RESOURCES & LINKS
The celebrated Azerbaijani photographer Rena Effendi visited the 'KHINALUG' PEOPLE in their village of Kətş (Azerbaijani: Xınalıq) high up in the Caucasus mountains in Azerbaijan, where she took some beautiful portraits and many wonderful photographs.
DOWNLOADABLE ".KMZ" FILES (GOOGLE EARTH) showing all(?) the villages and settlements of the Georgian mountain regions of Khevi, Khevsureti, Pshavi, Tusheti and Gudamaqari, and SCANS OF THE RELEVANT PAGES OF THE EXCELLENT 1:50,000 MAPS OF THE SOVIET GENERAL STAFF.
POPULATION TABLES (C.1935) FOR ALL THE VILLAGES OF KHEVSURETI, copied and compiled from the Georgian ethnographer Sergi Makalatia's Khevsureti (Tbilisi: Komunistis Stamba, 1935).
Kevin Tuite from the University of Montreal let me copy his INTERVIEW WITH PILIPE BAGHIAURI—tav-khevisberi (chief priest) of the Pshav commune of Gogolaurta in Georgia.
A PDF copy of ISSUE NO.2 OF LE CAUCASE ILLUSTRÉ, a nineteenth-century French-language magazine published in Tbilisi.
Phyla i.e. "linguistic family trees" and dialectal tables for THE c.38 CAUCASIAN LANGUAGES AND THEIR c.110 DIFFERENT DIALECTS.
I have translated a long-ish passage on A TRADITIONAL DOGHI (FUNERARY HORSE RACE) HELD IN KHEVSURETI from Georges Charachidzé's amazing book on the traditional customs and beliefs of the Georgian mountain peoples viz. Le Système Religieux de la Géorgie Païenne (Paris: Maspero, 1968).
FOUR VAINAKH (I.E. CHECHEN AND/OR INGUSH) LEGENDS—"The Hordune-Din" (the “Sea Stallion”), "The Seven Sons of the Snow-storm", "The Star of the Winds", and "Pharmat, The Blacksmith of the Country"—which I found in Mariel Tsaroieva's Anciennes Croyances des Ingouches et des Tchétchènes [“Ancient Beliefs of the Ingush and the Chechens”] (Paris: 2005).
PHOTOGRAPHS OF CARPETS AND FLATWEAVES (KILIM) from Anatolia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, &c.—scanned from books and catalogues or photographed in Tbilisi.
A short Caucasian BIBLIOGRAPHY.
REFERENCES TO THE BATSBI / TSOVA-TUSH AND TO THE TUSH IN ETHNOGRAPHICAL LITERATURE, copied from various books in my library.
A very interesting and complete ARTICLE ON THE BATSBI AND THE TUSH written by Prof. Topchishvili.
Prof. Hewitt on THE RUSSIAN IMPERIAL ACADEMY AND WESTERN TRANSCAUCASIA (from the late eighteenth century to the 1850s).
ZOOMORPHIC TOMBSTONES: Horse- and ram-shaped tombstones from the Caucasus and Anatolia.
A list of the languages of the Caucasus in the 2009 edition of the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger, and the UNESCO's six "Major Evaluative Factors of Language Vitality"—(copied from the UNESCO's Ad Hoc Expert Group on Endangered Languages' report on Language Vitality and Endangerment (PDF), document which was submitted to the International Expert Meeting on [the] UNESCO's Programme [for the] Safeguarding of Endangered Languages held in Paris in 2003).
PRE-MARITAL RELATIONS AMONG THE KHEVSUR, THE PSHAV AND THE SVANS, freely translated from Georges Charachidzé's Le Système Religieux de la Georgie Païenne (Paris: Maspero, 1968).
wastyrdjy, or "The Feast of St. George among the Ossetians". NOTES ON THE PAGAN FEAST OF ST. GEORGE IN NORTH OSSETIA by Robert Chenciner—November 19-26, 1991.
Sergi Mak'alatia's Pshavi (1934)—A digital copy of Mak'alatia's famous ethnographic book on the Georgian mountain region of Pshavi.
Sergi Mak'alatia's Tusheti (1933)—A digital copy of Mak'alatia's famous ethnographic book on the Georgian mountain region of Tusheti.
BEER IN THE CAUCASUS—The role of and the traditions associated with beer in the mountains of Georgia.
Information on an abandoned project to build A RAILWAY LINE UNDER THE CAUCASUS, which would have linked Tbilisi with Vladikavkaz.
