Brief historical analysis of Khobistkali river and its tributaries

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Khobistskali/Khobi – One of the big rivers of western Georgia is the main water artery for Chkhorotsku and Khobi municipalities.

The river originates from the south slope of Egrisi ridge, at a height of 2326 meters above the sea and flows into the black sea in Kulevi village.  The length of the river is 150 km-s and its area is 1340 square kms (average stream discharge is 44 cubic m/s (at 30 km-s from the river mouth), maximal stream discharge is 333 cubic km/s).

The river flows from the mountain to Mukhuri village, passes Chkhorotsku town and several villages of Chkhorotsku municipality and enters Khobi municipality after passing the villages of Kirtskhi and Lesichine.

Important tributaries of Khobistskali river are Ochkhomuri in Chkhorotsku municipality and Zanadzga and Chanistskali in Khobi municipality. The name of the river comes from the name of the place – Khobi (local variation of the name – Khobtskari, Khoptskari). Vakhushti Bagrationi calls the river Khortgistskali (Professor P. Tskhadaia, Geographical names of Samegrelo. Chkhorotsku district, Tbilisi, 2008).

This is an abstract from “Kartlis Tskhovreba” (History of Georgia), where Vakhushti Bagrationi calls Khobistskali – Khorgistskali:  “On the north of Poti city the river Khotgistskali flows into the Sea. Its name comes from Khorga town on the edge of your sea, where there is a palace of Catholicos of Abkhazs. “

In the middle of XVII century don Archangelo Lamberti visited samegrelo and published a book, which represents the life of the region at that time. In the book called “Description of Samegrelo” Khobistskali the river is called “Khopi”. According to one of the versions, the river was called “Khopi”, because the process of cutting the trees and “transporting” them through the river stream was called  “Mikokhopua” on the local language.  A very interesting book “Catalogue of the Toponymics of Chkhorotsku district (Tbilisi 1985, p. 35) by G. Eliava, G. Parulava and Gr. Shengelia says  the following: “ There is a legend, saying that in old times people from Khopa, which was situated in Lazeti, Northern Georgia moved to the bank of abovementioned river. That’s why the river was called Khobistksali. G. Khukhuni. Nowadays, Khopi (former Atvarukhu) is the village in the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia.

It’s noteworthy, that “Khopi” is an old Georgian word (which is used in modern times too) and means a boat paddle  (Sulkhan Saba Orbeliani “Sitkvis Kona). Definition of Sulkhan Saba confirms the version of wooden logs, transported through the river, although abovementioned version tells about the method of  “Mikokhopua” and has almost nothing in common with wooden paddle, although there is a small bit of truth in this version. Actually, all versions are related to each other.

In the history of Khobi municipality we can find the following: “Toponym “Khobi” is the creature of the 20-ieth century. The name of famous monastery, the river and the settlement were known as “Khopi” in 19-th century and as “Khophi” in middle ages.

“Vocabulary of Georgian Synonyms” by Alexandre Neyman contains paddle as synonym of “Khopi”.

Therefore, if we rely on vocabularies and sources, we get the following pronunciation: Khophi-Khopi-Khobi, although “Khophi” was not only the name of modern Khobi town, but also the right and left banks of the river.

Due to the high interest towards the topic it’s recommended to conduct a historic and linguistic analysis and research of the name of the river.

Khobtskari River is fed by snowmelt, rain and underground water.

The main tributaries of Khobtskari river are: River Gvalashara (length 15 km), Md. Nokhueri (length: 10 km), River Chita Tskari (originates from the mountain Chita Gvala), River Ghunji (one of the biggest tributaries of river Khobitskali – length approximately 20 km), river Didghali. Kharchakhesh ghali is a relatively small tributary. Mapheli and Tskipghali are the right bank tributaries of the river. Their length does not exceed 8 kms, there also other tributaries, such as zanadzga and many other nameless small rivers and brooks.

The biggest  tributaries of Khobistskali River are Ochkhomuri and Tsentskari (Tchanistskali).

Iago Keburia