Traditional cultural festival in Svaneti’s mountains

Multiple groups of performers (mostly children) sang and danced to beautiful Georgian songs.

An unexpected but welcome encounter with the rich Caucasian culture.

Mestia is a small mountain village in northwest Georgia, the main destination for travellers wanting to explore the Svaneti mountain range. I hitchhiked to Mestia just before heading to Abkhazia through Zugdidi. As roads in Georgia are generally underdeveloped, it was quite an achievement reaching Mestia from Tbilisi in just one day.

The next morning, I was surprised to see lots of people gathering on the village's main square. I was lucky to have arrived in the middle of a cultural festival that aimed to preserve local Svan customs. People came from far away, and I even met one girl who was performing traditional Georgian dances and came from Zestafoni, a town that was a few hundred kilometres away.