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Currently, there is an Old Omalo, built in the XVIII century, from where people started to go down and settle on the plains. As the result there was established a village named New Omalo.
The Old village lies at an altitude of 1880 meters above sea level, in the municipality of Akhmeta of Kakhetian region, in the historic area of Tusheti. Disposed 90 km far from Akhmeta, on the right bank of the Alazani river, it is an administrative center of Tusheti.
The road going to Omalo starts from Kakhetian village Pshaveli and passes through the highest in Georgia car road – pass of Abano at 2926 meters. This pass is only open a few months, during which constantly cleared from landslides and clastic rocks.
Therefore, travel to Omalo is possible ony by off-roads. The way from Tbilisi takes about 6 hours to get to Omalo.
Old Omalo or Keselo fortress was built in the XVIII century. Earlier Omalo residents lived in fortress, and then gradually went down in the present settlement on the plains. According to people in times of Shamil and invasions of leks the population of the village took refuge in the fort and keep the defense from there.
Omalo located between the ridges of the Greater Caucasus and because impassibility of roads half an year cut off from the rest of Georgia. According to recent data in the village lived 1,221 people.
By Presidential Decree of 2006 the old village Omalo was included in the list of cultural heritage of national importance. In the fortress Keselo is established an ethnographic museum.
The families living in Tusheti consider themselves as refugees. Many of them still remember the history of migration. For example, the ancestors of surname Sisvauri escaped from lords and settled here in Omalo.
The story associated with the icon of St. Mary is very interesting. The iconostasis was built in 1903. Nearby there was a large hollow pine tree, where the treasures of icon were stored. And it was forbidden to touch them. It turns out that once the Russian army, passing by, the deliberated to cut the branches of a tree, but according to legend they were petrified at once. Behind the icon was a rock, which was considered the property of the icon and so its destruction and the use of stone was forbidden.
Living here Mozaidze intended to build a house, so asked for permission to icon to use the stone from the mountain. After, when the construction of home was successfully completed, in gratitude he built her a hall choir here for the icon.
According to the historians description here were kept the simple metal cup and a Persian style bell, decorated with silver plexus and human figures.
In Omalo there is also a forest of Icons, where the icon of the Archangel is stored. Cutting down the forest was always strictly forbidden.
Monuments of the old settlement:
Castle Keselo, with the upper, middle and lower towers
Seven residential buildings