Mestia and Ushguli in the Svaneti Mountains

Mestia is a beautiful Swiss alp like city situated in between Mountain tops of over 4000meters. People were building hostels and restaurants there like crazy, and I think this place will be transformed into a very popular tourist destination within 5 years.

I spent one day exploring the town, walking up one of the many defensive towers that the city is so famous for and hiked to Koruldi Lake. That is when I met two Norwegians who had rented a car and offered me to come with them the next morning.

Live music and local dancing in Mestia

They were headed to Ushguli, a UNESCO heritage village and one of the highest continiusly inhabited villages in Europe. It is known as the most remote village in Georgia, but now that they have fixed up the roads it took us no longer than 2,5 hours to get there. A fifteen minute walk around was enough to see the village before we were were on our way to Tbilisi.

The road to Mestia passed a beautiful dam with turquise water

We didnt get far before we came to Khaishi, a village where there were protests against a dam that was going to force hundreds to move from their homes. We watched as more than a hundred police officers were facing the locals who were carrying baseball bats, logs and farming tools. Fortunately for all parts the protest did not escalate and get violeny as the partiets got together to discuss while 9 tv stations were filming the debate on the street. The discussions went on until after midnight when they suddenly decided to open the gates and let us pass through, which was quite a relief!

The protesters got a lot of attention from local media