Svaneti History & Ethnography Museum

Top choice in Mestia

Mestia’s excellent main museum is one of Georgia's best, with fascinating displays of church treasures, manuscripts, weaponry, jewellery, coins and historical photos, all labelled in English. The highlight is the room of wonderful 10th- to 14th-century icons from Svaneti's churches, fashioned in silver or painted in tempera on wood. The best of these have a uniquely human and touching quality, and some, unusually, depict St George spearing emperor Diocletian instead of his normal dragon.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Mestia attractions

1. Vladimir Vysotsky Alpine Museum

15.48 MILES

This small but interesting museum, 7km east of Cheget, is named after the Soviet-era singer-songwriter and actor Vladimir Vysotsky, who was a great fan of…

2. Ushguli Museum

16.75 MILES

Ushguli's main museum has a superb collection of gold, silver and wooden icons and crosses dating back to the 12th century from Ushguli’s seven churches.

3. Queen Tamar's Castle

16.81 MILES

These atmospheric ruins on top of a hill in Chazhashi were once made up of four defensive towers and a church, though just one tower and the ruins of the…

4. Ethnographic Museum

16.98 MILES

Ushguli's Ethnographic Museum is located in a 12th-century building that once housed both people and livestock in the winter months, all huddled together…

5. Lamaria Church

17.12 MILES

This tiny 12th-century church with its own watchtower stands proudly on a hilltop looking back over the town and marks the end of Ushguli. Inside there…

6. Donguz-Orunkel Lake

17.22 MILES

From the top of Cheget’s lower chairlift, it’s about a one-hour walk around the side of the mountain to this lake. Check conditions before starting off …

7. Mt Cheget

17.99 MILES

Expert skiers relish the moguls, steeps and glades offered by this ski area on the south side of the Baksan Valley. The piste occupies the lower reaches…

8. Observatory

19.88 MILES

You'll spot this observatory from the Elbrus cable cars, but you can also hike here along a steep track from Terskol. It's a popular route for those…