Journey to the Mountains of Svaneti


One of the most breathtaking sights in all of Georgia is the mountainous region of Svaneti. Svaneti is located among the Greater Caucasus mountains in northwestern Georgia. About 23,000 people live in villages and towns spread throughout this region. Svaneti boasts the highest settlement in Georgia, Ushguli, which sits at 6,900 feet elevation. Almost 2,000 people live in the main town, called Mestia. 

What makes this environment special or different?:

Due to its isolation, the Svaneti region has a distinct culture with language, cuisine and customs that have developed separately from the rest of Georgia. Svan belongs to the Kartvelian language family, which means it is related to the Georgian language. However, the two languages are not very similar. Someone who only speaks Georgian would not understand Svan! Like Mingrelian, Svan also does not have a writing system. Svan food is delicious! Remember elarji? Svaneti has its own version that adds potatoes, creating tashmijabi. The most well-known Svan dish is kubdari, a flatbread filled with meat and onions. There are strong Orthodox Christian traditions in Svaneti, just as in the rest of Georgia. Many churches overlook the villages and towns. However, many pre-Christian practices endure to this day.