Georgia is a curious place crowned at the top by the Higher Caucasus Mountains to the north of the country. While cities like Tbilisi and Batumi are beginning to rake in the tourists as the country gradually gains popularity, to really get a true feel for authentic Georgia, it’s best to visit its small towns and villages hidden up in the mountains like:
Svaneti is one of the oldest parts in Georgia. This place is especially famous for Svans as they are distinctively proud people. They kept their own, Svan language until now and it is transferring from generation to generation by heart.
This part of Georgia is also well-known for its strict “blood taking” tradition when a family member of a victim kills the killer or a family member of a killer. This tradition often led to a long-lasting war between families. For centuries, kings have tried to change this tradition, however even today some Svan families still believe that this is the most fear way to get revenge.
Christianity was spread from the 5th century in Svaneti and it merged with the local traditions and legends.
Svaneti can be named as hiking paradise. It does not offer just amazing hiking trails, fantastic views and landscape, but also lots of glaciers, which can be visited.
The numerous fortified towers, which can be found in Svaneti region, are unique part of history in the world. They can be found only in Svaneti
If the Svan towers already charmed you in Mestia, the views on them in Ushguli will blow your mind. The Svan towers were once used as defense towers for locals. To be exact these were actually fortified houses, from which local warriors defended their land and families. It is said that the oldest dated in 6th century.
Ushguli is actually an area, covering 4 smaller villages, which lie at 2.200 meters above sea level. Old stone houses are surrounded by Caucasus snow covered mountain tops, what makes everything even more spectacular. To top it all off, add the unique Svan towers and you will never want to leave.
Ushguli is so unique that it is even UNESCO World heritage site. It is claimed that Ushguli is Europe’s highest permanently inhabited settlement. If you already made it to Mestia, don’t even think of skipping Ushguli.
The nature showed us all its glory… wild landscape, naked Caucasus mountain tops and snow covered mountains, which were more than 5000 meters high. No matter how many photos we took during the drive, not a single one is good enough to really show the »wow« moments we had during the drive.
Shatili is the unique and historically famous highland village in Georgia and is located on the northern slope of the Greater Caucasus Mountains. The village is located in depth of Arghuni gorge at approximately 1, 400 meters Above Sea Level and the complex belongs to the early medieval century. This is a complex of medieval-to-early modern fortresses and fortified dwellings of stone (about 60 towers) which functioned both as a residential area and a fortress guarding the northeastern outskirts of the country. Beside this amazing place we’ll also visit regional museum of Korsha, another tower village (abandoned) of Mutso (located on the top of the hill – about 1800m above sea level), Anatori Tombs and Abudelaui alpine lakes (if requested). Beside the above mentioned cultural and natural places, you will enjoy walking around Great and virgin Caucasian mountains, wild gorges and mountain rivers.
Tusheti is one of the most beautiful places in Georgia. Medieval fortresses merge with breathtakingnature leaving every person who visits this province at least once with unforgettable impressions. While travelling to the villages of Tusheti you feel as if time has stopped and you travel in the middle ages.
To reach Tusheti one should drive over Abano Pass, located almost 3000m above sea level. This car path is included in the 10 most dangerous roads of the world.
Most impressive villages are Shenako, Diklo, Dartlo, Parsma, Jvarboseli, Verkhovani. Due to very severe climate the villages are only full of people in summer. 7-8 months a year the villages are cut off from the rest of the world by snow and that’s why people leave them in autumn. First snow comes in autumn as well and blocks the connecting roads for months.
Main village in Tusheti is Omalo, where couple of families stay for winter despite the blocked roads.