Ushguli is a village community located in the Upper Svaneti region in the north of Georgia. Since its attainment of UNESCO World Heritage status in 1996 and the establishment of secure state structures and systems around 2010, Ushguli has been seeing an incremental rise in tourism; thus far, it has found itself relatively unprepared for meeting the interests and needs of visitors and for coping with the diversity characterising modern lifestyles. The encounter and in many instances clash of interests between villagers and tourists, occurring in a context in which the economic objectives of the former group are encouraging continuously growing visitor numbers, is correspondingly difficult to channel and manage. It especially includes the particularly crucial task of recording the current state of the physical objects that shape this world, which year on year is suffering perceptible disrepair and experiencing transmutation.Towers, mountains, sickles and hammers – different perspectives on the question of what is part of the cultural heritage of a community. weiterlesen
In an essay on Ushguli’s constituent villages, the Italian architect Vinzenzo Pavan (2011) points to the similarities, which at first glance might appear confusing, between these ensembles and the architectural structure of thirteenth-century Italian city states, each with their groups of towers and neighbouring stone buildings whose arrangement in the space does not, at first glance, appear to follow an evident logic; they seem to have been cast into compact units of settlement, each sharply boundaried from their surroundings, appearing like fortresses with their solid slate slabs and limestone bricks.Ushguli’s World Heritage in danger (Ushguli, village of Chazhashi, Georgia) weiterlesen
Ushguli’s value as a tourist destination lies in its defensive tower houses (see Pavan 2011) and the remarkable degree of the original medieval appearance of its landscape (see ICOMOS 1994, UNESCO 1996), which have held UNESCO World Heritage status since 1996, and in its proximity to the foot of Shkara, the second highest peak in Greater Caucasus and Georgia’s highest mountain, located twelve kilometres north of the community, in the extended Enguri gorge.
Hikers, mountaineers and skiers from outside Georgia have been coming to Ushguli since Soviet times, with particularly large numbers visiting in the 1970s (for an overview on tourism in Svanetia during Sowjet times, see Stadelbauer 1983, Cappucci, Pavliashvili & Zarilli 2015, Karthisvili, Muhar, Dax & Khelashvili 2019); the villagers thus possess fundamental levels of experience in tourism and the associated practices, including mountain and horse-trekking guiding and the provision of accommodation and meals (cf. Applis 2018).Ushguli | Tourism | An overview weiterlesen