandry in Khevsureti. The mountainous relief of the region deprives the locals of the possibility of providing families with sufficient cereal crops. Barley and rye planted in the rocky places make supplies scarce to live on for a year. That is why there is a necessity for … Read more

Fortress-Towers

In wartimes, when misfortune befell the Georgian highlanders, it was in the fortified buildings or dwelling towers used for defensive purposes where the battle-hardened Khevsurs, who knew no rest from enemies, would find a secure refuge, relative peace and almost the only chance of preventing physical annihilation. Numbers of century-old fortress-towers are still seen standing proudly … Read more

Diplomacy

It is no secret that the relationship between the Khevsuris and Northern Caucasian tribes was accompanied with conflict situations, which emerged occasionally as the northern neighbours used to attack and rob mountain-dwelling Georgians. Sometimes the feud between them lasted for years. It was in such cases, when decisive and conscious actions of clever and prudent men were … Read more

Military Equipment

The Khevsuris, born to be warriors, gave special emphasis and pride of place to weapons. They decorated their arms with silver and brass plates, named the weaponsand composed legends about them. Fine specimens were handed down from father to son. Every male Khevsuri tried to have the best personal arms to be ready on all occasions for assault … Read more

The Khevsur National Heroes

Historical and heroic narratives have a special place in Khevsur oral tradition. of martial spirit residing in the mountains of the Caucasus venerated their heroes, men of exceptional bravery, strenght and character. Often they were deificated, described with mythic attributes. Among the national heroes of medieval Khevsureti the most distinguished was Torgva Dzagani, who put an end to … Read more

The History of the Khevsuris

Besik Kharanauli* addresses Zurab Eristavi**: “One thing should be admitted: it was a great piece of luck that you encountered the people who possess nothing but barren soil and poetry. These people defeated you, did not let you have even a small shred of their native soil and their profound hatred to you immortalized your The Khevsuris had been … Read more