SOCIETY
The New York Times on establishing the internet in Tusheti, Georgia’s remote highland
09 January, 2018
World’s leading newspaper, The New York Times devotes an article to installing internet in Tusheti, Georgia’s historical mountainous region which is distinguished with its incredible medieval castles and old customs.

The project was worth $40,000 and was carried out jointly by Tusheti Development Fund and the international organisation The Internet Society (ISOC).
geotv.ge
High speed internet already available in Tusheti

Nytimes tells the story of establishing an internet connection in Tusheti:

“Several months ago, a team of men ascended the Greater
Caucasus Mountains in Georgia. They led horses loaded with electrical wire, solar panels, batteries, toolboxes and drills powerful enough to grind through rock.

With jagged ridgelines above and shadowed valleys below, the men were on a quest to bring the internet to one of the world’s most remote places: Tusheti, a rural province on the Russian border” – the article reads.

geotv.ge

Mountainous Tusheti Region


According to the newspaper, the region has already been quite attractive for the tourists because of its clean air, crisp blue skies and breathtaking beauty of Tushetian landscape. However, installing high speed internet there will be very helpful for developing the tourism strategy, as long as it will be easier for travelers to book reservations online. There is potential for many more: access to the internet will be very helpful for the locals as well, as it will give a lift to health care and education services in the area. The residents of Tusheti will have more opportunities to and develop the local business.
geotv.ge
Nomadic lifestyle that continues to this day

As for the current situation in Georgia’s remote highland, as Nytimes tells, now Tusheti has little electricity, and maybe more sheep than people.

Every autumn, the local shepherds bring their sheep down to their winter pastures in Kakheti. As the author of the article notes, for centuries, Tusheti’s rugged terrain has encouraged a nomadic lifestyle that continues to this day.

Because of the harsh living conditions characteristic to mountainous region, in winter the area is almost empty from the population.

“Tusheti spans about 370 square miles – an area a bit larger than Berlin – but only about 50 people stay through the winter. Temperatures can drop to near zero Fahrenheit, and snow covers the main roads for up to six months. In Shenako, one of several dozen villages in the region, only one couple stays through the winter“ – reads the article.
geotv.ge
Tusheti spans about 370 square miles

The article focuses on Bochorna, one of the highest villages in Europe with only one year-round resident and describes the process of installing the internet in this remote settlement: ” Dusk was coming on fast when the crew reached Bochorna, a tiny hamlet whose 7,700-foot elevation makes it the highest continuously inhabited village in Europe, according to the Georgian government. The workers’ chief focus: establishing an internet connection for the lone year-round resident, Irakli Khvedaguridze, a 76-year-old doctor.”
geotv.ge
The process of establishing an internet

The doctor spends the winter treating the sick in nearby communities, reading medical journals and listening to the radio. When he needs company, he goes into Omalo, one of Tusheti’s largest villages, on his homemade skis.

The most pleasant fact about establishing an internet connection in his living area, for him was realizing that from now he will be easily available for the locals who need his help. “His first thought: people without cell coverage would now be able to call him in the winter if they were sick or injured” – Nytimes journalist uncovers.

“It will be easier to get in touch now,” he said.
geotv.ge
The residents of Tusheti

According to the article, most people living in Tusheti feel very happy and satisfied about establishing an internet connection there because it is a real chance of developing the whole region, but, however, not everyone is happy with the change.

“It's not good,” said Yochanan Herman, an Israeli traveler who was hiking in the mountains, “because there are not many places in the world without Internet.”
geotv.ge
Tushetian landscape

The author of the article highlights the fact of existing Soviet remains in the area: the pylons that carried electricity across the border from the Soviet Union into Tusheti and the rest of Georgia. The towers remain, but the power lines are gone, pulled down after the end of the Soviet Union in 1991.
geotv.ge
The pylons that carried electricity across the border from the Soviet Union into Tusheti

As a conclusion, the author notes that the internet will definitely be very helpful for developing this mountainous region.
geotv.ge
The internet will definitely be very helpful for developing this mountainous region

But the main question is if it will have a negative influence on the uniqueness and attractive wilderness of the area - “The internet will undoubtedly bring the world closer to Tusheti. The question is whether its rustic otherworldliness will disappear.”

Related stories:

High speed internet already available in Tusheti Region, Georgia

Solar panels bring electricity to Georgia’s mountainous Tusheti region

Mzemoe! – Tusheti Awaits

Attracting More Tourists to Tusheti's Mountainous Villages
Print