What should the toursits avoid and what should they know

All visitors of Pshav – Khevsureti need to be aware that strangers are not allowed to enter shrines and holy places. Local people are very sensitive about it. These places are considered sacred and forbidden. According to the tradition, people go to shrines or near them only during festivals. On other days, they are prohibited from going there, especially strangers, children and women. A shrine itself as an architectural structure may be of several different types. Shrines are built by dry masonry and decorated with ibex or deer antlers. Centennial ash, oak and beech trees grow around the shrines, and groups of such separately located, protected trees show us location of the shrines in every village. Please be careful and do not go near them.

People living in the mountains are rather reserved – they do not kiss in public, their dress code is quite strict (even men do not wear shorts etc.), men do not look straight into woman’s eyes, the world of men and women is still quite separated. Foreigners are not expected to behave the same way, there are no restrictions, although it is advisable to respect the secretiveness of people living in the mountains.

Their hospitality is famous, and they treat their guests like gods. They will keep bringing food to the table as long as you are able to eat. It is polite to leave something on the table, so that the host has a feeling you cannot eat anymore. And it is impolite to clean your nose when sitting at the table.

Whenever you are in trouble, be sure the locals will help you. Entering the Georgian mountains, you enter the world, where people still help each other, because their lives depend on mutual help, and where you will be treated as a special guest and they will do their best to make you feel good, because they are happy you came, not because you pay for it.

Ivana Bursikova