When you get there, you’ll meet the Afghan at the telephone pole.
These instructions given to us in Mestia by the Svaneti Mountaineering Tourism Center left us baffled. Is our mountain guide a member of the Mujahideen who’d lost his way and made his home in the mountains of Georgia? After all, in Svaneti just about anything seems possible. Continue Reading »
Podcast: Play in new window
As the first tourists to take advantage of the Svaneti Mountaineering Tourism Center (SMTC), we planned our arrival in the town of Mestia to coincide with the organization’s inaugural party. Because of our exceptionally long ride from Zugdidi to Mestia, we barely arrived in time for the opening speeches, including one which singled us out and unexpectedly turned the local crowd’s attention to us. Continue Reading »
I tell you, the Svanetians are crazy. Their brains are deficient in oxygen.
- A Tbilisi resident describing how the high altitudes of Svaneti have affected its people.
Svaneti, the high Caucasus mountain region in the northwestern corner of Georgia, has a long reputation of fierce independence characterized by the 12th century defensive towers that still dot many of its villages. More recently, Svaneti has been feared as outlaw territory where bandits and escaping terrorists from nearby Abkhazia, Chechnya and Ingushetia took refuge as locals holed up in their homes with guns at the ready. Continue Reading »