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Svaneti — the Land of Glaciers and myths, awe-inspiring landscapes, dazzling views, glimpses of wildlife and the majestic Mountains! Around 175 towers, most originally built between 9th and 13th centuries, survive in Svaneti today.
Here we rounded up 9 reasons why you should discover Svaneti, when spring is right around the corner.
1. Explore Mestia
Mestia is 1,500 meters above sea level. It is the starting point for most trips to Svaneti, with a range of hotels, guesthouses and local travel services, and makes a convenient base for exploring the area.
2. Hiking to Shdugra Waterfall
Did you know that hiking is not only great for your body but also for your soul? this trip is the perfect escape from the daily grind because the views are breathtaking, you’ll challenge your limits and the experience actually makes you happy. A hike from Mazeri village in Becho community to Shdugra (the tallest waterfall in Georgia) takes about 5 hours. If you have more time you can even hike till Ushba glacier.
3. Taste Kubdari and other goodness of Svanetian cuisine
The heaven of hospitality — Svaneti — preserves several recipes that are acclaimed as our national treasure.
Kubdari is the most known Svanetian dish. Dough wrapped pork and beef is a real festival of tastes, the secret of which lies in the alchemy of its spices.
Svanetian Salt has a unique fragrance and taste and is traditionally used as a flavoring for a variety of meat, fish, potato and soup dishes as well as a condiment instead of table salt. The salt mixture is handmade from 8 ingredients as: coriander, blue fenugreek, dried red pepper, marigold, cumin, dried dill, white salt and garlic.
4. Hike to Chalaadi Glacier
The glacier is located on the southern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains, at the source of the river Mestia- Chala. The height of the glacier is 1850 meters. Chalaadi is the only glacier that extends into the forest zone.
5. Visit Ethnographic museum of Svaneti
The Museum’s collections include important archaeological and ethnographic materials, a rich collection of Georgian manuscripts, and Georgian Orthodox icons painted in the unique Svan style. Archeological discoveries made in Svaneti date back to the 3rd century BCE, and provide evidence of active cultural and social life, as well as connection to Kolkheti-the ancient land of the Golden Fleece encountered by the Argonauts.
6. Visit Lamaria Church in Ushguli (highest settlement in Europe)
This tiny 12th-century church with its own watchtower stands proudly on a hilltop looking back over the town and marks the end of Ushguli. Inside there are some wonderful icons and frescoes, albeit rather faded, devoted to Lamaria, a Svan pagan goddess of fertility, who has gradually become identified with St Mary in the Christian faith.
7. Visit Adishi
There is no better way to experience the nature, culture and history of Svaneti than a visit to Adishi. Being isolated for most of the year, Adishi is a microversion of what Upper Svaneti is all about.
8. Hike to Koruldi Lakes
The lakes are situated in Upper Svaneti at an altitude of 2850 meters above sea level , 10km away from Mestia. Koruldi Lakes are surrounded by glaciers and peaks of the Caucasus. Visitors will spot Shkhara, Tetnuldi, Ushba and other peaks of the Caucasus Mountains. The lakes can be reached via a car, horses or hiking. The best view at the place is the Mountain peaks mirroring in the lake.
9. Hike to Shkhara Glacier
The easy hike from Ushguli to Shkara takes about 5 hours to get to the glacier of and back. The trail is easy to follow.
Remote, sparsely populated and stunningly beautiful, Svaneti is a bucket list item for many travelers, so just pack your back and travel to Georgia.