Mestia is a highland townlet in northwest Georgia, at an elevation of 1.500 meters in the Caucasus Mountains.
According to the current administrative subdivision of Georgia, Mestia is located in the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region some 128 km northeast of the regional capital of Zugdidi. Mestia and the adjoining 132 villages form Mestia District. Its area is 3,044 km²; population – 14,248 (2,600 in the town itself; 2002 Georgia census). The population is mostly Svans, a cultural and linguistic subgroup of the Georgians.
Historically and ethnographically, Mestia has always been regarded a chief community of Zemo, or Upper Svaneti province. It was formerly known as Seti. Despite its small size, the townlet was an important
photo: Vakho Naveriani
centre of Georgian culture for centuries and contains a number of medieval monuments - churches and forts - included in a list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In 1968, it was granted a status of a townlet
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.