Atskvita – Shalosheti Mountain – Khertvisi Trail

About

Route Length: 27.9 km
Route Duration: 10 hrs. 20 min.
Min./Max. Height: 1125/2075 m.
Total Ascent/Descent: 1377/1242 m.
Route Type: Connecting
Route category of complexity: Moderate

Route Description
The route starts from the center of the village Atskvita. The itinerary passes through the golden-covered pastures nearby the village and goes uphill to the dirt road leading to Aspindza. The route continues in a southerly direction and then runs down to the stream. When descending, it is possible to turn to the right. In about 1.3 km from the road there is spread a canyon-like valley, notable for its genetic and morphological diversity of the landscape. This terrain has been formed for millennia as a result of irregular reduction and leaching of wastewaters.

After returning to the dirt road, the trail crosses a small stream and winds uphill in a south-eastern direction. There, by the shore of half-dried lake nestles an authentic 9th century Gundi church. To the northwest of the Church is a small sepulcher, built into the ground.
Crossing the meadows and streams the trail continues to eastern direction and finally reaches a bald hill, where emerges the church of Shalosheti, erected by Georgian builders in early 8th century. The chamber and part of the conch are ruined. However, the moss-covered walls tell the bittersweet story of Samtskhe-Javakheti journey. Nearby, on the windy edge of the valley, is deep-seated a massive stone – frozen in time – the Menhir of Shalosheti, which was supposed to mark the old road.

A dirt road twists down to the village of Toloshi. A few hundred meters away, on a mountain slope, among the colossal, rocky boulders, can be detected a tiny Alandzia church. A single-nave church of the VIII-IX centuries is regarded as the primary pride of the village of Toloshi. Its walls are built of local, fleshy texture stones that grants to the small temple extraordinary monumentality.
The route returns to the dirt road and enters into the village of Toloshi, surrounded by the fruit rich terraces and orchards. After the village exit the route turns right, follows the banks of the river and allows visitors to observe the spectacular landscapes, volcanic plateaus and wrinkled gorges that have become image card of Samtskhe-Javakheti. The itinerary reaches the bridge over the Mtkvari River. At this spot opens a view on the terraced village Khertvisi, at the confluence of river Mtkvari and Paravani, crowned by the inaccessible fortress Khertvisi. The route crosses the bridge, and enters the village where the journey ends.


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