Svaneti is the most distinct and mountainous area of Georgia. People here are so different from other parts of the country. They are called Svans and they retained most of the old traditions. To this day, they mostly follow the ways of the past and respect, protect and nurture their heritage at all costs. Svans’ character is mostly shaped by their surroundings. This area is scattered between heights of 2000 meters in lower Svaneti, to all the way up to 5000 meters! The highest peak of Georgia is located here – Shkhara (5201 meters).
To say that Svans respect their heritage would be a massive understatement, they worship it religiously. Svans carry their unwritten unique dialect from generation to generation, it’s so distinct that people from other regions of Georgia can’t understand it.
The oldest men are considered heads of the family and older women are very respected. Most of the boys participate in Hunts from a young age and are thought how to fight and survive in the wilderness. When they grow up hunting arm-in-arms, protecting each other, and developing family-level trust they might end up going through a ritual of forging the Blood Brotherhood. They will slice their palms and swear to treat each other like real brothers, with respect, honor, and willingness to risk their lives to save another.
One more influential tradition is Blood Revenge. It’s an eye for an eye mentality that Svans carry till these days. Svans represent a group that knows what brotherhood and standing up for yourself and each other. they are ready to do anything for their loved ones sometimes without knowing any limits.
UNESCO World Heritage – Svaneti
Today Svaneti is one of the must-see destinations of Georgia. It’s a hiking paradise! The main place to start is Mestia (1500 meters) – Centre of Svaneti. From here, no matter where your curiosity takes you, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by gorgeous snowy mountains and running, restless rivers through vast and beautiful forests of this heavenly place. Here you come to sit down by the campfire with your friends and listen to locals’ stories and legends and their jamming sessions with guitar and folk songs. Then get hypnotized by the unreal sky painted with stars and get pulled in by this magical moment.
The coolest thing is you can fly there from Tbilisi by small plane and in a matter of a couple of hours, you’ll arrive at King Tamar Airport of Mestia. Go and experience this marvelous gem and grab your family/friends with you on this unforgettable trip.