Monday, 30 June 2014

Discovering Pankisi. A brief introduction.

In 2008 I wrote a Blog about my travels with my family in Tusheti. The Blog became a bit of an institution with many travelers using it as a point of reference for the region. Time has since passed, my daughters now experience their own adventures, while leaving my wife and I to discover the world's treasures on our own. This Blog is about some of those treasures.

One of the joys about exploring the world is you meet all kinds of kindred spirits. One of those spirits is Gurjeet Batth who over the past few years has been discovering the joys of Georgia, specifically the region of Pankisi. After many conversations while comparing notes he persuaded my wife and I to take a trip to the Pankisi valley and discover the region for ourselves.
This blog is about a trip taken by my wife and I in June 2014 to the Pankisi valley, due south of the Tusheti National park, on the doorstep of Akhmeta.

The Pankisi valley has been largely forgotten by travelers due to some recent history when Chechen refugees were coming over the border from Russia. The area was considered turbulent and travellers were discouraged.  Time has since past, the region is now back to its sleepy self and without a tradition of tourism. The only distinguishing feature of this region is it is still inhabited by the Kist. The Kist, who are Sunni Muslims, populated the area over three hundred years ago. What sets the Kist apart, is that many of the women practice Sufism which I believe predates Islam but is still part of the Sunni traditional thinking.

I hope this simple introduction to Pankisi paints a compelling picture for you. To pull my story into focus, scroll down and learn more about this hidden gem cradled in the Caucuses.


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