Secular architecture

Secular architecture monuments in the territory of the APL are represented by settlements built according to traditional spatial structure with traditional residential houses, husbandry buildings and defence structures (towers and castles).
Compared to the neighbouring regions of Pirikita Khevsureti and Tusheti there are no preserved complexes of whole fortress-villages (where each house had its own fortification). Yet, there are quite many villages with well-preserved towers, defending the settlement as a whole (e.g. Muko in Pshavi, Batsaligo and Khakhmati in Piraketa Khevsureti, Makarta in Gudamakari). In the lower part of Pshavi (beyond the proper Pshavi valley) there are also several medieval castle complexes (Simagreuli and Kelkvitla fortresses near the Gometsari village).

As for the traditional residential buildings, in all three regions houses with an earthen flat roof, furnished by open fireplace and smoke opening above, prevailed. Several buildings of that type have been preserved all over the APL territory in diverse state of repair (best maintained is a house in the upper part of Barisakho, other examples are known e.g. from Ukanapshavi, Gudani and Khakhmati in Khevsureti and Atnokhi in Gudamakari).

As far as other constructions are concerned, we should mention traditional mills (e.g. in Datvisi in Khevsureti) and also remnants of old roads (notably the old “Georgian Military Road” above Bursachiri in Gudamakari). We should not omit also many abandoned villages and archaeological sites situated all over the APL territory (from Kura-Araxes culture onwards).

In Pshavi, there is a memorial site of huge importance – House-Museum of Vazha Pshavela, the most prominent Georgian classical poet of the 19th century, who spent almost all his life in native village of Chargali. An analogical memorial is currently being built for the prose writer Goderdzi Chokheli in Chokhi (Gudamakari).
Part of the sites mentioned is protected as historical/cultural heritage monuments and the National Agency of Cultural Preservation is responsible for their keeping and restoration.

Sacred sites (shrines)
Shrines are the most important part of religious life in all three constituent regions of the AP. They are scattered mainly in or around villages but also in open landscape, and locals are very sensitive to any disturbance of these places. The shrines traditionally served to syncretic cults of East Caucasian mountains, common with other sub-ethnic and ethnic groups, namely the Tushs and (before Islamization) also Chechens and Ingushs. Among scholars, consensus has been reached, that it is in fact the last remaining pre-Christian religious system in Europe as a whole. The system comprises, except for deus otiosus (morige ghmerti) and local hero-deities, also many Christian saints and notions. It is a matter of dispute among scientists, whether the Christian elements are more a substrate or superstrate in nature.
The crucial fact is that historical Pkhovi (Pshavi and Piraketa Khevsureti) constitutes the very heart of this faith, whence it expanded to other regions (e.g. Gudamakari and Tusheti). As a matter of fact, all the most important shrines (and corresponding deities) of the mentioned faith are located in Pshavi – Lashari and Tamar Ghele (near Khoshara), Kopala (near Udzilaurta), Iakhsari (near Shuapkho), Pirkushi (near Akhadi). In Piraketa Khevsureti and Gudamakari we should mention Gudanis Jvari (Gudani Cross) and Pirimze-Pudzis Angelozi (in Chokhi), respectively.

Last but not least, phenomenon of sacred forests is still observed in high mountains of eastern Georgia. Sacred forests are “reserves” in fact, created and protected due to religious considerations, and they represent an example of effective protection and sustainable use of forest resources. They are almost intact and often distinguished by high aesthetic value and rich biodiversity. Sacred forests may represent an example of local forests that avoided any major human influence completely or over a long-time period.

On the other hand Christian churches in the whole APL territory stem mostly from the 19th century (some of them remarkable, like in Magharoskari and Lutkhubi), in the lower part of Pshavi there are also churches of medieval origin (rather moderate in size). In recent years, we can observe continual rise of mainstream Orthodox Christianity among local people, though local festivities connected to ancient shrines are well observed