Tag Archives: Svaneti

The icons of Svaneti are Sumerian and I can prove it (sort of)

If I were to pick anywhere in the world to hide Sumerian art in plain sight, I would choose Svaneti.  Svaneti, the Republic of Georgia’s mountainous northwest region, is so remote that it was often used as a kind of safe house for art during times of conflict. Back in 2016, after two flights, an […]

Ushguli: you will be astonished, you will be covered in mud

My hands tingled in Ushguli.  Technically, this was due to the altitude: Ushguli is said to be the highest permanently inhabited location in Europe.  Though these tingly fingers and my shortness of breath seemed more like symptoms of astonishment than of altitude sickness. Austere.  Astonishing! Ushguli is made up of four villages strung together in the mountains of the […]

Living an art history lover’s fantasy in Svaneti, Georgia

Over dinner at our guest house in Kashveti I asked our host Vaktang about the village church.  “We have an 11th century church with original frescos” he informed me, “but it’s closed to the public.”  Naturally, I was disappointed, but of course there were so many other wonderful sites in this UNESCO protected region of Georgia, […]

Folk music in Svaneti, Georgia

Imagine this: you’re stuffed with fresh home-cooking, toasting Saint George with potent local chacha (vodka).  There are charming children, a fire in a wood-burning stove and outside your temporary home it looks like this: You’re warm and comfortable but your hair is standing up. It’s the music. The music of Svaneti, a mountainous region of […]

An overnight train and a marshrutka from Tbilisi to Svaneti, Georgia: paper sheets and landslides

We’re in Svaneti, a region of Northwest Georgia full of cultural treasures.  Getting here was dramatic. First step: an overnight train from Tbilisi to Zugdidi.  This is the part of the trip that had stressed me out the most.  As it happened, the journey was uneventful, even pleasant.  We showed up at the Tbilisi train […]