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 Samegrelo: Images

The province of Samegrelo – Upper Svaneti stretches from Georgia’s most important port town of Poti up to the "Roof of Europe," Ushguli, at an altitude of 2,200 metres above sea level, in the Great Caucasus Range. Poti is known from ancient scriptures as being the important trading center on the Silk Road of "Phasis." Directly behind Poti, on Lake Paliastomi, begins the birdwatcher's paradise of the Kolcheti National Park. The common pheasant, found across Europe and North America, is indigenous to the region. It originates from the Caucasian Phasianus Colchicus, named after the Phasis River — today’s Rionis River. Dating back to the 17th century, the regional centre Sugdidi was residency to Megrelian princes. At the outset of the 19th century, the Dadianis constructed a magnificent garden around its palace, which Princess Ekaterina Chavchavadze further expanded upon. To the North, towards the Great Caucasus Range, the Svanetian villages, with their medieval towers, are nested within this stunning environment and offer unique destination for adventure travelers. Ushguli, 1994 declared as UNSECO World's Cultural Heritage, displays breathtaking views of the twin peaks of Mt. Ushba and Mt. Shkhara (5,201m), the highest summit in Georgia and the source of the Enguri River.