AN ENORMOUS CAUCASIAN SHEEPDOG (called "Bombora"), as photographed near Chokhi in the Gudamaqari Valley.
MUSIC AND SONGS from various regions of the Caucasus.
A short biography of MIRIAN KHUTSISHVILI, GEORGIAN ETHNOGRAPHER AND ETHNOGRAPHIC FILM-MAKER, who has been documenting and filming in the regions of Georgia and of the wider Caucasus since 1950.
A SHORT OBITUARY OF GEORGES CHARACHIDZÉ ✝ 1930-2010, a noted French caucasologist and author of numerous books on the Caucasus.
My translation of a passage of Georges Charachidzé's Le Système Religieux de la Georgie Païenne (Paris, Maspero: 1968) relating to ST.GEORGE OF THE OAK.
"CAUCASIAN PERIPHERIES"—An introduction to the amazing written and photographic work of Vakhtang Chikovani and Shorena Kurtsikidze on the border between Georgia and Chechnya.
PANORAMIC PHOTOGRAPHS of various places in Georgia, cobbled together from single images.
Johann Anton Güldenstädt's Reisen durch Rußland und im Caucasischen Gebürge.
A CHECHEN DEATH-SONG, found in Baddeley's The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus.
An ETHNOLINGUISTIC MAP OF THE CAUCASUS, drawn by Dr Jost Gippert of the University of Frankfurt.
The tale of HOW THE NARTS DISAPPEARED from the face of the Earth, as told in Robert Chenciner's Daghestan.
A LIST OF VAINAKH DEITIES—from Amaga-erda, the protector of lakes, to the Votshabi, the spirits which watch over herds of aurochs.
The story of IAKHSAR—a demi-god of the Pshav-Khevsur pantheon, who helped Kopala to exterminate the devs and became a 'Son of God'.
A description of the annual Batsbur festival called DADALOBA, which is held every year in Tsovata.
A version of the legend which holds the Khevsurs to be THE DESCENDANTS OF WAYLAID CRUSADERS.
KAITAG—Embroidered ritual textiles from Daghestan.
THE EXTRAVAGANT WEDDING OF AN AVAR "DADDY'S BOY" (feat. Ramzan Kadyrov and a 5kg lump of gold), as described by U.S. ambassador to Moscow William Burns in a cable to Washington released by Wikileaks.
DIDO SECESSION?—Exchanging the rule of Moscow for that of Tbilisi.
More ram stew, anyone? Robert Chenciner and Dr Emile Salmanov on LITTLE-KNOWN ASPECTS OF NORTH-EAST CAUCASIAN MOUNTAIN RAM and other dishes.
THROUGH THE CAUCASUS WITH CAPTAIN QUISLING—Fridtjof Nansen crosses the Caucasus accompanied by Vidkun Quisling, future leader of the Norwegian Nazi Party...
LINGUISTIC RESOURCES ON ARCHI (including an amazing Archi-English-Russian dictionary!) written by the Surrey Morphology Group at the University of Surrey.
ARMOURED(!) TRAINS IN THE CAUCASUS?—An intriguing article written by Andrew McGregor, recently discovered in the "North Caucasus Analysis" section of the Jamestown Foundation's website.
49. (Updated May 2014)
MASKS IN THE CAUCASUS—A hodgepodge of bits and pieces of information on masks in the Caucasus.
FROM DAGHESTAN, WITH LOVE—A list of the [declared!] gifts which U.S. President Obama, his wife and family and other American politicians received from Gadzhi Makhachev, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Daghestan in Moscow, between 2006 and 2009 (and other gifts, "from Russia, with love").
A list of the languages of the Caucasus in the 2010 edition of the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger, and the UNESCO's six "Major Evaluative Factors of Language Vitality"—(copied from the UNESCO's Ad Hoc Expert Group on Endangered Languages' report on Language Vitality and Endangerment (PDF), document which was submitted to the International Expert Meeting on [the] UNESCO's Programme [for the] Safeguarding of Endangered Languages held in Paris in 2003).
TRADITIONAL FEMALE DRESS IN THE CAUCASUS—Some truly stunning late XIXth century portraits of beautifully-dressed women from many different regions of the Caucasus.
GEORGIAN CHURCHES IN THE NORTH(!) CAUCASUS—Tqaba-erda in Ingushetia, and Datuna in Daghestan.
Russia's mid- to long-term plans for developing the North Caucasus between now and 2025: THE STRATEGY OF SOCIAL-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE NORTH CAUCASUS FEDERAL DISTRICT UNTIL 2025.
