The wealth and beauty of Georgia lies in it natural diversity.With its high plateau,ever-changing weather,mysterious lakes and shadowy landscapes South Georgian region of Javakheti does not look like any other part of Georgia.Its long winters and short summers make it a harsh place to live in but a very beautiful one too.
This fantastic landscapes were created by volcanic eruptions millions of Years ago.The highest mountain in this area-Didi Abuli(3300m) still displays a crater ridge.The lava poured from it has blocked the valley and led to the creation of the Paravani lake-the largest water reservoir of the country.Around it,one can find traces of prehistoric settlements everywhere.The surrounding area of the Paravani lake is full of rudimentary tools made from obsidian(volcanic glass).The function of local cyclopean stone walls-Georgian “Stonehenge” is uncertain-were these enormous rocks refuges or were they meant for ritual or residential purposes?One thing is for sure:When you walk up towards the Shaori fortress ,on basalt stairs between gigantic rocks you feel something old,archaic,and a sort of reverence for the visible and invisible part while impressive megaliths of a village of Saro look like a scene from “Game of Thrones” or even more- a surreal sketch from Stephen King’s stories.
This is what Javakheti is like-it generates reverence in you,making you meditate and return in the depths of your conscience.
An old Georgian ballad was created on the shore of the Paravani lake,it is about an enamored young man,who decided to swim across the lake in order to prove his feelings to his beloved,”Paravanian boy loved a girl from Aspari…”but a large amount of water was separating them.
The poem’s hero decided to go on the forbidden road in the name of love and he transgressed the border that was imposed to him..This is an eternal motif and almost always a tragic one,naturally,the young man’s self-sacrificial transgression costs him his life..
Javakheti is a region where you can almost literally touch the history of Georgia’s last centuries-the Akhalkalaki fortress destroyed during the Russo-Turkish war,or substitution of ethnicities characteristic of empires,like the Muslim Georgians sent to Turkey and the Christian Armenians who were brought to replace them,as well as Dukhobor villages…
Javakheti is a real paradise for nature and wildlife lovers,there is a unique sub-alpine forest near Kartsakhi lake with white birches,Caucasian mountain-ash,cotoneaster and raspberry and dog rose bushes.The unique character of this unique forest “island” lies in the fact that it is the only natural forest that remains in Javakheti.The rest of them were cut down in the 19th century,and during Soviet times,artificial lines of pines were planted in order to replace them.
Spring is particularly impressive here-it is a feast of nature’s renewal,with cranes performing their nuptial dances on the Sulda and Madatapa swamps.White and Dalmatian pelicans,many species of ducks and herons,coots and whistlers,snipes,yellow-headed wagtails,the very rare Radde’s accentor …this is only an incomplete list of the birds that any naturalist would be happy to see.The sounds you can hear at swamps and lakes that are rich in birdlife look like no other.These are mysterious sounds-the exhalations of the waters groan as if they were coming fromthe depths of Earth,the flapping sounds of coot’s wings,the cry of seagulls,the chatter of storks…
Night has its sounds too and Javakheti has its own “ruler” at night.Its hunting call can be heard almost everywhere on the volcanic plateau,and if you are lucky enough to observe the bird’s robust silhouette and large ears on a cliff lit by moonlight or resting on an electronic pole,know that it is a horned owl-the finest among nocturnal bird of preys.
One could not not say that tourism is currently booming in Javakheti and the guests of the region are people who get pleasure from observing nature and free roaming wildlife.You will encounter people with binocular or bird-watching telescopes walking in the Madatafa,Tabatskuri,Saghamo,Khanchali,Kartsakhi and burdasheni forests and who can not hide their awe for what they see in Javakheti as well as those who take short tours to experience off the beaten paths and see something unique and different