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Omalo - the largest village and administrative center of Tusheti - is divided in two parts: Old and New Omalo. Old Omalo, or Keselo Fortress, is a monument of XVIII c. 3-4-level low and wide towers were built primarily from shale, drily, without mortar, and roofed also with shale. At fi rst the whole village was settled around Fortress. But later on the residents usually settled also in the plain areas and towers were used as shelters during invasions. Only several towers survived up to the present. In one of the towers was arranged Museum of Ethnology where Tusheti domestic utensils and military weapons are displayed. In Omalo, like the whole of Tusheti, one can see many medicinal mineral water springs: there are three mineral water outlets naturally fl owing out of the ground. One of them - "Chigo Water" - is very salty and contains chlorides; at the foot of Vedzi mount is an outlet of two springs; alkali salty waters are available near Khiso, Shenako, Parsma, Nasoplari and Chontio; near Diklo there is a sulphur water spring, and in the vicinity of Dochu and Khakhabo there are springs containing iron. These waters have not been the object of study and trials by scientists, yet. Since 70-ies of the last century, in July and August, near Keselo Fortress popular festival called "Shepherd"s Day" ("Tushetoba") is held.

Holiday refl ects the main business of the Tushetians - sheep breeding. On this day shepherds are usually awarded and traditional Tushetian games (like arrow shooting, bag runs, tug of war, jraqvaoba, gaglejila, jumps on nabadi - traditional Georgian felt cape) are featured. Tushetian women who have mastered the art of weaving and felting usually display carpets made in special geometric style and natural colors, multi-colored socks, knitted shoes - "Chiti", hats of felt capes and thick felt items. Part of the festivities is a concert of Tushetian folklore with Tushetian accordion and songs. Guests of the festival can follow the process of brewing of Tushetian beer, making of khinkali (Georgian meat dumplings) and Tushetian Gouda (cheese). The smallest participants compete with each other in painting on the shale with paints and brush. Tushetoba is a genuine popular festival.

OMALO

Location: between Greater Kavkasioni mountain range and Pirikita slope, on the right bank of Pirikita Alazani river

Distance: 100 km from Akhmeta, 110 km from Telavi, 200 km from Tbilisi.

Elevation from sea level: 1880 m

Landscape: mountainous Climate: middle mountain (upper belt) climate, winter cold, long-lasting, with high snow cover, summer moderately warm, dry, mean temperature in year - 6,8 degrees centigrade

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