A fascinating 2-day tour to the mountain village of Shatili and Mutso Fortress will introduce you to the unique culture and history of the Khevsureti region. You can walk through picturesque meadows, see majestic mountains and unusual historical monuments. The village of Shatili will impress you at first sight with its stone structures and fabulous fortress. The Anatori Necropolis of the 18th century is a monument to human willpower and the ability to self-sacrifice. Mutso Fortress is a magnificent defensive structure of the past. This short tour will be a small journey into the past of Georgia, and you will feel the spirit of the Caucasian highlanders.
At 08:00, meet your driver and guide at the hotel in Tbilisi and transfer to the Zhinvali Reservoir to begin Hiking Tour to Shatili and Mutso. The route to this beautiful turquoise water body, which stretches majestically between the green hills of central Georgia, is spectacular, but somewhat challenging. Initially paved, it soon turns into to a winding dirt road that gradually climbs up to a height of 2,676m at the Datvisjvari Pass. The view from here is one of Georgia’s best – steep mountain ridges covered with lush green grass, with the Arghuni River’s crystal-clear waters flowing below. You may also notice flocks of sheep casually grazing. After crossing the Pass, descend into the heart of Khevsureti. This historical-ethnographic region is famous for its highland communities that lived in massive, fortified stone villages and produced some of Georgia’s best warriors.
Arrive in the historic village of Shatili, with its spectacular stone buildings rising like a fairy-tale castle over a tiny modern village. During the summer, 22 families live here taking care of their animals. In winter, they move to lower regions. The village has a couple of very basic guest houses that each offer rooms with shared toilets and showers and dining rooms serving simple Georgian food.
Drop off your luggage and have lunch at your guesthouse before taking an afternoon stroll around Shatili. Explore the complex of stone defence towers and fortified dwellings, enter some of the rooms, and discover the narrow paths and corridors between the buildings. Dinner and overnight at the guesthouse.
Meals: lunch, dinner
Hiking distance: a short walk to discover Shatili village and the complex of stone buildings
Duration: 10-15 minutes
Difficulty: easy, but you must be able to climb stairs and walk on uneven surfaces
Start the morning with coffee and a simple homemade breakfast before heading to Anatori. This haunting 18th century necropolis is a fascinating monument of human willpower and the ability to self-sacrifice. A nearby village was infected with black death and faced extinction. To contain the deadly disease, villagers cut off contact with the outside world and built stone tombs. Infected people would go inside these tombs voluntarily and lie down to wait for their deaths. Ultimately, the whole village perished but the disease did not spread.
You can choose to travel to the Anatori Necropolis by car or to follow the road on foot (2.5 km, including 147m uphill and 209m downhill, duration: 40 min - 1 hour, difficulty: easy). The hike is a good opportunity to admire the surrounding nature – pristine mountains, quiet forests, and the blue waters of Arghuni River that flows along the road. After arriving at Anatori, take a walking tour of the tombs (which still house the villagers’ bones) and the ruins of the village.
From Anatori, continue to the Mutso Fortress, which stands on a hill in a middle of a mountainous valley. As before, you can opt to travel to the foot of the Mutso Hill by car or to hike along the road (8.7 km, including 496m uphill and 683m downhill, duration: 3 hours, difficulty: easy). The route to the foot of the Mutso Hill follows the Arghuni, which changes here from a shallow, quietly flowing channel into a powerful, rapid mountain stream. On the way you’ll encounter a couple of now largely abandoned villages, where you’ll have the chance to see examples of the region’s typical old, rural architecture.
Even if you reach the foot of the hill by car, you will still have to climb up to the fortress on foot, as there is no road. This climb is short, but steep (341m including 91m uphill, duration 20-30 minutes), so make sure to bring good hiking shoes. However, the effort is worthwhile as the view from the top is breath-taking! After exploring Mutso Fortress, walk down to the foot of the hill to meet your vehicle and drive back to Shatili for a lunch at the guesthouse. Drive back to your hotel in Tbilisi (150 km, 3.5 hours). End of Hiking Tour to Shatili and Mutso.
Meals: breakfast, lunch
Hiking: 341m, including 91m uphill.
Duration: 20-30 minutes
Additional optional hiking (in two sections): total of 11.2 km, including 643m uphill and 892 meters downhill
Duration: 3.5-4 hours
- All transfers by comfortable and reliable 4WD vehicle;
- Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing;
- Meals: 1 breakfast, 2 lunches, 1 dinner;
- Sightseeing tour programm with a local, English-speaking guide;
- Bottled drinking water.
- Guesthouse charges for additional services;
- Personal travel insurance;
- Tips/gratuities for the guide and driver (although these would be appreciated).