Tusheti includes five communities: Chanchakhovani, Chagma, Gometsari, Tsovata and Pirikita. There are more than 50 hamlets
united in the communities (here is a caveat, ‘united’ but most of them abandoned). In all Tushetian hamlets one can see fortresstowers earmarked for refuge and alarm purposes which were used for living and taking refuge against tribes invading from the North. The hamlet of Dartlo is spread in the community of Pirikita (Samtsikhi), 15 km away from Omalo, on the left bank of Pirikita Alazani river; hamlet of Kvavlo is located several kilometers away from Dartlo, on the right bank of river Didkhevi (2000 m above sea level). In Dartlo and Kvavlo survive several, 5-6-level, 20 m height, military fortress-towers built with shale and mortar. There are gun slits, windows and sunshades on levels. Towers gradually go narrow to the top and end with pyramid-style roof. Hamlet of Dochu is situated in the Gometsri gorge, on the edge of a cliff. Three-story buildings here roofed with shale are noted with multiple balconies. 3-4-level old-style Tushetian houses with old sunshades and gun slits surviving in Chigo and Parsma look like fortress-towers. Several families used to live in such towers. In Chigo, on the heightened spot, stands common site of worship – Lashari Cross where the whole of Tusheti used to gather to solve important issues for the community. Other than Tusheti, Lashari cult was distributed across Pshavi, Khevsureti, among contiguous communities in the plain and even among the North Caucasus mountaineers. Tradition of worshipping heathen cult Tushetians inherited from Pshavs. After expansion of Christianity (IX c.) heathen cult merged with Christian tradition.
1. Dartlo. One of the biggest villages of Tusheti. There is a XIX century church in the hamlet while beside it is a site of worship of Yakhsari Icon which is an altar-type structure of mixed heathen-Christian character. According to the tradition popular in the mountains, women were not admitted either to temple ruins, or to the site of worship. For them there are special women’s pathways. Local court proceedings (sabcheo) used to be held in Dartlo. Even today one can see 12 stones placed in semi-circle where law assessors sat and ‘created’ law. In the middle of a circle there is one stone for a defendant.
2. In Tusheti, every family has its own worship structure where members of the clan get together and conduct festivities.
Athinogen’s Feast (Atengenoba), in the cycle of Tusheti cult worship feasts, is started on the hundredth day from Easter and lasts for two weeks. At this time a service is conducted in the main house of worship in all villages – people stay vigil around the clock, kill sacrificial animals and brew beer – Aludi, as well as engage in horse race.