2020 was a huge challenge for the whole world. Those countries where tourism was one of the main components of the state economy felt especially acutely its consequences. Such a country, undoubtedly, is Georgia.
The country's government has imposed severe restrictions on foreign tourists to visit Georgia, thereby "bringing to its knees" the entire tourism business of the country. A huge number of Georgians, who were somehow connected with tourists, lost everything overnight. Left alone with their problems, in the form of huge loans and taxes, which there is nothing to pay with.
Georgia, frightened by the virus, closed its land borders much earlier than other countries, banned air traffic with all countries from which it received a constant flow of tourists. Of course, this had its advantages: there were practically no cases in the country for some time .. But was it worth it?
Even on the example of Abkhazia: it "worked out" part of the summer quite well and entered the autumn season with a large number of tourists. And no sharp jump in the number of cases occurred. The same is the situation with Turkey, which managed to bring at least some funds from tourism to the country's budget. Tourists are coming there now from all over the world, prices are much higher than last year, and nothing terrible happens with epidemiological situations. Sochi and Crimea also brought some income to their country. And to this day the Black Sea coast is "teeming" with vacationers.
And only a few dozen foreign tourists managed to get to Georgia for the whole summer. And autumn does not bode well.
But at the beginning of the summer, the government promised that the border closure would not be long, urged the tourism business "not to give up and prepare for the season." To begin with, the citizens of Israel will arrive, and a little later, all the rest. And people believed, with the last money they began to put the entire tourist infrastructure in order, took new loans. But no one came.
The opening of the borders was postponed, then until July, then until August, then even the approximate dates ceased to be called altogether. Not counting the "handouts" to tourism in the form of opening air links with 4 European countries, which in total, in a month, brought 30-40 tourists. And then, out of the blue, came the second wave of the epidemic.
There are only two states of a traveler: either he wants to visit Georgia, or he wants to visit Georgia again. Once an acquaintance told me, “As soon as I see cheap plane tickets, I buy right away, and then I’ll decide how to take time off from work and adjust other circumstances ...” And for good reason! As soon as you get to Georgia, the impression is that you have come to old friends who warmly and sincerely welcome you. And this genuine hospitality manifests itself in many things. By the way, at airports and major tourist centers, information points are organized where you can consult for free and take printed materials, maps with you to find out tourist routes, be as aware of how and where to relax! But this would not be enough if Georgia were not such a beautiful country. And this: the incomparable Caucasian mountains, rapid rivers and emerald lakes, alpine meadows, a warm gentle sea, medieval temples and fortresses, and a rich culture and history.
One of the most remote and inaccessible regions of Georgia is Svaneti or the Land of the Svans. But this region is also called one of the coolest in the Caucasus. For lovers of outdoor activities and hiking in the mountains, Svaneti is an ideal solution. The region, located in the north-west of Georgia, is divided into Upper (high-mountainous valley of the Inguri river) and Lower (valley of the Tskhenistskali river). The Svaneti ridge runs between them. Tourist and hiking trails are abundant here, travelers get all the exoticism of mountain tourism in a concentrated form.
It so happened that due to unfavorable weather conditions, the indigenous population of the region rarely descended from the mountains in winter. This happened more often in the summer. And thanks to this isolation, a unique culture has been preserved. The Svans have preserved their own language, but there is no written language. They are not similar in mentality to the lowland Georgians, they are much closer to the highlanders.
The village of Mestia is the administrative and tourist center of Svaneti. Most hiking trails in the mountains, waterfalls, glaciers and lakes start from this point.
If you are still in doubt, here are some facts to help you get ready for a hike.
Georgia is a country of extraordinary beauty. And above all, she is loved for the variety of natural attractions.
There are not only mountains, but ancient medieval temples, towers and fortresses, lakes, national parks, gorges, caves, waterfalls.
When you look at photos with descriptions of tourists who have visited these beauties, you want to immediately pack up and go to the mountains.
Svaneti alone occupies a worthy place on the tourist map of Georgia.
Let's talk about a wonderful place - Svaneti.
Svaneti occupies the northwestern region of Georgia. Its capital, Mestia, is located at an altitude of 1500 m above sea level. This is practically an isolated region, where the traditional way of life of local residents has been preserved, a truly place with a real Georgian character.
Svans are, in fact, Georgians, because it was Svanetia that became the beginning of the Georgian state. Christianity was adopted here as early as 530. In this region, they speak the old Georgian language, which has practically not changed for a long time, but contemporaries no longer understand it.
The local population has unusual facial features for Georgians. Lots of fair-haired people with blue eyes. Strangers are treated with caution here. The Svans are an Orthodox people with remnants of pagan traditions and the concept of “blood feud”.
