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According to the current administrative subdivision of Georgia, Mestia is located in the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region (mkhare), some 128 kilometres (80 miles) northeast of the regional capital of Zugdidi. Mestia and the adjoining 132 villages form Mestia District (raioni). Its area is 30,444 square kilometres (11,754 sq mi) ; and its population is 14,248 (2,600 in the town itself), according to the 2002 Georgia census. It was granted the status of a townlet (Georgian: daba) in 1968.
Historically and ethnographically, Mestia has always been regarded a chief community of Zemo, or Upper Svaneti province. It was formerly known as Seti (სეთი). The population is mostly Svans, a cultural and linguistic subgroup of the Georgians. Despite its small size, the townlet was an important centre of Georgian culture for centuries and contains a number of medieval monuments, such as churches and forts, included in a list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Architecture and attractions
The townlet is dominated by stone defensive towers of a type seen in Ushguli ("Svan towers"). A typical Svan fortified dwelling consisted of a tower, an adjacent house (machub) and some other household structures encircled by a defensive wall.
Unique icons and manuscripts are kept in Mestia Historical-Ethnographic Museum. Mestia is also a center of mountaineer tourism and alpinism.
Born in Mestia
- Mikheil Khergiani (1932–1969), a mountain climber
- Subdivisions of Georgia
- List of World Heritage Sites in Asia and Australasia
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- (German) Frescos and icons from Svaneti
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