Beautiful, wild and mysterious Mestia, Svaneti is an ancient land locked in the Caucasus, so remote that it was never tamed by any ruler, and even during the Soviet period it largely retained its traditional way of life. Uniquely picturesque villages and snow-covered peaks rising over 4000m above flower-strewn al- pine meadows provide a superb backdrop to the many walking trails. Svaneti’s emblem is the koshki (defensive stone tower), designed to house villagers at times of invasion and local strife (until recently Svaneti was renowned for its murderous blood-feuds). Around 175 koshkebi, most originally built between the 9th and 13th centuries, survive in Mestia today.
Svaneti’s isolation meant that during the many invasions of Georgia over the centuries, icons and other religious artefacts were brought here for safekeeping, and many of them remain in private homes. Svaneti also has a rich church-art heritage of its own, and many tiny village churches boast frescoes 1000 years old. This mountain retreat is regarded by many as a bastion of Georgian traditions, such as can be witnessed at Svan festivals such as Kvirikoba. Svans speak their own, unwritten, language, largely unintelligible to other Georgians. They live mainly from farming cattle and pigs, and, today, tourism.
Svaneti is divided into Upper (Zemo) and Lower (Kvemo) Svaneti. Upper Svaneti offers the best walking and climbing as well as the strongest traditions; it is very green, with subalpine forests of hornbeam, chestnut, spruce, pine and fir.
Svan food may be less elaborate than other varieties of Georgian cuisine, but is delicious when well done. Typical dishes include kubdari pies, chvishdari (cheese cooked inside maize bread) and tashmujabi (mashed potatoes with cheese).
More about How to get in Svaneti region.
Delica Club Georgia
|Languages spoken||Georgian, Svan, Russian, English|