Georgia is a country at the crossroads of the eastern and western worlds, and this has influenced its culture. Tourists strive to capture in photographs the beauty of the Caucasus Mountains, masterpieces of Georgian architecture and mouth-watering local dishes: khachapuri, khinkali, mchadi, lobio ...
In winter, guests prefer ski resorts (Gudauri), in autumn and spring, educational tourism is popular (Tbilisi, Mtskheta, Kutaisi), in summer - rest at a resort near the Black Sea (Batumi).
The first settlements on the territory of Georgia appeared in the 1st century. n. ... The country has always occupied an important strategic position between Europe and Asia, was part of the Silk Road. The heyday of Georgia falls on the XII century. - this is the time of the reign of Queen Tamara. Palaces were erected, roads were built. Because of the Mongols, the kingdom was divided into 18 regions, but in the 17th century. the territory was united by King Heraclius II.
In 1918, the Georgian Democratic Republic was created, and then the state became part of the USSR. In 1991 the independence of Georgia was restored.
Today there are 3.7 million people living in Georgia. In terms of territory, the country ranks 119th in the world - 69 thousand square meters. km. For Georgians, the family is in the first place, so its bonds are strong. Respect for elders is obligatory, it is not customary to argue with them. In the blood of the people of Georgia is the talent to receive guests. According to the Georgian proverb, "a guest is a messenger of God." Even in poems and folk songs, the generous and affable host is praised.
The largest city in Georgia is Tbilisi, home to 1.5 million people. Batumi is no less famous - a resort city on the Black Sea coast. He was nicknamed the Georgian Las Vegas.
Batumi has good beaches, modern infrastructure, skyscrapers and even its own airport. Popular tourist cities include Sighnaghi - the city of love, Mtskheta (the old capital of the country), Kutaisi, Gudauri (a ski resort).
Georgia is located in Eurasia - this is the western part of the Caucasus. Since the position of the country is ambiguous, it is still argued whether this is Eastern Europe or Western Asia. Coordinates of the country: 42 ° 00's. ., 43 ° 30'E. ...
There are several ways to get to Georgia from Russia:
The peak tourist season in Georgia is July-August, but these are hot months. The air temperature reaches +33 - +36, sometimes rising to +40. A more favorable time for travel is late spring and early autumn. The sweltering heat gives way to pleasant warmth. In winter, the flow of tourists is redirected to ski resorts.
Georgia is rightfully considered one of the most friendly and hospitable states of the Caucasus. Jokes and legends are made up about famous wines, generous feasts and longevity of Georgian old-timers. Recently, local ski resorts have become especially popular.
And if in Soviet times these were rather modest tourist centers and complexes, now in terms of quality of service and high-quality service, the country is in no way inferior to fashionable European ski resorts.
The most distinctive feature of the Caucasus climate is the rapid change in weather conditions. And if the weather deteriorates, then this is necessarily accompanied by heavy snowfalls, heavy rain and hail. The Caucasus Mountains (Lesser and Greater Caucasus) are distinguished by an alpine climate, colder and snowy. The drop in temperature depends on the altitude.
The heights of 3.5 thousand meters and above are characterized by the presence of glaciers. The average temperature in high mountain points is up to -18 C.
The highest mountain point in Georgia is Mount Shkhara. Its height is more than 5 thousand meters. The most rainy areas are the Mtirala Park and the Republic of Adjara. In total, up to 4.5 thousand mm of precipitation falls there per year. The south and east of Georgia - Kartli, Kakheti, Tbilisi, Shida Kartli are famous for strong winds. It is also windy in mountain valleys and canyons.
Summer in the mountains of Georgia is not famous for hot weather. The average temperature in July is up to +4 C. The Alpine climate provides sufficient conditions, in particular the amount of snow falling, for ski entertainment in the eastern and western Georgian regions.
Georgian ski resorts are versatile in that they are suitable for both experienced athletes and beginners. Combining trails is popular - the alternation of difficult and simple sections, which allows the skier to work out several options for descending on one trail.
There are special leisure options for extreme lovers:
Moreover, each type of extreme skiing is accompanied by a professional instructor and an equipped equipment station. Snow resorts in Georgia are open from November to mid-May. The peak time when the resorts are full of tourists is December and early March, when the highest amount of snow falls in the mountains.
The climate is famous for the mild temperatures for ski resorts - not less than -3 C, and at the same time there is a complete absence of winds and sunny weather. The country is protected from continental cyclones by the chain of the Caucasus Mountains. Ski trails in Georgia, as the athletes themselves say, are very wayward.
I will continue my story about the rest in Sochi with a description of the Krasnaya Polyana resort. Before my trip to Sochi, I could not imagine the difference between Krasnaya Polyana and Rosa Khutor