Top: World's first 360-degree Panorama of Ushguli, Svaneti, Georgia, Feb 24/2009, from 12 separate photos...

Friday, 20 April 2007

The Stone Chair, Ushguli, August 2004

Nodar is sitting in the very spot where one of his ancestors was killed more than a century ago. The man, of the Dadeshkelianis who ruled Svaneti at the time, had come to put Ushguli under his authority, so I'm told. The village didn't want him, though, so they decided that he must die. But who would perform the deed? It would set off a chain of tit-for-tat revenge killings between the families of victim and murderer. This was avoided in a most ingenious way. A rifle was set up on a post poking through a hole in a wall, a long string tied to its trigger. The man was invited to the preordained location... and the entire village, men, women, children, were lined up along the string on the other side of the wall. They all pulled together, and all took blame for his death.

Welcome to pre-Soviet governance in the Caucasus.

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