Journey to the Mountains of Svaneti

In February, Svans celebrate Lamproba, a pagan festival similar to the "Day of the Dead". Svans light lamps and torches to honor their ancestors and celebrate the past. 

What parts of this environment help people to live here?:

The harsh and rugged landscape of Svaneti has protected it from many invaders. However, the mountains have not totally deterred attacks. There are many tall stone towers throughout Svaneti, built between the ninth and twelfth centuries, where families would seek refuge from trouble. The towers could also be used defensively, especially to keep a lookout for danger and to send signals throughout the village. Each tower has four or five levels with ladders that could be raised to keep out unwanted visitors. There is space for livestock on the ground floor and the top of the tower has windows. The towers are built into the mountainous terrain so they are sturdy. Many towers have withstood centuries of attacks and natural disasters, such as avalanches.

What challenges do people face living in this environment?:

The region has suffered from natural disasters, including a series of fatal avalanches in 1987. Above-average rates of snowfall can cause these avalanches. In 2005, there were many landslides and floods that caused damage to Svan villages. As with many rural areas globally, there is limited access to resources and services due to the isolation of the region. There is one road that connects Svaneti to the rest of Georgia and it can be quite dangerous to drive on, especially in winter weather. Due to limited job opportunities, sometimes people choose to migrate to areas with higher populations.