Mestia, surrounded by mighty 5000m peaks, is the administrative center of Svaneti. Located 456 km away from Tbilisi and 128 kilometers off Zugdidi, it is one of the most remarkable places in Georgia attracting visitors all year round.
Mestia is famous for its authenticity, ethnography and architecture, serving as an historical museum with middle age, national, cultural and defensive buildings. Most notable of all are Svan home-towers, surrounded by stone fences and creating a complex, each belonging to Svani families with exciting history.
Mestia being the administrative center of Svaneti, hosts various cafes and restaurants. Our advice is to taste local food and traditional Svanetian dish – Kubdari, which is made of meat and different spice mixes. Another local peculiarity is Svan Salt – Svanuri Marili. Do taste it if you are an explorer of tastes.
Mestia is charming all year round. In summer you enjoy beautiful green mountains, which later turn into magic winter resorts Hatsvali and Tetnuldi. Getting to the top of Hatsvali by a cable car is a mesmerizing experience by itself, which coupled with a nice drink and gorgeous views in the café atop, will surely make your visit a memorable one.
Did you know that Svans have own archaic dialect and that Svan people are characterized by its peculiar traditions? If interested continue your route beyond Mestia and explore Koruldi lakes, Chalaadi Glacier and village Latali for a fascinating experience in the mountainous Georgia.
Ushguli in the Upper Svaneti is a village located at 1,600-2,200 meters above the sea level. By this indicator, it is one of the highest continuously inhabited human settlements in Europe.
Geographically, Ushguli is placed in a cave-like and well-protected gorge with riverside groves and terraces as well as steep slopes. Northern slopes are marked with fir-tree forests while the south is home to sub-Alpine meadows, while the most impressive landscape stretches with mixed forests of evergreen Colchis.
Ushguli portrays fragments of the XII century fortress, several churches, ancient fortress abodes and cult constructions. This little village is under the protection of UNESCO World Heritage list of memorial buildings and declared as a museum “Under the Sky” with more than 30 traditional Svaneti Towers.
In the northern part of Ushguli you can visit St. Mary Church (in the Svan language – “Lamaria”) having the most widespread defensive construction consisting of 4-6 levels of towers. The levels are interconnected by a moving wooden staircase.