The Svaneti Museum of History & Ethnography is one of the largest treasuries of Georgian history in the country, and has its home in the tourist destination of Mestia. Founded in 1936 using the antiquities from the Seti Saint George Church as the basis for its collection, and is now considered one of the most interesting museums in the world.
The museum is home to collections dedicated to archaeology, numismatics (coins), art, manuscripts, and culture.
Your journey into the past starts in the Shota Chartolani Archaeological Hall, where ancient coins are displayed, ranging from the “Colchian Tetri” minted in the 5th century BCE to foreign coins from the 20th century.
The next exhibit is the Christian treasury, including manuscripts in valuable bindings that were written in scriptoria in Jerusalem and Tao-Klarjeti, gospels, Georgian translations of the early Byzantine hymnographic repertoire, and the Lahili Gospel, copied in Jerusalem. There are also books printed in the 18th and 19th centuries there, along with the earliest extant copy of the Adishi Gospel, the Tviberi gospel, painted icons made by Svan artisans in the workshops of the Latili, Pari, Svipi, and Ipari Communities, and metalwork crosses.
The next hall is a sacred space where liturgical objects donated by kings and private individuals are presented.
The exhibition ends with an exhibit representing ethnographic materials about daily lives of Svaneti's people.