Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Beautiful Svaneti

Every single Kartulian that I’ve met in Georgia suggested me to go to Svaneti. If you would like to see wild places, great landscapes, beautiful peaks (5000 m), Svaneti is the right place.
          So, without hesitation I decided with Razvan to hit the road for that memorable place. First, we went to discover Batumi and after few days we followed our path to Svaneti.
For our adventure we chose to travel in a ,,hitchhiking manner”. It's a real adventure to hitchhike here in Georgia but it works very well. If you go hitchhiking in a team with a girl you won't be waiting for more than few minutes,  someone will stop to ask you if you need help. But with Razvan things were a little bit different: sometimes we expected more than usually.

            It is very interesting how we understood with the local drivers because of our poor language skills, speaking a few words in Georgian, Russian or English. The point is that we passed the language barrier and more than that they were very nice with us and they made us feel very comfortable.
            First stop was at Mazeri, a village near Ushba mountain (4700m). It was a really wonderful view; I started to thank those who guided us to come here.
We decided to go up on the valley to see the glacier, it was so beautiful and so easy to climb that I could go up by sandals the entire track. I heard about Ushba long before I came here in Georgia but I could not believe that we were in front of it. If I were Aurel Salajan (one of my best friends) and if I had the right equipment with me, I am sure we could organize a successful climb. It is very dangerous indeed but we certainly could have done it if the weather would had been good.

 It was the first time for Razvan to climb a 3000 meters mountain. We enjoyed the beautiful mountain landscape together; the valley was full of flowers, rivers with crystal water and we walked with patience, we were in a good mood. At some point we got lost but finally we managed to find the right route.

    We finally arrived at the Ushba glacier. I honestly expected to find it much bigger; unfortunately it seems that global warming has left its mark. We ate salami which was heated by the sun, honey, butter and some slices of bread that we had with us. It was the best food in the world!
Everything was nice and pleasant. But in the same time I just wanted to share my joy with my friends from home.
While we were having “siesta” in the sun, a helicopter was flying around the glacier. We understood that something was wrong.  A tragedy happened. When we were in the village again we found out that two Ukrainians died in the mountains; we also saw reportage on the news about the accident. I had such a bad feeling. In this time I was wondering why people risk their lives.
 From my experience I can tell you what a great feeling overwhelms you when you are surrounded by wonderful nature and in the same time you are with your buddies. Maybe I cannot be understood by everyone, just by those who love adventure and adrenaline.
Anyway a successful ascent depends on many factors that you have to keep in mind: you have to be in a very good physic condition, you need a good teammate and equipment. I could say it is more dangerous to be a driver than a climber in these days.
After Ushaba, we visited Mestia and Ushguli, these two villages in the heart of the mountains. We were wondering how these people manage to live here, but we already know the answer. By working their own land and by raising animals.
           I admire their simplicity, even if for nowadays it is quite complicate to imagine that some of them don’t even have T.V. or radio.

In Mestia we met so many nice people that invited us to their home. Without hesitation, an old woman invited us to her house. We received a place to sleep and good food. She had such a beautiful family with many children and for that I felt like home in their house. But we were a little bit embarrassed because we couldn’t give more than one candy for every child, but their smiling faces showed us that they were happy even without more, with only our presence as foreigner guests.

On departure we received their contact information and they said to us that we are always welcome to return here.
    Unfortunately the days are flying and we have to go back in Rustavi. We are not sad, but we miss chatting with our friends who expect us to come back home and tell them our experience.

Some Facts about the Svaneti region of the Republic of Georgia: 

    Svaneti is a historic province in Georgia, in the northwestern part of the country. Located on the southern slopes of the central Greater Caucasus, Svaneti is the highest inhabited area in Europe. Since 1996 the Upper Svaneti region has been included in the UNESCO's World Heritage List "considering that the region of Upper Svaneti is of outstanding universal value being an exceptional landscape that has preserved to a remarkable degree its original medieval appearance, notable for the distribution, form, and architecture of its human settlements." "The Upper Svaneti region of the Caucasus is an exceptional example of mountain scenery with medieval-type villages and tower-houses preserved by its long isolation. The characteristic landscape of Upper Svaneti is formed by small villages, dominated by their church towers and situated on the mountain slopes, with a natural environment of gorges and alpine valleys and a backdrop of snow-covered mountains." 
"The wealth of monumental and minor art (metal work, manuscript illustrations, textiles and embroidery, wood-carving, icon painting, ancient forms of musical and oral folklore, vernacular architecture) are of paramount importance for the study of Georgia and the Caucasus. The monumental mural painting of Svaneti is of great importance in the study of the origins and development of Georgian and eastern Christian art." UNESCO World HeritageCentre. 
    Mt. Ushba ( 4710 meters from the sea level), described as "the Queen of Caucasus", is the most spectaculous and rough mountain of Caucasus. Ushba is known as the "Matterhorn of the Caucasus" for its spire-shaped double summit. From the point of view of mountain climbing Ushba is considered to be the most dramatic to ascend and is considered as one of the most difficult peak in the world.

Written by: Alin Stana.


Post a Comment


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More