World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Svaneti

Svaneti
სვანეთი
Historical Region

The historic region of Svaneti in Georgia
Country  Georgia
Mkhare Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti
Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti
Capital Mestia, Lentekhi
Area
 • Total 4,389 km2 (1,695 sq mi)
Population
 • Total 23,000
 • Density 5.2/km2 (14/sq mi)
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Upper Svaneti
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Cultural
Criteria iv, v
Reference 709
UNESCO region Europe
Inscription history
Inscription 1996 (20th Session)

Svaneti or Svanetia (Suania in ancient sources) (Georgians.

Contents

  • Geography 1
    • Landscape 1.1
    • Climate 1.2
  • History 2
  • Population 3
  • Culture and tourism 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Geography

Surrounded by 3,000–5,000 meter peaks, Svaneti is the highest inhabited area in the Shkhara at 5,201 meters (17,059 feet), is located in the province. Prominent peaks include Tetnuldi (4,974 m / 16,319 ft), Shota Rustaveli (4,960 m / 16,273 ft), Mount Ushba (4,710 m / 15,453 ft), Ailama (4,525 m / 14,842 ft), as well as Lalveri, Latsga and others.

Situated on the southern slopes of the central Abkhazia, and part of the adjacent river valleys of Kuban and Baksan of Russia.

Landscape

View of the Caucasus Mountains in Svaneti.

The landscape of Svaneti is dominated by mountains that are separated by deep gorges. Most of the region which lies below 1,800 meters (5,904 ft) above sea level is covered by mixed and Inguri Gorge and can be seen from many parts of the region.

Climate

The climate of Svaneti is humid and is influenced by the air masses coming in from the Black Sea throughout the year. Average temperatures and precipitation vary considerably with elevation. Annual precipitation ranges between 1000 and 3200 mm (39 and 126 inches). The highest amount of precipitation falls on the Greater Caucasus Mountains. The region is characterized by very heavy snowfall in the winter and avalanches are a frequent occurrence. Snow cover may reach 5 meters (16.4 feet) in some areas. In general, the lowest regions of Svaneti (800–1200 meters / 2624–3936 feet above sea level) are characterized by long, warm summers and relatively cold and snowy winters. Middle altitudes (1200–1800 meters above sea level) experience relatively warm summers and cold winters. Areas above 2000 meters above sea level lie within a zone that experiences short, cool summers (less than 3 months) and long and cold winters. Large parts of Svaneti lie above 3000 meters (9840 feet) above sea level, a zone which does not have a real summer. Due to Svaneti's close proximity to the Black Sea, the region is spared from the extremely cold winter temperatures that are characteristic of high mountains.

History

A typical Svanetian tower
An 11th-century fresco of the Svan nobleman Mikael Chagiani from Adishi.

The Svans are usually identified with the Soanes mentioned by Tamar (r. 1184-1213), who was respected almost as goddess by the Svanetians. The legend has it that the duchy was annually visited by Tamar. The Svans had been known as fierce warriors for centuries. Their inflatable war banner was named Lemi (Lion) because of its shape.

The marauding principality under the Princes Dadeshkeliani, a branch of the Gelovani family, while Lower Svanetia, originally ruled by the Princes Gelovani, was temporarily usurped and subdued by the Mingrelian princes Dadiani. Facing serious internal conflict, Prince Tsioq’ Dadeshkeliani of Svanetia signed a treaty of protectorate with the Russian Empire on November 26, 1833. Difficult to access, the region retained significant autonomy until 1857, when Russia took advantage of the dynastic feud in Svanetia and effectively abolished the principality’s autonomy. In 1875, the Russians toughened their rule by imposing additional taxes. Protests ensued, and Russia deployed troops against the province. Despite having suffered heavy losses, the Russian army units eventually crushed the rebels burning their stronghold Khalde to the ground in 1876.

Part of the Russian governorate of Kutais, Svanetia was divided into two raions (districts) — Mestia (former Sethi) and Lentekhi — under the Soviet rule. The unsuccessful anti-Soviet Svanetian Uprising took place in the region in 1921.

Mestia, c. 1890s

In 1987, floods and landslides as of April 2005 ([4]) have brought about a strong tendency towards migration. The province became a safe haven for criminals threatening local residents and tourists. Large-scale anti-criminal operations carried out by the Georgian Special Forces as of March 2004 ([5]) resulted in significant improvement of the situation.

Population

The historic region of Lower Svaneti in Georgia.

The Svans, the indigenous population of Svanetia, are ethnic subgroup of the patron saint of Georgia, is the most respected saint. The Svans have retained many of their old traditions, including blood revenge. Their families are small, and the husband is the head of his family. The Svan really respect the older women in families.

Typically bilingual, they use both Mingrelian, and Laz languages constitute the South Caucasian or Kartvelian language family. The Svan language is endangered and is being largely replaced by Georgian.

Culture and tourism

Svanetia is known for their architectural treasures and picturesque landscapes. The botany of Svanetia is legendary among travelers. The famous Svanetian towers erected mainly in the 9th-12th centuries, make the region’s villages more attractive. In the province are dozens of Georgian orthodox churches and various fortified buildings. Architectural monuments of Upper Svanetia are included in a list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Svan culture survives most wonderfully in its songs and dances. Svanetia boasts the most complex form of Georgian polyphonic singing, traditional to Georgian vocal music.

See also

References

  1. ^ Trier, Tom & Turashvili, Medea (2007): Resettlement of Ecologically Displaced Persons - Solution of a Problem or Creation of a New? Eco-Migration in Georgia 1981–2006. ECMI Monograph #6. [6]

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.