A Dirt Road of Dreams: Road from Roshki to Arkhoti to be Laid by Khevsurians
05 November, 2015
A Dirt Road of Dreams: Road from Roshki to Arkhoti to be Laid by Khevsurians
Representatives of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Development claim that the project should be completed by the end of 2017. It will be a dirt road, without asphalt or concrete coating: Apparently, these are impossible to achieve due to the landscape and climate, but the road is expected to easily accommodate cars nevertheless. The ministry also claims that the road will remain open in winter, despite the only way of getting to Shatili and Mutso from Tbilisi during the
cold season being by helicopter.

In times past, the Arkhoti community, consisting of three villages, was quite populous. Akhieli, Amgha and Chimgha were densely populated, with community members protecting their portion of Georgia’s northern border, until one tragic day when they were forcefully resettled during Stalin’s tenure. However, some proved too stubborn for autocracy and eventually returned to their ancestral lands. For a while, they tried to maintain the abandoned houses, but later that effort fell apart as well. At the moment, each of the three villages has only one family living in it.

Ilia Darchiashvili, deputy minister of infrastructure, claims that the ministry’s municipal fund will be involved in the construction of the road:

“Dozens of families are waiting for this road to be built so that they can return to their homes in the mountains. This road will be the link between the country’s northernmost area and the rest of its territory. The vicinity of our border will be repopulated, local infrastructure will develop and so will tourism. Many good things will follow the completion of this road, which is going to be 28 kilometers long.

When the laying of the new road began, I first visited Arkhoti and saw locals escort the construction vehicles on cars; the same was happening in Roshki, with Khevsurians accompanying the machines. Upon seeing the heavy tech expanding and flattening what previously used to be a narrow dirt path, I got a feeling as if I was witnessing the return of something lost. Arkhoti village is essentially uninhabited, and Khevsurians will use this road to resettle it.”

According to Mr. Darchiashvili, if not for Father Ioseb, the road from Roshki to Arkhoti would have remained a pipedream. The spiritual leader of Pshavi-Khevsureti had to go extrageotv.ge miles to make this pipedream a reality.

Ioseb Gachava, Archpriest:

“Georgia’s Patriarch sent me to the Pshavi-Hevsureti eparchy four years ago. Soon afterwards, I heard that in order to get from Arkhoti to Georgia proper, a Khevsurian first had togo to Vladikavkaz, Russia, and then enter his homeland again through the Larsi checkpoint. I decided that this could not go on like this and that something had to be done.

The Patriarch supported me, demanding progress reports every other day. I teamed up with Giviko Chichinadze, who is currently the governor of Imereti, and we began going from one governmental office to another. Almost always we came back empty-handed. Some people working there did not even know where Arkhoti was. Others told me that it was sparsely populated anyway and that building a road was not necessary. Eventually, I managed to meet people from the Ministry of Infrastructure who did not remain cold to my plight. As a result soon people will be able to use a proper road to get to Arkhoti instead of wading through mud on a footpath. I am happy that more than five kilometers of this road have been laid already. What’s funny is that at first the only thing I was asking for is a single tractor to plow a wider path so that animals could cross it easier.”
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