Mestia

Mestia is a highland townlet in northwest Georgia, at an elevation of 1.500 meters in the Caucasus Mountains
 
According to the current administrative subdivision of Georgia, Mestia is located in the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region some 128 km northeast of the regional capital of Zugdidi. Mestia and the adjoining 132 villages form Mestia District. 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. 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.
 
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.