Svaneti, one of the most ancient and historical provinces of Georgia, is located on the southern slopes of the Caucasus mountain range. Surrounded by the gigantic, snow-capped peaks of the high Caucasus, Svaneti is one of the most remarkable and picturesque regions of Georgia, if not of the whole world. Aside from the stunning natural beauty, the region’s real treasure are people – the Svans. With their own language, related to but distinct from Georgian, their own ancient traditions and crafts, and their immense sense of honour, Svans have always been a proudly independent people. Reflecting their pride and independence, many Svans today still live in 25 metre high medieval stone towers, of which thousands survive. These towers, some with foundations dating back a millennium, were used to protect families in time of war, and it is said that some still house ancient treasures, brought up to Svaneti hundreds of years ago to protect them from invaders. Indeed, Svaneti’s museums boast world class collections of icons, religious manuscripts and gold and silver jewellery. Summer in Svaneti is short and mild and the winter is very strict and long.