International Foundation Aliph funded a two-year project - Rehabilitation of the Tsiskarauli Family Tower under the guidance of the National Trust of Georgia, which lasted from 16 to 27 August in Khevsureti, Arkhoti community, in the village of Akhiela.
The project aims to rehabilitate Tsiskarauli Ancestral tower and demonstrate cultural and natural heritage of Arkhoti valley and Georgian heritage to international audience.
It is important to mention, that the supporters of this project are involved in the process of restoration and rehabilitation of a medieval monuments internationally, with wide experience in this field the International National Trusts Organization (INTO) and the French Cultural Heritage Protection Organization - Rempart.
Tsiskarauli Tower was significantly damaged during the 2001 Russian-Chechen second war. Due to missile damage the tower’s structure is now threatened. The base of the small eastern wall window was hit, creating a 1m x 1,5m hole and long cracks running down the outer walls. Correspondingly, the tower is in the need of urgent rehabilitation and consolidation.
The two year rehabilitation process considers engagement of the international and Georgian volunteers together with local community in the process of the rehabilitation.
“This year, for two weeks all the participants of the project were living together with the family of Jarji Tsiskarauli under one roof. This was interesting and important experience, as for the local family as for the members of our organization. In fact, we’re very glad, that National Trust of Georgia could involve volunteers in the preservation of the heritage. I’m sure the volunteers participating during the summer working holidays will always stay as the supporters of the heritage”, - mentioned Co-chairman of the National Trust of Georgia Marine Mizandari.
Together, with the rehabilitation of Tsiskarauli ancestral tower there is ongoing parallel project of building eco touristic hiking trail near the village of Akhiela. The 600 meter long trail starts from the bank of river Assa to the midpoint of mount Sairme. I the first phase group will rebuild traces of an old trail going to the same direction. During trail building there is no damage to environment and no tree cut. The trail will increase interest of international travelers towards the Arkhoti valley and village Akhiela.
Organization Rempart was established in 1966 and since working on preserving heritage with the integration and support of the volunteers. It’s the fist time the organization and its members visited Georgia.
"First of all, I want to say that this is a project that is full of features and values", said Rampart President Marie-George. “We are implementing an important project for the first time in Georgia, are working on the rehabilitation of a cultural heritage site, the implementation of which is not easy, although I am already confident in its success. The existence of a cultural heritage monument in the countryside and the implementation of a rehabilitation project implies a close relationship of volunteers with the locals and participation in daily life. The involvement of French and Georgian volunteers has made the project reality. I hope this first step is the beginning of a bigger work than the rehabilitation of a cultural heritage site”.
Next year together with the Georgian volunteers will participate French and British volunteers.
Activities and meetings of the project:
Meeting with Mtskheta-Mtianeti authorized representative;
The International Day for Monuments and Sites held on 18th of April the National Trust of Georgia presented the project of rehabilitation of Tsiskarauli ancestral tower in village Akhiela, Khevsureti;
Meeting in municipality of Dedoplistskaro with the Tsiskarauli family members and Khevsurian community exiled from Arkhoti valley in 1957;
Meetings with the local community in the village of Akhiela;
Contest for volunteers willing participation in the project;
Project managers were invited in France to observe and train the working holidays together with international volunteers in Aussois, France on the rehabilitation project of the castle Victor Emmanuel II;
Visit of representatives of Rempart in Georgia;
Presentation of the Tsiskarauli Tower rehabilitation project to the volunteers and start of the work;
Masterclasses, meetings with the local community and visits in different parts of Arkhoti valley during the working holidays;
With the initiative of Rempart participation of project members in the training for heritage preservation held in France.
The team members of the project of the National Trust of Georgia - rehabilitation of Tsiskarauli Ancestral Tower in village Akhiela, Khevsureti, are: project manager Marine Mizandari, co-managers: Salome Tsiskarauli and Guga Klibadze; architect-restorers: nino Kordzakhia, Lela Naroushvili, Guga Sutidze, Erekle Naroushvili; Historian - Manana Suramelashvili.