Ukrainians, Saakashvili and snow welcome the Svaneti winter
By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Wednesday, January 12
With a two hour concert by Ukrainian performers on January 8, the winter season opened in Mestia in Georgia’s mountainous region of Svaneti.
Senior officials, as well as people from Tbilisi and other parts of Georgia travelled specially to Mestia for that day. Special flights from Tbilisi to Mestia had been arranged; however the demand was not fully met. Free buses ran to Mestia from Samegrelo all day long. The repertoire of the Christmas show was quite diverse with the guests from Kiev performing their compositions in Ukrainian, English, Russian, Italian and Spanish languages. The Ukrainian singers and musicians closed the concert with a Georgian song.
The Georgian President also attended the U show. Mikheil Saakashvili said new ski runs are going to be constructed in Mestia very soon. He said infrastructure development and the new regional airport will help Mestia become one of the most developed resorts in Europe.
The Ukrainians also presented their traditional dishes in Mestia. Mikheil Saakashvili tasted the dishes, after which he spoke with the local population, emphasising his attention on the tourism potential of the Svaneti region. He noted that the winter season had opened in Svaneti and soon the new ski slopes would be open. He commented that it was remarkable that the first snow fell on the opening of the season.
“We must understand what a big miracle is happening in Mestia. About 90 percent of Georgia's population has never been here. We are investing several hundreds of million GEL on the roads alone, finally 500-600 million GEL will be spent here – not only will we get this money back, but it will bring us many billions of income over several years considering the climate, cultural heritage, cuisine, as well as the ski slopes. This place is outstanding not only in Georgia and the Caucasus, but in Europe as well,” Saakashvili stated in Mestia.
Svaneti is a historic province of Georgia, in the north-western part of the country. If you really want to feel the Georgian soul, its traditions and history Svaneti is the perfect place in which to do so. Svaneti is the highest inhabited area in Europe and is famous for its mountaineering. Shkhara (5,201 metres), Tetnuldi (4,974 metres) and Ushba (4,710 metres) are the most extreme destinations for mountain climbers in Georgia. Svaneti is known for its architectural treasures and picturesque landscapes. The famous Svanetian towers, built mainly in the 9th-12th centuries, add to the charm of the region.