It takes about fifteen minutes to drive from Mestia to Latali by a motor
road. This was once a free community of people not subservient to any lord,
situated on the edge of Svaneti and thus always well fortified. The communities
on its lower approaches were held by princes Dadeshkeliani: Becho, Etseri,
Ipari, Chubekhevi, Ckhumari and Lakhamula communities. There have been built
many battle towers to protect the community from the lords; some of them are
still present. You can also see ancient fortifications left from the medieval
Host Families in Latali Community
(Click on the pictures below for a larger image)
There are about twenty five family churches in Latali; most of them ruined.
They are built predominantly away from the road, up in the mountains. The most
famous of them are - Matskhvari, Matskhovari/Our Savior/Church (village
Matskhvarishi), Taringzeli - the Archangel's Church (village Matskhvarishi),
Jgragi - Saint George's Church (village Lankvami) and Ieni (in village Iena).
The Matskhvari Church is built on heights, at the foot of which passes the
main road. The church was built in XI-XII centuries, while its bell tower
constructed on four pillars belongs to XVII - XVIII centuries.
The Matskhvari is Latali's main Church. In May the local people celebrate
the holiday of Pusd (Pusd-Khanilitvali), which means the birth of A Bull
The Matskhvari was painted in 1142 year by Miqael Maghlakelidze. Here
besides traditional subjects from the gospel you can see an interesting and
unique fresco, representing the enthronement of the king Demetre I, a son
of David Aghmashenebeli. Presently it is the only fresco preserving the
image of Demetre I, or, as he was named in his monkhood, the Reverend
Damiane, the author of the chant "Shen Khar Venakhi".
The Matskhvari Church
The Taringzeli Church