Written by Tinatin Bujiashvili
“Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.”
The Prophet Mohammed
On August 19 GeorgianChurch celebrates the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ. We were going to attend the liturgy and then go to the lake of Qoruldi. It was our plan. But it was raining hard the whole night. We were a bit disappointed, but our hostess, Nazo promised to bake Kubdari for us. You shouldn’t leave Svaneti without tasting Kubdari.
Besides, sometimes as it often happens in the mountains, it stops raining for a while and the sun shines. So we hoped the rain would stop soon…
Despite the rain very early in the morning Tinatin and I went to church of Christ in Laghami, Mestia. The church is a good example of traditional basilica style architecture. The first floor of the church dates back to the 13th century. The frescos and the facade of the church are well-known with its original paintings. Near the church there is a cemetery where a grave of mount climber Barliani is.
It was foggy but Mestia looked more beautiful in fog.
When we got home aunt Nazo had already baked the tastiest Kubdari. Our lunch passed in a friendly atmosphere. In the afternoon it stopped raining so we started to the most beautiful and inimitable lake of Qoruldi, which reflects the snow covered peaks of Caucasus and has a shape of Georgia. Unfortunately we weren’t able to reach to the lake as the earth was wet but what we saw while driving up and up above Mestia, was stunningly beautiful. On the one side there was Tetnuldi and on another-Ushba. Niniko, a 13 year-old tourist remembered that Tetnuldi is called White Queen. Niniko also told us that Ushba is known as the Matternhorn of the Caucasus for its picturesque, spire shaped double summit. Yes, this most beautiful mountain is considered by many climbers as the most difficult ascent in the Caucasus. These photos are taken by Dachi Papuashvili.
While watching spectacular views of the mountains we noticed trekkers. We were excited as one of them was our friend, Dachi. It was a warm meeting in the mountains. We offered them to take their heavy backpacks, but they refused. Despite tiredness and spending night in the open air, they walked nearly 5 km in the rain. They were with tourists from Latvia and Lithuania. When we found out that they were going to stay at Khergianis’, we were happy. Later, when we had our supper together foreigner tourists said that they hadn’t seen or experienced such beauty they saw in Svaneti. One of the girls said that the sound of thunder and land sliders was heard a long time from the slope of Ushba and it was impossible to sleep.
Some photos are taken by Ekaterine Nachkhebia
After dinner we still had time and went to Hatsvali. It is a new winter resort and one of the most fascinating skiing and snowboarding area of Svaneti highland.
Mestia looks tiny from Hatsvali and towers like soldiers, guarding the landscape…
Back in Mestia again…You will meet many foreign tourists here, less Georgians. All the houses on the main street leading to the central square are under restoration. Many of them have already turned into the guest-houses. There are hotels and cafes in Mestia centre too.
Next morning we get up early. We have nine-hour journey back to Tbilisi. Paata (Tourist agency ONLY GEORGIA) promised to take us to DadianiPalace in Zugdidi.
We had passed about 24 km when we were stopped as the road needed cleaning from rocks. We were waiting for a tractor from Mestia more than two hours to clean the road and started again.
Paata kept his promise and despite long hours drive we visited Dadiani Palace. We weren’t lucky. The museum was closed on Sunday…
So back in Tblisi with full of impressions and the feeling you still have left much to see. Two or three days isn’t enough for Svaneti…
I know, I promise, I will visit the region once more. I have much interesting sights left to see…
“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head in his old, familiar pillow.”