Svaneti is a historic province in Georgia, in the northwestern part of the country. It is inhabited by the Svans, a geographic subgroup of the Georgians. Geographically and historically, the province has been divided into two parts—Upper Svaneti and Lower Svaneti.
Upper Svaneti is known for its architectural treasures and picturesque landscapes. Dwelling towers built in the X-XII centuries are also very interesting. It also has ancient stone Orthodox churches. Upper Svaneti was enlisted as an object of UNESCO world heritage.
The Svans never conquered anyone and nobody tried to conquer them – they lived too high.
The Inguri river. 250 000 Georgian refugees were crossing this bridge when went from Abkhazia.
Rockslides are not rare here.
The rider is showing the way to the hotel
Mestia has a population of about 3 thousand people. It is 1440 m high above sea level. Those towers and stone houses are about one thousand years old.
Api Gigani conquered Everest in 1999. He was born here and knows everything about this region. Today he’s the director of the new Mestia airport.
Church of the XI century
Nearby is a small cemetery
Entrance to the church. All local churches are named after Christ. Gergia is the second country (after Armenia) that officially christianized in 326 AD.
Medieval frescos still remain in the church
It seems nothing has changed since the XI century here. The feeling of the history touch is so strong that your heart almost stops beating… It’s kind of incredible that in this place with pigs, careless pasturing goats, is the church of the times of Jerusalem seizure by the crusaders. And it’s not the only one of such kind here.
Georgian old woman
Such fortresses stand at almost every house. Perfect protection for a family. In case of any danger a family could go on top, a ladder was removed and a door was closed.
Underground passage between two towers. In 1921, when communists got here they started to destroy the churches. Here people were hiding church utensils, ancient icons.
Inside the temple is a safe where the local family keeps especially valuable icons, one of them is allegedly of the VI century.
Pure gold Christ image
This old entrance to the temple is not used anymore. The cross to the right, near the chain, started to shed holy ointment 7 years ago.
The Watch tower on the left was ruined by a lightning.
Agriculture helps to survive. They sell meat, cheese, corn.
Mestia is a huge construction site today. People hope to get money from tourism, they build hotels, beautify the territory.
Courthouse designed by Jurgen Mayer
Hotel being built
Monument to a Gerogian tsarina Tamara
Jurgen Mayer’s police and city hall buildings
Carbonated water Narzan
Airport named after tsarina Tamara (project of Jurgen Mayer) in Mestia