Mestia is a historical, cultural, and religious center of Svaneti region – the most mysterious and unique highland region of Georgia. The capital of Svaneti is located at an elevation 1500 meters on southern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains. The town is surrounded by alpine meadows, coniferous woods, and snow peaked ridges.
The town with population of less than 2,000 people is very small, yet quite interesting. The Svans are specific ethnic group with its culture and traditions; their cultural heritage is, approximately, 4,000 years old. Svaneti region is known for distinctive architecture; this region is called “Country of thousand towers”. Many centuries back, the Svans lived in tall and solid towers; the towers acted as houses and fortresses at the same time. There’re a few dozens of medieval stone houses with towers in Mestia.
All unique architecture of the town is included in UNESCO World Heritage List. Apart from one of a kind buildings, Mestia has a museum with unique icons, manuscripts, and other relics. There’s a famous museum dedicated to the most famous Svan – Michael Hergiani, known by the nickname “Tiger of rocks”, one of the greatest alpinists in the world. Modern center of the city is a strange mix of medieval towers, European cottages, and modern glass administrative buildings.
Travelers won’t feel bored in the capital of Svaneti region; there’re medieval temples, Svan towers, chapels, ancient villages, and museums. Recently, tourists have started coming to Mestia to enjoy breathtaking views while skiing; a few years ago modern skiing resort was opened there. Mestia is considered the center of alpinism and highland tourism in Georgia; many trekking routes to waterfalls, glaciers, mountain lakes, and peaks start from there.