The small Lechkhumian village Lailashi has always been a home for people of four different ethnic groups - Georgians, Jews, Greeks and Armenians, where they lived in friendship and peace.
Distance to the location by road from:
4:50 hr
4:15 hr
1:55 hr

History of Lailashi

In historic documents, Lailashi is mentioned for the first time in the XVIII century. However, the story behind its name is older, and is related to the XVI century, when Turks conquered Akhalkalaki, and people escaped from Samtskhe-Javakheti Region. Ethnical Jews and Armenians sought refuge in mountainous Lechkhumi. Reaching the area at night, when moonlight was falling on the road, they called the place Lailashi, as “laila” in Hebrew means “moon”.

In Arabic, the word “Laila” means night, but connection between this word and Lailashi is not confirmed, as well as connection between the summit Laila, which is located in Svaneti. 

In the first half of the XIX century, Lechkhumi Region became an important trading center, with its biggest market place still known as the Bazaar. 

History also records a huge fire in Lailashi in 1904, when 150 wooden houses in the village burnt down.

Lailashi Landmarks

One of the most things for which the village is famous is the Lailashi Bible. This unique, X century Jewish artefact is now stored at the National Center of Manuscripts of Georgia in Tbilisi. 

Lailashi church servants also created unique gospels, which are now stored in the Tbilisi State Museum. Bronze axes from the XIV-XIII century BC, which were also discovered in Lailashi, are now stored the the Saint Petersburg Hermitage museum. 

At the Lailashi cemetery you can find a single-nave, aisleless church and belltower, which was built at the beginning of XIX century on the site of an older church that is now destroyed. 

In line with its multi-ethnic heritage, the village also has an Armenian church, which is severely damaged, as well as a Jewish synagogue nearby Lailashi Bazaar. You can also relax in “Okronishi Water,” a pool built by Jewish people which is still in operation. From there, you can enjoy the views of Lajanuri valley and the Lajanuri Water Reservoir.

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