Your 3 unforgettable days in Svaneti, one of Georgia’s best kept treasures.
Svaneti, the mythical western province of Georgia, the land of the ‘Golden Fleece’ (where locals still pan for gold through sheep skins) lies high up in the Greater Caucasus. Several 5000 meter plus peaks thrust glaciers down into this beautiful and remote region, where amazing stone towers rise up beside homes, dating back to the 12th century. Never far away is one of Svaneti’s numerous, richly frescoed churches, focal points for lively communities where traditions have been preserved for nearly two thousand years. Unique icons and manuscripts are on display in Mestia’s museum. Mestia, overlooked by huge hanging peaks, is a well known climber’s starting point and the beginning of dramatic trekking trails for the adventurous traveller. The villages of Ushguli, ‘the highest permanently inhabited settlements in Europe,’ give a stunning view of Mt. Shkhara (5201m) the highest peak in Georgia. Its ragged stone tower villages have been designated a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. There are many myths of ancient Svaneti preserved in popular folklore. According to one, Svaneti, formerly rich in gold, was the source of the Golden Fleece. Gold was extracted from the sands of the Enguri River and its tributaries. Strabo, the Greek geographer and historian of the first century BC, described a gold-prospecting technique carried out by putting a sheep’s fleece into the river to trap the gold particles. Probably, such a gold covered fleece was brought by Svans as an offering to Aeetes, the King of Colchis that Jason and the Argonauts journeyed to obtain.
• Departure from Tbilisi at 8:00 AM.
• First stop is Enguri Dam, the world’s second largest dam, beautiful spot for photo shooting (height of 271.5 metres).
Mestia, the main regional center of Zemo (Upper) Svaneti, is situated 456 km from Georgia’s capital city, Tbilisi, and is 1,500 meters above sea level. It is the starting point for most trips to Svaneti, with a range of hotels, guesthouses and local travel services, and makes a convenient base for exploring the area. From the center of Mestia it is possible to hike up to the glaciers at the foot of mount Ushba, or take horses into the pristine alpine meadows. New ski resorts Hatsvali and Tetnuldi attract the attention of winter sports lovers who are looking for the new places and challenges. Tourists interested in religious history will find plenty of examples of wall paintings, frescoes and icons from the Middle Ages in the churches around Mestia. Within Mestia, the Church of Saint George contains well-preserved crosses and icons from the XII century. Additionally, Pusdi Church still contains fragments of XIII century wall paintings.
• Mestia Cathedral Church
It is located in Laghami – the oldest part of the town of Mestia. The first floor of the two-story basilica is named after the Great Martyr Barbara (Barblash) and dates back to the IX century. The second floor was constructed in XIII-XIV centuries and decorated with beautiful frescoes. The outer wall of the Cathedral is also covered with paintings. The northern facade depicts the “Banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden,” while the eastern wall features “Hunting of St. Eustaphios.” The cathedral also houses a XIII century gold and silver engraved icon of Christ (pantokratori).
• Ethnography Museum
The museum was founded in 1936 and houses historic artifacts from the Svaneti region, including unique icons and engravings, a rich collection of manuscripts, medieval weaponry, iron, silver and copper ornaments, jewelry, pottery, and a collection of textile items, ethnographic artifacts depicting ancient life in Svaneti, and more.
• Tower of Love
According to the legend, long ago, there were a young man and a woman who lived in upper and lower village on the Enguri river fell in love. As the both villagers did not consent to their marriage. They made their house (this tower) on this river bank between the villages and lived. The residents of this village, Bogreshi village-Iphari Community, are their descendant now.
• Kvirike & Ivlita Church
A sacred shrine Lagurka known by its miracle making power is situated in the Kala community. “Lagurka” is a Svan word meaning a holy place. The church is built on the top of a high hill and bears the name of St Kvirike and St. Ivlita. The holiday is commemorated on June 28. The people from the whole west Georgia gathers here. There are many pilgrims today as well. In old sources, the church is referred as the Monastery “where the princess Thekla was admitted to a veil”.
