[ July, 2018 ] At last, we arrived in Ushguli, where I had wanted to visit the most on our holiday in Georgia.
The altitude is between 2,000 and 2,200 metres and they say that this is the highest village in Europe where people live permanently.
Apparently, there are 37 towers and 70 families living here.
This place is listed in the Unesco World Heritage.
This view with the towers scattered on the gentle slope is the one I had wanted to see for a long time.
Unfortunately, the weather was not great but it was still really beautiful as I had expected and we took many photos.
What I heard is that from here, when the weather is nice, you can see Shkhara Mountain (5,068m), the highest in Georgia, but unfortunately we could not see it.
We used the toilet in a village restaurant and ordered a meal for lunch, then we started walking in the village towards Lamaria Church, which was located at the highest point in the village.
The stone houses in the village looked very old, but the towers were older, built in the 12th century.
We saw quite a few people riding horses here, which we did not see at any other places in Georgia.
Lamaria Church was closed when we arrived, but Ana, our guide, went to negotiate with someone and had it opened.
The inside of this church, too, was full of frescoes.
This church was built in the 10th century.
Ana told us a story at the outside wall of this church.
This area in the Svaneti region has never been controlled by anyone though it has been a part of Georgia.
But one time, a strong man who was very good at fighting tried to be a ruler.
The village people got together and first they invited him and treated him well with a lot of wine.
When he got drunk, they shot him to death through a small hole of this wall.
The villagers here seemed very strict about the rules and they seem to have a cruel character.
Another story we heard was not a legend.
Fairly recently, one boy was killed.
A long time ago, his family made a mistake that badly affected another family.
Ana did not tell us what mistake they made exactly, but the family who suffered from the mistake never forgot or forgave the other family.
So they killed this boy for revenge when everyone had forgotten what had happened originally.
It is the way here, to not punish the person himself who caused the trouble, but to punish his family.
That reminded me of the Italian Mafia straight away.
They may have some resemblance to each other.
Talking about Italy, on the way here in the car, the local driver asked us through Ana “One time I gave a ride to some Russian tourists and they said that there is a place similar to Ushguli in Italy. Is that true?”.
Both the driver and Ana looked doubtful.
My husband searched and found some photos of San Gimignano on the mobile phone and showed them.
They were so surprised.
Looking back, we came here to see the view, which I had heard looks like San Gimignano, in Georgia.
The lunch we had in the village restaurant was a kind of Khachapuri.
This one had some meat instead of cheese inside.
The meat tasted like a spicy sausage with a lot of herbs.
Apparently, this is the speciality here.
We tried the wine they make in this restaurant and that was a very young wine.
I could have stayed in this village longer, but it was the time to go after lunch.
On the way back, the driver stopped by the small hill so that we could see the wonderful view from the hill.
The sun came out a bit and the green of the ground was very bright.
It was so beautiful that I would like to keep it in my eyes for the rest of my life.