A TUSH TRANSHUMANCE—A young French photographer follows the Tush shepherds and their flocks up into the mountains.
The arrest and deportation (from Norway) of THE INGUSH (FROM NORTH OSSETIA) 2010 'NORWEGIAN OF THE YEAR'.
A LIST OF CHECHEN PROVERBS AND SAYINGS—copied from Amjad Jaimoukha's The Chechens: A Handbook.
THE TRADITIONAL SOCIAL ORGANIZATION OF THE CHECHENS—copied (somewhat mysteriously) from the website of the EU Commission-funded 'Multicultural Autonomies in Latin America' project.
Dr. Michael Berman on THE PAGAN RELIGIOUS PRACTICES OF THE CHECHENS AND THE INGUSH.
Dr. Joseph Jordania, a noted expert on Georgian polyphonic music, ON TRADITIONAL VOCAL POLYPHONY IN GEORGIA.
The great W.E.D. Allen on THE MARCH-LANDS OF GEORGIA—article first published in the Royal Geographical Society's Geographical Journal in 1929.
ORACULAR SPEECH—gvrini and kadagoba in Pshavi and Khevsureti.
ZEZVAOBA—An annual ceremony centred upon a funerary horse race.
FOOTBALL ''CHECHEN STYLE''—The trials and tribulations of an ageing, off-the-shelf 'former Netherlands football star' in Ramzan Kadyrov's fiefdom.
Momi (Özcan Alper, 2001)—THE WORLD'S FIRST FILM IN THE HEMSHIN DIALECT OF ARMENIAN.
TRAGEDY IN TSOVATA—An account of what went wrong during the Batsbi festival of dadaloba in 2011.
FIGURES FROM THE 1873 POPULATION CENSUS, as found in Dr. Gustav Radde's Die Chews'uren und ihr Land — ein monographischer Versuch untersucht im Sommer 1876. A list of the communities and villages of the Khevsur, Tush, Pshav and Kist peoples, alongside a count of the hearths and of the male and female inhabitants, based upon official figures published in 1873.
THE PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL OBSTACLES TO GETTING OUT THE GOSPEL TO THE NORTHERN CAUCASUS MOUNTAIN REGION, copied from the March 2010 issue of the U.S. Center for World Mission's Global Prayer Digest.
BY TRAIN AND STEAMER IN THE CAUCASUS IN 1914 AND 1939—Timetables from the 1914 and 1939 editions of Cook's Continental Time-table.
A GEORGIAN PRINCE AT CAMBRIDGE?—The strange story of Michael Grousinsky.
The Georgian chapters of Robert Lyall's TRAVELS THROUGH RUSSIA, THE KRIMEA, THE CAUCASUS, GEORGIA (London: T. Cadell, 1825).
73. (February 2013)
CAUCASIAN EXTRACTS from the 1914 edition of the Baedeker guide to Russia.
74. (February 2013; updated June 2014)
The SOCIÉTÉ FRANÇAISE DES TRANSPORTS AUTOMOBILES DU CAUCASE, or "Did you know there was a French bus company running a regular passenger service between Tbilisi and Vladikavkaz via Kazbegi as early as [some time between c.1895 and c.1914]?"
75. (June 2013)
VENDETTA AND BLOOD FEUDS IN THE MANI IN SOUTHERN GREECE—copied from Patrick Leigh Fermor's Mani—Travels in the Southern Peloponnese (London: John Murray, 1958, p. 89 onwards). Not the Caucasus, of course, but probably a good description of what blood feuds would have been like in the Caucasus long ago.
76. (July 2013)
'ON THE ORIGINS OF THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF ABKHAZIA AND THE REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA', the "enclosure" of the annex to the Letter dated 10 June 2013 from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General, as copied from the United Nations Bibliographical Information System's (UNBIS) database.
77. (July 2013)
THE ANTIDOTUM MITHRIDATICUM—Mithridates VI of Pontus's antidote against all manner of poison (as tried and tested in 63 B.C.).
78. (July 2013)
Klaproth's POPULATION FIGURES FOR THE NORTH CAUCASUS (primarily the "Tcherkesses", the "Abazes" and the "Nogaï").
79. (July-August 2013)
German military operations in THE CAUCASUS DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR (August 1942—January 1943)—notably the actions of the Gebirgsjäger of the German Army's elite but woefully small 1st "Edelweiß" and 4th "Enzian" Mountain Divisions.
