The people of Georgia have historically lived in both the lowlands and the high mountains. Numerous villages in the alpine zone have developed over the centuries and have preserved their original form in architecture, way of life, traditions, cuisine, and culture to this day.
Although for many years the spectacular Ushguli in Svaneti, with its Svan towers, was considered the highest inhabited point in Europe, during the last few years, the ancient village of Bochorna, in Tusheti, has been considered to be the highest inhabited settlement of Europe.
Bochorna village is 2,345 meters above sea level. According to a description from 1954, 25 households, engaged in agriculture and lived permanently in the village. In 1980, the village was emptied and had abandoned village status until 2014, when the 76-year-old Irakli Khvedaguridze brought it back to life. As of now, Bochorna has one permanent inhabitant.
Right after that, a banner was put up in the village stating that it is the highest inhabited point in Europe.
Mr. Khvedaguridze is the only doctor in Tusheti who makes house calls to his patients on foot or horseback. He only does his calls from spring to autumn, but in the winter, when the snow cover in that region can reach up to two meters high, the aged doctor uses skis that he made with his own hands to get to his patients.
Besides Bochorna, there are 52 other villages in Tusheti today, most of which are empty of people in the winter.
There are several fortress towers preserved in the highest village in Europe. Examples of the characteristic architecture of Tusheti are spectacularly juxtaposed against the mountainous landscape of the region. If you see the village from afar, you will be convinced that it is a snow-covered pearl in the valley.
Bochorna is 12 kilometers from Omalo, the central village of Tusheti, and 112 kilometers from the municipal center, the city of Akhmeta. However, due to the difficulty of the road, it takes at least four hours to get there. Despite that difficulty, Tusheti is still a must-visit area.
Tusheti and Svaneti are on the same mountain range, the Greater Caucasus, but they are vastly different from each other.