Racha-Lechkhumi – Underrated Hikers Paradise
The distant and alluring, lost between mountains of Main Caucasus Mountain Range is Racha-Lechkhumi. It served as a residency of Imeretian Kings for centuries. Those magnificent royal houses couldn’t withstand the wrath of history and nature, but what remains is a heritage, culture, and fascinating people – renowned foresters, hard-working builders, fishers, master horse riders, and wine-makers. Let’s dive into this hugely underrated and often overlooked beauty of a region, with its glorious mountains, glaciers, “Bottomless” lakes, waterfalls, caves, churches, and castles, with three main cities: Ambrolauri, Tsageti, and Oni.
History & Culture
Due to archeological findings, we can say that this area was inhabited all the way back in the IX-X century BC. People of this land had to survive in extreme weather conditions and everything else that comes with living in the mountainous area. Summers are short and the winters are cold and unforgiving in this part of Georgia. Locals had to adapt to the harsh life and develop their survival skills and reserved attitude.
Rachians and Lechkhhumians are timid people who prioritize action and hard work. This still doesn’t hold them back to display their amazing hospitality. Locals will fill you up with Delicious traditional Megrelian and Imeretian dishes like Lobio, Khachapuri, Ghomi, and Satsivi. Additionally, Rachians’ most appetizing – “Skhmeruli”, served with local wine “Khvanchkara” and stories & legends by the elders.
Horse riding is a very popular pastime for locals and tourists. The area is also Rich with hiking pathways nearly anywhere you go. You can find yourself conquering mountains of 2000, 3000, or even 4000 meters above sea level! And while on this journey be surprised by an unexpected lake in the middle of nowhere called – “Udziro”, which translates to bottomless! Prepare yourself to find many astonishing lakes of this type here. Or maybe find your way to a cave that was inhabited thousands of years ago, or get your mind blown by waterfalls and green panoramas slowly turning more and more white with snow during your ascend.