The royal painter Theodore painted the church in 1111. Fresco images of Kvirike and Ivlita are repeated many times. The church harbors many precious old icons and crosses and other sanctuaries. So called – Shaliani icon is especially remarkable. The icon made by an enamel gold and silver engraving technique represents the crucifixion. The icon is a sample of the Byzantine art and represents an icon of holy relics, namely, the Life-Giving Cross of Our Savior. The icon is said to make many miracles.
The last several years the liturgy is offered on the holiday of the icon on June 28. The believers can approach and pay the honor to the holy relics.
At the foot of the church, on the other bank of the river there is a small temple of the great martyr Barbara. The temple belongs to the XII century and is beautified with fresco paintings.
Ushguli is located in the municipality of Mestia, at the bottom of mountain Shkhara, near the confluence of rivers Inguri and Shavtsqala-Kvishara. The community is comprised of 4 villages (Zhibiani, Chvibiani, Murqmeli and Chazhashi) and their height ranges from 2060 meters to 2200 meters above sea level. This makes Ushguli the highest settlement in Europe. The center of the community, Chazhashi, has been declared a museum and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• Ushguli Ethnography Museum
The Ethnographic Museum has a superb collection of gold, silver and wooden icons and crosses dating back to the 12th century from Ushguli’s seven churches, medieval prepossess metalwork, and icons, as well as learn how people lived in those defensive towers you see everywhere in the region.
• Dadiani Palace
Is a Georgian national museum located in Zugdidi, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region, Georgia. The Dadiani Palaces History and Architecture Museum is considered to be one of the most eminent palaces in Caucasus. The first exhibition, of archaeological excavations of the ancient city of Nakalakevi was prepared by Megrelian prince David Dadiani and took place in 1840. Three palaces form the modern museum complex, parts of which are also Blachernae Virgin Church and Zugdidi Botanical Garden. The Dadiani Palaces History and Architecture Museum houses some exhibits of natural cultural heritage of Georgia – Tagiloni treasure materials, Mother of God holy vesture, the icon of queen Bordokhan – mother of queen Tamar of Georgia, manuscripts from 13th – 14th centuries, miniatures, memorial relics of Dadiani dynasty, and objects connected to emperor of France Napoleon Bonaparte – brought to the palace by the husband of David Dadiani’s daughter, prince Achille Murat, grandson of Napoleon’s sister, Carolina.
The palace was fully transformed into a museum on May 1, 1921.
• We will be back in Tbilisi at 10:00 PM next day.
Price includes accommodation in a cozy hotel in the center of Tbilisi. All rooms are air conditioned and have a TV, Free WiFi, desk, 24 Hour Reception, Heating, Hairdryer, Wake-up Service, Tasty Breakfast, Comfortable Bed, Private Bathroom and etc. Transportation is included as well, type and capacity of transportation depends on the number of tourists. Our drivers are experienced and professionals. Wish you comfortable stay and safe trip. Hotel pick-up is offered for this tour. Note: if you are booking within 24 hours of the tour/activity departure time, we cannot guarantee hotel pick-up. Once your purchase is complete, we will send you complete contact information (phone number, email address, etc.) for our local operator to organize pick-up arrangements.
- 3-star Hotel Accommodation
- Tour Guiding
- Breakfast in The Guest House
- Hotel Pick-Up and Drop-off
- All Entry Ticket Fees
- Bottle of Water
- Welcome Package
- Lunch Box
- 2 X Dinner
- Extra Services
- Flight Ticket
No, camping stuff are not required in this trip.
No, pets are not allowed in this trip.
Yes, it is highly suggested that you bring along with you your hiking shoes.
Yes, please bring along with you extra clothes during the tour.
Yes, price includes breakfast in the hotel.
Yes, we provide lunch boxes and soft drinks/water.
Yes, you will have dinner in local restaurants during whole tour.
Yes, of course. He/she has a number of years of driving experience.
Yes of course. He/she has a number of years of experience.
Please check cancellation policy or contact us for more information.
In case of questions, please contact your tour manager.
Please bring warm clothes and comfortable shoes.