The 84-Year-Old Man Who is the Only Resident of a Village in Europe Reveals Why He Stayed

The sole inhabitant of Europe’s highest and most isolated village has revealed that it’s a powerful sense of duty that keeps him living there. Irakl Khvedaguridze is the only licensed doctor in the remote village of Bochorna in the Tusheti region of Georgia, which covers about 380 square miles. While everyone has left his village, Irakl has stayed put, with his trusty horse Bichola serving as his only companion. “I go to help people who are ill. Even when I am ill myself, I still put my hat on and get on that horse,” said Irakl. Tusheti has been inhabited for thousands of years, with the main industry being sheep farming. However, with traditions steadily dying out, many people have left the mountainous region. There are 40 deserted villages and 10 that are very sparsely populated. Of the communities that are left, the majority only have one or two full-time residents. During the winter, altitude can be brutal, with the temperatures plummeting well below freezing and more than 6 feet of snow lasting for months at a time. Irakl says the hardest thing about his line of work and being somewhere so remote is having a really sick patient that you want to help but can’t. On occasion, critical patients are flown out by volunteer pilots. As for food, the pilots also help transport supplies occasionally, but the people of the remote area are mainly self-sufficient. There’s no word on whether Irakl has anyone lined up to take his place when the time comes.