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Mestia is the historical center of the Svaneti region, beautiful and mysterious, which is hidden in the Caucasus Mountains. It is situated on the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus at a height of 1500 m.
It is an urban style settlement with an area of 3.044,5 km², which is an equal of 4.4% of the territory of Georgia. The population is 14,248 people, about 2,600 families.
The ethnical groups living in Mestia differ by their brave and heroic spirit.
Travel to Mestia gives the possibility of acquaintance with the unique cultural traditions and customs, preserved by Svans for the past 4,000 years.
Mestia extends 6 km along the river connections. It is surrounded by Zuruldi ridge to the south, the mountain Tshakvzagari to the north, from the east by Banguriani ridge and in the west opens a spectacular panorama of Lahili top.
The Medieval architecture of Mestia is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Here you can visit the historical and ethnographic museum, with a rich exposition of unique icons, manuscripts and various relics.
In the range of attractions of Upper Svaneti and Mestia are very remarkable places like Laghami, Lanchvali and Lekhtagi, old apartment complex of Margianis with a tower, a museum of Michael Khergiani and more.
In Mestia there are several mineral springs with different composition and medical and therapeutic properties.
Near the site lie winding mountain trails for hiking toward the lakes of Koruldi.
Seven km away from the center of Mestia recently opened a ski resort, which can be reached by a wide paved road.
Svaneti had survived from many enemy attacks and feudal civil wars, was a member of the set of Georgian principalities, but nevertheless completely preserved its historical and cultural identity. This is confirmed by surviving in the region the stone residential towers of XII-XIII centuries.
Svan towers have a height of 10 to 25 meters. Most of them of square shape, wider at the base and narrowed towards the top.
Towers as a fortresses had protective function, thus the windows from the outside have been replaced by narrow slits, and wider inside. This form of “window” of the tower was convenient to attack the enemy as with bullets, as well with stones, and hard to aim from outside.
Towers were used for living and observation of incoming roads. They were built of locally available materials – cobblestone, slate tiles and lime mixture.
As a rule, the tower was attached to the simple stone house, which is called Machubi. And in a special stall in Machubi, with a separate entrance from the yard, overwintered the livestock.
Nowadays the medieval Svan towers and machubi are replaced by 2-3-storey European style houses.
Proud, brave and freedom-loving Swans, retained their history, language and distinct culture for thousands of years. This nation has never waged an aggressive invasions, and was neber been captured by the enemy. Maybe that’s why Swans have chosen for living the freedom of mountain expanses.
In Svaneti never existed the serfdom. Each Svan is proud that makes part of the great moral traditions of this group.
The region is also proud for its famous sportsmen. In the history of the sport are inscribed the names originated from these places.
Legendary climber Michael Khergiani was called by Queen of England as a mountain tiger.
He conquered many peaks of the Caucasus and the world.
Many tourists come to the place to take part in the celebration of Michael Khergiani and visit the museum house of great climber.