Svaneti is a mountaineous region in northern Georgia, located in the Greater Caucasus range and bordering with Russia. It has an area of 5800 km² and a population of 23000 inhabitants. The region consists of valleys at 1000-3000m of altitude, separated by mountain ranges up to over 5000m high. Four of the ten highest peaks in the Causasus are located here, including Mt Shkhara (5201m), the highest mountain of Georgia. Svaneti is accessible via a paved road from Zugdidi or by plane (Vanilla Sky) from either Kutaisi or Tbilisi. The Svanetian towers are present in most towns. These are defensive towers built between the 9th and 13th centuries, 30-50m tall, characteristic for this region. The Upper Svaneti region has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1996.
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