Shatili is located around 150 kilometres from Tbilisi, with the road there taking you past Zhinvali Reservoir and through the beautiful Aragvi River valley.
At Shuapkho Turn you will see the confluence of the Ukanapshavi and Southern Khevsureti Aragvi Rivers, which is called Orstkali (“two waters” in Georgian).
You'll soon reach Barisakho village, where you’ll see many empty villages and abandoned settlements, with an especially gorgeous view available from atop Datvijvari Pass. Many people making the drive to Shatili will get out here, stretch their legs, and savour the view.
Your travels will next bring you through Lebiskari, Kistani, Giorgitsminda, and Guroskhevi, abandoned villages that are mainly used for pasturage. If you are going on foot, then you should be careful about approaching the herds, since almost all of them will be guarded by a Caucasian sheepdog.
From the pass the road heads downwards and follows the narrow Aghruni River Valley. Soon you will see the more than sixty terraced towers of Shatili! The Shatili towers are on UNESCO’s tentative world cultural heritage list.
Shatili Village controlled and guarded the roads coming from the north for centuries, with the Shatili Towers being a key part of this fortification.
The village only takes up about a hectare of area. The towers, made up of crushed stone, cobblestones, and shale, are tightly arrayed next to one another, making it impossible for people outside to see the movements of those within. All of the buildings here are connected by a series of interior passageways and staircases.
The Shatili complex comprises fortress-houses, living quarters in turrets, houses with threshing floors and flat roofs, and a meeting place, where the village elders would gather and discuss important issues. You will also see special buildings, called samrevlo, for women
While it will not take more than a day to explore this unique village, it is recommended that you spend the night here rather than attempt the long drive back to Tbilisi. You can pitch your tent on the banks of the Arghuni River, or you can stay in one of the two hotels set up in the towers by the Chincharauli family.
Farther afield, you can find a number of family-run hotels.
Regardless of where you choose to stay, make sure you sample the delicious local Khevsuretian khinkhali!