Natela Grigalashvili

THE FINAL DAYS OF GEORGIAN NOMADS

GEORGIA

THE FINAL DAYS OF GEORGIAN NOMADS

Mountainous Adjara is one of the most unique regions of Georgia, an area where the  traditions and old ways of life have been preserved to this day. The isolation and alienation of the inhabitants of this mountainous area has been an ongoing issue for a long time, and the past decades have been especially challenging. The difficult social and economic situation in the country has hindered its development and the integration of its inhabitants with the rest of the country.

For years, the inhabitants of Adjara have been unable to access proper education, health care and many other services. Villages often experienced electricity shortages and during harsh winters they were usually cut off from the outside world. Due to the absence of basic living conditions, many Adjarian villages are now empty. Many families have become eco migrants as they were forced to move to other regions of Georgia or abroad, mostly to Turkey. Khulo and Ghorjomi Gorge are the highest settlements of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara. There are 18 different villages of various sizes in the Gorge. Because of their small population, some of these villages only have elementary schools and high school students have to attend schools in other villages. The roads between these villages are damaged and the infrastructure is faulty.

Almost all of the inhabitants of these villages are Muslim, and there are mosques in every large village. The residents are mostly cattle breeders, but due to the lack of pastures, cattle owners take their herds to the mountains in the summer and stay there until late autumn. Nomadic Adjarians have to move several times a year. But despite this, most of the men still have to work in Turkey, holding seasonal jobs for additional income. Because of this difficult situation, this mountainous region is slowly emptying and its unique tradition and lifestyle is being forgotten.

Returning to the lowlands from the summer pastures.

Returning to the lowlands from the summer pastures.

Darejan, a mother of five, with one of her daughters in the pastures.

Darejan, a mother of five, with one of her daughters in the pastures.

Maiko makes coffee for her guests, while her family is in the summer pastures.

Maiko makes coffee for her guests, while her family is in the summer pastures.

A man returns home at the end of the day.

A man returns home at the end of the day.

Women sweep outside their homes in the morning.

Women sweep outside their homes in the morning.

A summer festival held in the pastures to unite families separated during the grazing season.

A summer festival held in the pastures to unite families separated during the grazing season.

Emine prepares her children for the first day of school.

Emine prepares her children for the first day of school.

A woman on top of a haystack in the summer pastures.

A woman on top of a haystack in the summer pastures.

Children playing in the village.

Children playing in the village.

A little girl playing in the field.

A little girl playing in the field.

Mother putting a home-made remedy on her daughter's sunburnt arm.

Mother putting a home-made remedy on her daughter's sunburnt arm.

A traditional procession of the newly-engaged during the summer festival.

A traditional procession of the newly-engaged during the summer festival.

Women make butter by the stream.

Women make butter by the stream.

Makvala milking a cow.

Makvala milking a cow.

Men fixing electricity in the summer pastures.

Men fixing electricity in the summer pastures.

Quran school.

Quran school.

Tamriko

Tamriko

Boy playing by a water trough.

Boy playing by a water trough.

Man praying in the fields.

Man praying in the fields.

Young cowherd in the summer pastures.

Young cowherd in the summer pastures.

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