These pictures will make you want to go to Georgia

The majestic peaks of Georgia are surrounded by blissful silence. EDGAR hiked its hills and met the locals who told their legends.

Olga Petroff October 3, 2016

Young lovers

Legend says that the two peaks Ushba and Tetnuldi are united by a tragic love story. Locals believe that Ushba and Tetnuldi were two youngsters who fell in love against the wishes of their clan.

A heartbroken Tetnuldi made a wish that she would turn into a mountain. Ushba followed suit and the lovers now face each other in a sad tableau of unrequited love. A beautiful mountain with a fearsome reputation that is loved by the locals, the double-peaked 4,710m Ushba translates from the Svan language as ‘terrible mountains’ and has claimed the lives of many climbers.

Peak performance 

An orange glow creeps up the 12th century stone towers of Mestia early in the morning, before sunrise. Sitting at 1,500m above sea level,Mestia is the main city in the Upper Svaneti region, around 450km north-west from Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. Mestia is surrounded by some of the most beautiful peaks in Caucasus Mountains. 

Living the high life

At the end of a bumpy road only accessible by a 4x4 vehicle sits Ushguli, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its beautiful towers, some of which date to the 8th century, nestle into the base of Mount Shkhara, Georgia’s highest peak at 5,193m.

Ushguli is the highest permanently inhabited settlement in Europe at 2,410m and villagers are often completely cut off by heavy snow. We came across three men on horseback holding rifles on their morning quail shoot. The restaurant is run by an old lady who knew only one English word: soup. A hearty vegetable broth topped with fresh parsley was served for breakfast – the ideal fuel for an 8km walk to the Shkhara glacier.

Red alert

The gem of Kazbegi National Park is the dormant volcano Mount Kazbek, which looms large at 5,033m. The third tallest peak in Georgia, it sits right on the Russian border and turns menacingly red at dawn. Also inside the magnificent national park is the smaller Chiukhi Massif at 3,650m, seen here from the Zeta Campsite, near the village of Juta.