Upper Svaneti (1996)

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Preserved by its long isolation, the Upper Svaneti region of the Caucasus is an exceptional example of mountain scenery with medieval-type villages and tower-houses. The village of Chazhashi still has more than 200 of these very unusual houses, which were used both as dwellings and as defence posts against the invaders who plagued the region. 

Georgia 1999. Sheetlet containing one stamp. Chazhashi in the Upper Svaneti Region.

At 2200 m this is sometimes referred to as the highest village in Europe. It is located at the feet of Shkhara, one of the higher Caucasian peaks. Unlike many other villages high in the mountains it is still inhabited and thriving. About 70 families (about 200 people) live in the area, that has also a small school. For 6 months of the year snow covers the whole area, but the school is always open and life goes on.

Typical Svanetian protective towers are found throughout the village with goats, pigs and cows happily mingling with the local population on the narrow cobbled lanes. A short walk above the village leads to a small hilltop where the Ushguli Chapel is located. This dates back to the 12th century and contains some very old frescoes. From here a magnificent, broad valley leads to the foot of Shkhara in 3 hours walking through flower strewn alpine meadows.
  • Georgia 2004. World Heritage issue of the village of Ushguli in the Upper Svaneti region. 

Georgia 2004. Village of Ushguli in the Upper Svaneti region.

Surrounded by 3,000-5,000 meter peaks, Svaneti is the highest inhabited area in Europe. Four of the 10 highest peaks of the Caucasus are located in the region, and the highest mountain in Georgia, Mount Shkhara at 5,201 meters (17,059 feet), is located in Svaneti. 

Sources and links: 

Other World Cultural Heritage sites in Georgia (on this web site). For more information about Georgia, please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Georgia-section

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
Copyright 1999-2007 Ann Mette Heindorff 
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