Mestia is a highland townlet in northwest Georgia, at an elevation of 1,500 metres (4,921 feet) in the Caucasus Mountains.
According to the current administrative subdivision of Georgia, Mestia is located in the Svaneti region of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti province (mkhare), some 128 kilometres (80 miles) northeast of the regional capital of Zugdidi. Mestia and the adjoining 132 villages form Mestia District (raioni). Its area is 30,444 square kilometres (11,754 sq mi) and its population is 14,248 (2,600 in the town itself), according to the 2002 Georgia census. It was granted the status of a townlet (Georgian: daba) in 1968.
Historically and ethnographically, Mestia has always been regarded a chief community of Zemo, or Upper Svaneti province. It was formerly known as Seti (სეთი). The population is mostly Svans, a cultural and linguistic subgroup of the Georgians. Despite its small size, the townlet was an important centre of Georgian culture for centuries and contains a number of medieval monuments, such as churches and forts, included in a list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Mestia is served by the Queen Tamar Airport, which is operated by the state-owned company United Airports Georgia, since 2010.
From the center of Mestia it is possible to hike up to the glaciers at the foot of mount Ushba, or take horses into the pristine alpine meadows. New ski resorts Hatsvali and Tetnuldi attract the attention of winter sports lovers who are looking for the new places and challenges.
Tourists interested in religious history will find plenty of examples of wall paintings, frescoes and icons from the Middle Ages in the churches around Mestia. Within Mestia, the Church of Saint George contains well-preserved crosses and icons from the XII century. Additionally, Pusdi Church still contains fragments of XIII century wall paintings.