Khaishi is a grouping of more than twenty villages located on the slopes of the massive mountains and imposing cliffs between Zugdidi and Mestia. It’s impossible to miss if you’re heading to Mestia.
Getting to this far-flung corner of the country can be a bit of an epic trek, with a 380 kilometer drive from Tbilisi involved. Thankfully, you can also fly to Tamar Mepe Airport in Mestia from the Natakhtari Airport near Mtskheta, a half hour drive from Tbilisi. A drive from Mestia is much shorter!
Khaisi is most famous for its many ancient fortresses, which served both religious and defensive purposes in their time. There is also the medieval Archangel Church, an impressive example of religious architecture.
Of course, Svaneti is also famous for its startling beauty, and that is on clear display in Khaishi’s river valleys, through which one of Georgia’s most powerful rivers, the Enguri, flows. This river becomes especially impressive when it joins with the Khaishura River, creating streaks of brilliant blue through the emerald green of the mountains and hills.
Svan cuisine is famous across Georgia, and you would be remiss in not sampling local delicacies like meat pie kubdari, cornbread with cheese chvishtari, letsvmari, knashi, lugimbashi, and others while you’re in the area.