World Monuments Fund Celebrates Watch Day at Tusheti National Park in Georgia
Earlier this Fall, World Monuments Fund (WMF) celebrated Watch Day at Tusheti National Park, one of Europe’s last genuine eco-tourism destinations and a 2020 World Monuments Watch site located in the mountain valleys of Georgia. During the event, Our Heritage prizes were given to honor local community members for excellence in the conservation and restoration of the region’s unique heritage.
WMF and the National Trust of Georgia (NTG) are drawing attention to the threat to this unique eco-heritage zone. During Tusheti’s World Monument Watch Day, NTG’s ‘Our Heritage’ competition prizes were awarded to Tushes who have preserved or developed their heritage properties/skills in a culturally sensitive way in Omalo and Dartlo.
“I love and know each stone and tree because the most beautiful years of my childhood are connected to them,” said Ia Nekerauli, one of the Our Heritage prize honorees. “I want everyone to see and feel this earthly paradise.” During the rehabilitation of Dartlo village, Nekerauli converted her home into a guest house, Dartlos Samotke, to welcome tourists. Locals see eco-tourism as a viable way of maintaining the cultural and natural richness of their home.
Cut off and returned to nature eight months of the year, this off-grid region has naturally produced its own healthy eco-tourism industry for the summer months. WMF has been supporting the revitalization of local traditions and plans are now being developed to make Tusheti a 365-day-a-year wealth-generation zone with enhanced tourism capabilities.