EUROPE’S HIGHEST SETTLEMENT

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Considered to be the most dramatic and impressive region of the entire Caucasus, Svaneti is a very good place for hiking. From the Cross Peak directly above Mestia you can see the magnificent twin peaks of Mt. Ushba (4710 meters), the snow pyramid of Mt. Tetnuldi (4974 meters), the beginnings of Georgia’s highest mountain, Mt. Shkhara (5068 meters), and Mt. Elbrus, Europe’s highest (5642 meters) lurking just behind Ushba. Here you are truly in the heart of the mountains, and the feeling of being here is indescribable.

Ushguli village in Svaneti region, which is situated at 2,300 meter altitude, is the highest settlement in Europe.

Svaneti is known for its superb house-towers, most dating back to the XII-XIII centuries, which spring up from the rocky valley floor like miniature castles. Drive round the corner into Latali village and be struck by the sight of a dozen tall towers reaching into the sky like stone fingers. With such a strong architectural presence it is no surprise that Mestia Museum is a treasure trove of exquisite icons and artifacts gathered from Svaneti’s many remote churches and villages, preserved in this natural mountain fortress from centuries of pillagers.

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