In Svan (The kartvelian language spoken in the region of Svaneti primarily by the Svan people), “Chazhashi” means “horse stall”. As the story goes, Queen Tamar, the glorious ruler of Georgia who lead the country to the height of Georgia’s Golden Age, used to ride her horse in this area.
The village is a UNESCO World Heritage site that includes 13 towers, 4 castle houses, 21 Machubis (residential homes next to the tower), 11 dwellings, and more than a dozen auxiliary buildings.
Among the villages of the Ushguli community, the most significant number of Svan towers are preserved in Chazhashi. Make sure to also visit the Ushguli archaeological museum.
One of the biggest attractions of the village is the 12th-13th century castle, standing on the mountain, south of the village. Two out of its three towers have been partially destroyed over time, while the third one stands stable and unaffected. The fortress used to be Queen Tamar’s winter residence.
In Chazhashi, you can also visit Queen Tamar’s summer tower, a residence that includes another tower and a church dating back to the 10th century, out of which only the church has survived.
The village also preserves the church of the Savior from the XI-XII centuries. Its exterior frescos facade is very special and characteristic for Svaneti.
Chazhashi village is located 45 kilometers from Mestia, in the Ushguli community of Svaneti. It lies on the southern slope of the main ridge of the Svaneti Caucasus, at the confluence of the Enguri and Shavtskala-Kvishari rivers, 2,160 meters above sea level.
An off-road vehicle is necessary to get to Chazhashi from Mestia. The road is tricky, and if the weather worsens, it’s almost impossible to pass through.