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Coordinates: 42°55′04″N 43°00′56″E / 42.917797°N 43.015672°E / 42.917797; 43.015672
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ushguli is located in Georgia
Location of Ushguli in Georgia
Ushguli is located in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti
Ushguli (Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti)
Coordinates: 42°55′04″N 43°00′56″E / 42.917797°N 43.015672°E / 42.917797; 43.015672
Country Georgia
MkhareSamegrelo-Zemo Svaneti
 • Total228
Time zoneUTC+4 (Georgian Time)
Official nameUpper Svaneti
CriteriaCultural: (iv)(v)
Inscription1996 (20th Session)
Area1.06 ha (2.6 acres)
Buffer zone19.16 ha (47.3 acres)
The historic region of Upper Svaneti in Georgia

Ushguli (Georgian: უშგული) is a community of five villages located at the head of the Enguri gorge in Svaneti, Georgia.[2] Ushguli is one of the highest continuously inhabited settlements in Europe.[3][4][5] Compared to somewhat more developed towns like Mestia, Ushguli is not in an accessible location, which has preserved many of the villages' medieval characteristics, including unique defensive tower houses called Svan towers.[6][7] Because of their preservation and traditional architecture, Ushguli, Mestia, and the surrounding area was recognized as the Upper Svaneti UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.[7]

Location and features


Ushguli is located at an altitude of 2,100 metres (6,900 ft) near the foot of Shkhara, one of the highest summits of the Greater Caucasus mountains. About 70 families (about 200 people) live in the area, enough to support a small school. The area is snow-covered for 6 months of the year, and often the road to Mestia is impassable.

The Lamaria church (named for the goddess Lamaria in Svaneti mythology) in Zhibiani is located on a hilltop dominating the village.[8] The chapel dates back to the 12th century and contains Georgian Golden Age-era frescoes.[8]

Svan towers in Ushguli

The most notable feature of the villages in Ushguli are the defensive tower houses found throughout the community. These houses are between 3-5 stories tall were built primarily between the 9th and 12th centuries.[7][8] Although many of the towers in the lower towns such as Mestia have fallen into disrepair, the isolation of Ushguli has preserved the towers. Chazhashi, one of the villages within the community, contains over 200 of these towers and has been preserved as a Museum-Reserve.[8]

The Mikhail Kalatozov silent film documentary Salt for Svanetia was filmed in Ushguli.

Constituent villages of Ushguli


 Zhibiani (Georgian: ჟიბიანი) some 2,100 metres (6,900 ft) above sea level;
 Chvibiani or Chubiani (Georgian: ჩვიბიანი);
 Chazhashi or Chajashi (Georgian: ჩაჟაში);
 Murqmeli (Georgian: მურყმელი);
 Lamjurishi (Georgian: ლამჯურიში).

See also



  1. ^ "Population Census 2014". www.geostat.ge. National Statistics Office of Georgia. November 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  2. ^ Svaneti and Its Inhabitants, Roland Topchishvili
  3. ^ 9 reasons to visit Georgia now, CNN, 17 May 2016
  4. ^ Village Ushguli, Georgia, National Geographic, Retrieved: 7 March 2016
  5. ^ Michael Spilling, Winnie Wong. Cultures of the World: Georgia. Marshall Cavendish: 2008, p. 10
  6. ^ Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, 9 reasons to visit Georgia now, CNN, 17 May 2016
  7. ^ a b c "Upper Svaneti". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  8. ^ a b c d World Heritage List: Upper Svaneti -- No 709 (ICOMOS Report) (Report). ICOMOS. 28 October 1993. Retrieved 26 March 2022.