80. (September-October 2013)
An account of Germany's OPERATIONS "HIGHLANDER" AND "SHAMIL", which called for the deployment of units largely made up of Caucasian volunteers on the German side during the Second World War.
81. (November 2013)
An extremely obscure article by Adolf Dirr on TREPANATION (i.e. drilling or cutting through someone's skull to perform a medical examination) as legal evidence in the Caucasus.
82. (November 2013; updated May 2014)
An (equally obscure) paper by B.A. Kaloev on THE RITE OF SACRIFICING A HORSE PRACTISED AMONG THE OSSETS presented at the VIIth International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences held in Moscow in August 1964.
83. (November 2013)
ROUTE 20: LONDON TO TIFLIS, BY CONSTANTINOPLE.—THE CAUCASUS as copied from the second (1868) edition of Murray's Handbook for Travellers (Russia, Poland & Finland).
84. (November 2013)
An entertaining description of a stay in TIFLIS IN THE LATE XIXth CENTURY, as written by "Wanderer" (Walter Tschudi Lyall) in his Notes from the Caucasus (London: Macmillan & Co., 1883).
85. (December 2013)
Sir Robert Ker Porter's account of his JOURNEY ACROSS THE CAUCASUS FROM VLADIKAVKAZ TO TIFLIS, undertaken in 1817 and described in his monumental Travels in Georgia, Persia, Armenia, Ancient Babylonia, &c. &c. during the years 1817, 1818, 1819 and 1820, with numerous engravings of portraits, costumes, antiquities, &c. (2 volumes, London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, 1821-22).
86. (Décembre 2013)
Une version à télécharger du GUIDE AU CAUCASE de J. Mourier; publié en 1894 à Paris par la 'Librairie orientale et américaine' de J. Maisonneuve, il s'agit sans doute du premier guide francophone de la région (même si la moitié du livre reproduit mot pour mot l'œuvre d'Élisée Reclus...).
87. (December 2013)
A handful of UBYKH PROVERBS found in the first (1960) volume of Dumézil's Documents anatoliens sur les langues et les traditions du Caucase.
88. (January 2014)
A list of words belonging to the SECRET 'LANGUAGE OF THE CROSS' (Georgian: ჯვართ ენა, j'vart ena) copied from Tinatin Ochiauri's remarkable ქართველთა უძველესი სარწმუნოების ისტორიიდან ("From the history of the Georgians' most ancient religious beliefs"), published by the Academy of Sciences of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954.
89. (March 2014)
90. (March 2014)
vun juq'mat:din-lomcin toħo-aišĭ? com-i Da šu-go? — Some USEFUL WORDS AND SENTENCES IN BATSBUR/TSOVA-TUSH copied from a paper on the language written by Dee Ann Holisky & Rusudan Gagua.
91. (March 2014)
An early XXth-century CENSUS OF THE INHABITANTS OF PSHAVI AND LOWER PSHAVI (Uk'anapshavi & Magharos K'ari communities), copied from Sergi Mak'alatia's ethnographic study of the region (Pshavi, Tbilisi: 1934).
92. (March 2014)
A 1930-31 CENSUS OF THE INHABITANTS OF TUSHETI (including Upper and Lower Alvani), copied from Sergi Mak'alatia's ethnographic study of the region (Tusheti, Tbilisi: 1933).
93. (April 2014)
Some STUNNING PHOTOGRAPHS OF DAILY LIFE IN KHEVSURETI in the early XXth century, copied from the "Khevsur" section of the photographic collections of Czar Peter the Great's Kunstkammer.
94. (April 2014)
Examples of OLD CAUCASIAN CURSES FROM TUSHETI, copied from Sergi Mak'alatia's Tusheti (Tbilisi: 1933) and decrypted by Dr Thomas Wier.
95. (April 2014)
A SELECTION OF SHARE CERTIFICATES, bearer bonds, &c. for banks, building societies, oil companies, &c. in the Caucasus.
96. (April 2014)
ECHOES OF THE CAUCASUS before the altar of Mahandeo Dur in the Kalash valley: Fosco Maraini's description and (superb) photographs of a ritual shamanistic possession among the Kalash, similar in many ways to ancient practices in the Caucasus.
97. (May 2014)
Some rare maps and photographs of GERMAN MENNONITE AND TEMPLAR COLONIES IN THE NORTH CAUCASUS and other bits and pieces of information concerning the establishment in Russia of German colonies along the Volga under Catherine II.
