FROM THE HISTORY OF KHVITI
The article examines the political and socio-economic history of Kvemo and Zemo Khviti, two villages near the occupation line in Shida Kartli, its population dynamics, ethnic and religious composition, village antiquities, fortifications, material and spiritual monuments, lapidary inscriptions and epitaphs. The meaning and origin of the toponym "Khviti" is also researched, along with Khviti’s relationship with the Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem. Khviti was the property of the Taktakishvilis’ from ancient times, but apart from them different numbers of serfs here and the lands were owned by Machabelis’, Kherkheulidzes’, Pavlenishvilis’, Tumanishvilis’. The village has been actively appearing in written sources since the 16th century. The population was mainly engaged in agriculture and horticulture.
The church of the Virgin Mary is the oldest in the village. According to the inscription, in 1672, Mroveli Episcope Ioane Taktakisdze had built a church on his own lands for himself and his brothers: Ardashel, Philip and Elisbar, to "confess the sins", which had been a “Metoki” of the Virgin St. Mary church of Vredzi.
It is noteworthy that the same persons built the chapel of the famous monastery of Tire, north of Khviti, in 1682, with the difference that the older brother Ioane it is not mentioned in the inscription. We have to assume that he is already dead by this time, so “Mroveloba” moves on to his next brother - Philipe.
Like other villages in Kartli, Khviti and its population were actively involved in the defensive battles against the Lezgins.
According to the decree issued by Erekle II on August 28, 1772 related to the formation of "Samdevroebi", which was directed against the attacks of the Lezgins, Khviti was united in the third “Samdevro” with other villages of Didi Liakhvi (Dzartsemi, Kurta, Tamarasheni, Tskhinvali, Nikozi, Pkhvenisi, Shindisi). In case of attack by Lezgins from Didi Liakhvi gorge, they had to fortify the back to the second “Samdevro” (villages near Patara Liakhvi). For their part, in the event of an enemy coming from the Dzama Valley, the population of Khviti, along with other villages of the Third “Samdevo”, were obliged to assist the villages of the waterlands of village Dirbi.
Key words: Zemo and Kvemo Khviti antiquities, lapidary inscriptions, epitaphs, population, Pavlenishvilis’, Taktakishvilis’, cultic and fortifications.