Ah, Svaneti. The famed, mystical, isolated region of high mountains, lush valleys and brave warriors. We’ve been hearing people rave about it for years and finally were able to see for ourselves.
Everyone was right.
While the main town in Upper Svaneti – Mestia – has been developed into a tourist playground (truly, we only saw foreigners and Georgians serving the foreigners in the center of town), the natural beauty surrounding Mestia is incredible.
We hiked past a river and scrambled over rocks to a glacier.
We walked along a mountain ridge and gazed at the Svaneti and Greater Caucusus ranges as the clouds rolled in.
We visited a Svanetian tower, climbing up rickety ladders to the top.
We bought Svanetian Salt straight from the lady that grew the herbs in the mountain behind her home and mixed the spice blend to her liking.
The nature (buneba – ბუნება) in Upper Svaneti is deservedly famous.
I’ll end with a quote from a famous Georgian photographer and alpinist, Guram Tikanadze, which we read at the Svaneti Museum in Mestia:
“Alpinists are often asked what they find interesting in mountains. We leave this question unanswered considering it unreasonable. Just some emotions can help the explanation. We don’t talk to the mountains and don’t strengthen our love by conversation. We know well that here under every stone and snowflake there can be a danger waiting. Dense clouds disperse thunderstorm and snow on the mountain slopes, while the blazing sun sobers mountain ranges with rock falls and whirlwind of avalanches. Always novelty, soberness, motion…we have much more in common with mountains and ice than with valleys and sea.”
PS: If you’d like to try authentic Svanetian Salt, go to kargigogo.com and use Coupon Code SVANETI at checkout to save 20% off this delicious spice blend, found on almost every table in Svaneti, now through June 30th!