Svaneti: Land of tall towers, tall mountains


The Lamaria Church, located above the village of Ushguli, with Mount Shkhara in the background. Like most houses in town, it has a defensive stone tower, too.

MESTIA, Georgia — The Caucasus Mountains have long lived in my imagination as one of the world’s most exotic and intriguing places.

So, it is no wonder I took up an opportunity to accompany a small group of travel agents and journalists into those

Some of the defense towers seen in the ski resort town of Mestia, in the Caucasus Mountains.

mountains, in the country of Georgia, a former Soviet republic.

It was a sunny September day when we began our sometimes-bumpy drive from the town of Zugdidi into the mountains, viewing deep ravines, trees with early fall colors and snowcapped peaks.

Our destination, Mestia, is a ski resort and starting point for trekking tours, at more than 4,500 feet above sea level. It is the chief community in a mountain province known as Upper Svaneti, home to legendary stone towers, approximately 600 of them, built for defensive purposes. [Read more…]

Pages: 1 2