Laghami Church of Mestia
Svaneti Region, Georgia
Mestia, the largest town in the upper Svaneti region, is mainly known as a place for day hikes and a base for further treks. However, further inside the town lies on of the oldest churches on the southern slopes of the Caucasus - the Laghami Church. Tucked away in the tiny stone village of Leghami less than 2 km from the center of Mestia, this church, also known as the Cathedral of Transfiguration. blends into the village at first appearance. First constructed in the 9th century A.D., with the second layer built a few hundred years later, the church symbolized the importance and spread of Christianity during the Byzantine period, even in the remote areas such as here.
The frescoes found on the exterior and interior of Laghami Church are what really sets it apart from other similar churches in Svaneti. Most notable is the painting of Adam and Eve on the northern exterior. This small church is one of the treasures of the Svaneti culture, but remains seldom visited. The church interior is often locked, but exploring the surroundings and taking a look in the second floor makes a worthwhile detour while in Mestia.
2 km northeast of Mestia in the far northern Svaneti region of Georgia.
First constructed in the 9th century A.D., with later additions in the 11th to 12 centuries.
A place of worship for Christians. It is significant as it shows the spread of Christianity all the way to remote mountain valleys.
It still lies in the village of Laghami near Mestia. Laghami remains the best preserved medieval village in Mestia, and a nice walk through local streets.
The town of Mestia surprised us in how modern and touristic it has become. Walking just 20 minutes outside of the center surprised us in how little the surroundings have likely changed. Laghami, the furthest village northeast, was reached by a pleasant walk trhough a gravel road. Arriving in the village, we almost passed the church as it blended well with the surrounding structures. Venturing inside, we found it to be completelt empty, with the main hall locked. We still enjoyed the peaceful grounds and the frescoes still visible outside. I think visiting the Laghami Church a great way to spend an afternoon in Mestia.