If you get the chance to visit it, you absolutely must visit Shatili Fortress-Village and spend the night in a cosy guesthouse or by the campfire on the shores of the Arghuni River, under the breathtaking starry sky.
Already dazzled by that awe-inspiring experience, the wonders continue just 11 kilometers away, with the ancient fortress village of Mutso. Deserted two centuries ago, Mutso used to get only very occasional visitors.
The last few years of the 20th century marked the beginning of the restoration of this abandoned village.
At the European Heritage Summit in Paris, the Mutso rehabilitation project was given the "Europe Nostra" award. Out of 149 applications from 34 countries, the jury unanimously picked the Mutso project.
This ancient village is situated 1,880 meters above sea level, in the Ardoti River Valley.
The buildings are of a seemingly awkward architecture, and involved complex construction techniques, while one would think they are simply extensions of the gigantic rocks. Clearly, slate was used as a primary construction material though, with the buildings attached to each other so securely that they form a defensive wall.
The village fulfilled a fortification function from the very beginning – standing like a watchdog looking out for intruders from the north.
Mutso is one of the oldest settlements in Georgia, allowing stories from centuries ago to live on vividly.
The fortress-village of Mutso includes: Borchashvili fortress-house; the shrine of St. George of Broliskalo; the Torghva’s tower and the fortress-house; and Cholokaant tower and a fortress–house.
If a guide leads you through the labyrinths of Mutso, rest assured you will be told a number of local stories or legends about the place.
The best time to visit Mutso is from the end of May to the middle of October. As the first snowflakes fall, you must be extra cautious when walking or driving there.
Mutso is also an ideal destination for ethnographic trips or hiking lovers. In Mutso, one cannot resist the temptation of capturing it all through the lens of a camera.
However, as there are no accommodation options in the area, you should head to Shatili or the village of Ardoti for a comfortable sleep in a guesthouse. On the way to Mutso, you will also find several suitable places for camping and picnicking.