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Mestia
მესტია
A general view of Mestia with Mt Ushba in the background.
Mestia მესტია is located in Georgia (country)
Mestia
მესტია
Location of Mestia in Georgia
Coordinates: 43°02′44″N 42°43′47″E / 43.04556°N 42.72972°E / 43.04556; 42.72972
Country  Georgia
Mkhare Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti
Population (2002)
 - City 2,600
 - Metro 14,248
Time zone Georgian Time (UTC+4)

Mestia (Georgian: მესტია) is a highland townlet in northwest Georgia, at an elevation of 1.500 meters in the Caucasus Mountains.

Contents

General information

According to the current administrative subdivision of Georgia, Mestia is located in the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region (mkhare), some 128 km northeast of the regional capital of Zugdidi. Mestia and the adjoining 132 villages form Mestia District (raioni). Its area is 3,044 km²; population – 14,248 (2,600 in the town itself; 2002 Georgia census). The population is mostly Svans, a cultural and linguistic subgroup of the Georgians.

Historically and ethnographically, Mestia has always been regarded a chief community of Zemo, or Upper Svaneti province. It was formerly known as Seti (სეთი). Despite its small size, the townlet was an important centre of Georgian culture for centuries and contains a number of medieval monuments - churches and forts - included in a list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In 1968, it was granted a status of a townlet (Georgian: daba).

Architecture and attractions

The townlet is dominated by stone defensive towers of a type seen in Ushguli ("Svan towers"). A typical Svan fortified dwelling consisted of a tower, an adjacent house (machub) and some other household structures encircled by a defensive wall.

Unique icons and manuscripts are kept in Mestia Historical-Ethnographic Museum. Mestia is also a center of mountaineer tourism and alpinism.

Born in Mestia

  • Mikheil Khergiani (1932-1969), a famous mountain climber

See also

External links

Coordinates: 43°02′44″N 42°43′47″E / 43.04556°N 42.72972°E / 43.04556; 42.72972

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Mestia is a city in Upper Svaneti, Georgia. It's the regional capital.

Get in

There is exactly one road from Kutaisi to Upper Svaneti. There is a small airport. Flights are in a small propeller plane and only twice a week, but are provided free of charge, from the Georgia Police (as of June 2009) between Kutaisi and Mestia.

There is a 'marshrutka' (small bus) running from Tbilisi for 35 Lari, but it takes 12 hours mostly on twisty, narrow, deserted mountain roads. Not for those prone to carsickness, but the scenery is wonderful.

In the summer time a plane flown by the Georgian military will give you a ride between Kutasi and Mestia. The plane will only work on "perfect" days. This is a very fun experience! The cost is free to the locals, or ~$15USD for foreigners. You get into a very old Russian propeller plane. You strap yourself into a "jump" seat. It will take off from a grassy field in Mestia, and land in Kutasi in less then an hour! This will cut off about 6-8 hours of travel time to the capital! The plane fly's on Saturdays and leaves Kutasi at 9. The pilot's name is Leri - 877-199-689

Get around

Marshrutki.

See

The Svaneti Historical-Ethnographic Museum, which has one of the oldest New Testament manuscripts in Georgian on display.

House and Museum of the world-famous alpinist Mikhail Hergiani

Do

Mountain Tourist activities, supported by the Mountain Tourist Centre of Svaneti, Pereulok Stalina No. 7, two-hundred metres from the main square in Mestia.

Mestia is also the embarkation point for a trip to Ushghuli, the highest altitude inhabited point in Europe. There is another small ethnographical museum there, containing 12th century religious artwork.

Buy

Beautiful works of Folk art can be bought at the Mountain Tourist Centre.

Drink

Lots of interesting mineral water. And of course, as anywhere in Georgia, marvellous Georgian wine. And Raki!

Sleep

House of Elguji Jorjoliani House of Ketevan Gabliani (Tel. +899-56-93-58) House of Malkhaza Argviliani (Tel. +899-25-90-80)

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