Georgia is a country of exceptional beauty and diverse landscapes. There’re enchanting castles, ancient fortresses, and cave-monasteries. However, nothing can be compared to visiting one of the highest permanent settlements in Europe – Ushguli. The most remoted village in Georgia is located 2200 above sea level, in the East of Svaneti region. This remoted region 400 k away from Tbilisi and is comprised of four villages: Zhibiani, Chvibiani, Chazhashi, and Murqmeli. 70 families or 300 people live in mountains, surrounded by glaciers; half of the year people in Ushguli are trapped and can’t leave their villages.
Why visiting Ushguli is one of the most remarkable experiences in Georgia? Due to its inaccessible location, Ushguli is the only region that has never been taken over. The villages preserved its timeless feel of ancient Georgia. Also, Ushguli is inhabited by the Svans. This ethnic subgroup of the Georgians is known for distinct cultural identity. The Svans are known for being preserved and strict; they practice their own version of Orthodox Christinaity and speak old Georgian dialect. They have never practiced farming, never planted grape, thus, they don’t favor typical Georgian feasts. The Svans are hunters who lead ascetic and modest lifestyle.
The Svans are known for being loyal to ancient traditions in modern Georgia. The name of the settlement is made up of combination of words “ushishari guli”, which means “fearless heart”. This region is called “Country of Thousand Towers”, because locals lived in towers that acted as outposts and housing. Legend says that in one of these towers belonged to Queen Tamar. These towers are a part of UNESCO World Heritage List. Surprisingly, in such isolated mountainous place there’re 5 temples. Ushguli must be on everyone’s visit list for its atmosphere of pristine Georgia culture.