98. (June 2014)
"The Marrying Mdivanis": the story of the five MDIVANI SIBLINGS, who fled Georgia in 1923 and all married fame and fortune.
99. (June 2014)
Two versions (one charming, the other more explanatory) of A RARE XVIIIth-CENTURY MAP OF WESTERN GEORGIA published in an article (1953) by the great W.E.D. Allen.
100. (June 2014)
A lovely MAP OF THE "MESKHIAN" SOVIET REPUBLIC—a fictional version of Georgia which serves as a backdrop for "Liam Pawle's" Strange Coast (London: Lovat Dickson Ltd, 1936).
101. (July 2014)
Twelve steps towards ritual reconciliation among the Pshavs and the Khevsurs. Charachidzé's list of THE RITES AND OFFERINGS A MURDERER'S CLAN MUST MAKE IN ORDER TO RECONCILE THEMSELVES WITH THE CLAN OF THE VICTIM.
102. (July 2014)
SOME INFORMATION FOR TRAVELLERS TO THE CAUCASUS, complete with prices, found in a "Chapter for Prospective Tourists" at the end of Stephen Graham's A Vagabond in the Caucasus (London: John Lane The Bodley Head, 1911).
103. (July 2014)
The BIOGRAPHIES OF SIR (JOHN) OLIVER AND MARJORY SCOTT WARDROP, as copied from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
104. (July 2014)
Some of SIR HARRY LUKE'S MEMORIES OF HIS TIME WITH WARDROP AT THE BRITISH COMMISSION IN TRANSCAUCASIA (1919-1920), copied from Vol. II of his autobiography, Cities and Men (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1953).
105. (August 2014)
A list of the seven "officially sanctioned" WORDS OF CAUCASIAN ORIGIN IN THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY.
106. (August 2014)
A quite mad theory, found in The Annual Register, or a View of the History, Politics, and Literature, for the Year 1786 (London: Printed for J. Dodsley, in Pall-Mall, 1788), which held that THE CHECHENS WERE THE DESCENDANTS OF A COLONY OF XVTH-CENTURY BOHEMIANS [sic.].
107. (January 2015)
Richard Halliburton's "interview" with ZAPARA KIUT THE ABKHAZIAN, "THE OLDEST MAN IN THE WORLD".
108. (March 2015)
From Tbilisi to Kakheti and beyond by train via Tianeti and Akhmeta (sic.!): A RUSSIAN IMPERIAL MAP OF RAILWAY LINES, PLANNED AND PRESENT.
109. (May 2015)
THE LANDS OF THE SHRINE—The organization and division of farmland in Khevsureti and Pshavi, according to Georges Charachidzé and Vera Bardavelidze.
110. (June 2015)
A Burgundian fleet in the Black Sea: GEOFFROY DE THOISY AND THE 'VATY' AFFAIR.
111. (July 2015)
Photographs of the 2015 edition of IAKHSROBA—a pagan festival at the shrine of the demi-god Iakhsar in Pshavi.
112. (July 2015)
THE HIGH ALPINE HORSE RACE AT IREMTKALO—day three of the Udzilaurta community's four-day feast of the demi-god Kopala in Pshavi.
113. (November 2015)
From the archives of the Foreign Office, the TEXT OF THE CIRCASSIAN PETITION TO QUEEN VICTORIA of 1864.
114. (December 2015)
A comprehensive list of all (275, at any rate) the SHRINES OF PSHAVI, KHEVSURETI AND TUSHETI, copied from the three volumes of Bardavelidze's Traditional socio-religious monuments of the mountains of Eastern Georgia (1974-1985).
115. (February 2016)
A list, generously compiled by a Chechen friend, of ALMOST ALL THE TAIPS OF CHECHNYA, organized by tukkhum.
116. (April 2016)
THE STORY of how a Svanetian prince presented Mt Ushba (c. 4,700 m.) to Cenzi von Ficker, a young Austrian mountain-climber, following a heroic attempt to climb the mountain's southern peak in the summer of 1903.
117. (January 2017)
The quite remarkable BELFRY-CUM-WINE-CELLAR of the Cross of Lashari in Pshavi, one of the holiest highland shrines of NE Georgia.
118. (February 2017)
Perhaps the two most architecturally impressive shrines in the highlands of north-eastern Georgia: IAKHSAR DESCENDED-AS-A-PILLAR & RKENA (PETER TORRENT-MOUTH) near the village of Amgha in Arkhoti.