Shatili – Medieval Fortress Village in Georgia
Shatili is a historic highland village in Georgia. Located in the deep Arghuni gorge at approximate 1,400 meters, the village is actually a unique complex of medieval-to-early modern fortresses and fortified dwellings of stone and mortar. The population of Shatili, along with that of most of the Khevsureti, was resettled under the pressure from the Soviet authorities to the plains in the early 1950s. The village of Shatili squats on the northern slope of the Greater Caucasus mountains in Georgia. Even today the area is considered isolated and remote but in centuries past the villagers could not rely on distant authorities to afford them protection. In early medieval times the villagers hit on a solution which was to shield them from their enemies for hundreds of years. They made their village in to a fortress. Shatili is usually only accessible between the months of June and the end of September. Its inhabitants, the Khevsurs, endured and become legendary as highland soldiers who epitomised the traditional Georgian qualities of bravery, sincerity and righteousness, community, objectivity and love of autonomy and independence. Shatili is still inhabited by a dozen or so families, but is inaccessible by road during wintertime. The village is a favourite destination for tourists and mountain trekkers.