Shatili Khevsureti medieval Georgia Caucasus mountains

Khevsureti is a historic region located in eastern Georgia on the border with Chechnya.

An ethnographic hypothesis claims the highlanders of Khevsureti are descendants of the last European crusaders. On the other hand, the towers and crypts of Anatori and Kistani have an obvious resemblance to Vainakh architecture from neighboring Chechnya.

The Khevsurs were traditional warriors and were regarded as guardians of the borders. They are adherent to Christianity, although they maintain significant pagan traditions as well.

‘Abode of the deity’ Tsoy-Pede, Chechnya

Tsoy-Pede “Abode of the deity” is a XIV century necropolis located in the historic area Melhista (which means “land of the sun”) in southern  Chechnya. It’s built on a mountain which is surrounded by two rivers; the necropolis has 50 crypts and several towers (some of which were destroyed).

Tsoy-Pede was built before Chechen people’s conversion to Islam, therefore the settlement is adorned with pagan and solar symbols.

The landmark is situated at the border with Georgia and the area is under strict military control. A special permit is needed to visit Tsoy-Pede (as is the case with many of Russia’s landmarks).

Tsoy-Pede is part of the Argun State History, Architecture and Nature Museum Reserve. Argun area was part of intense fighting during the wars, therefore most of its landmarks (which are most numerous in North Caucasus) suffered serious damage.