Gona village in Racha – Unknown “Switzerland” in Georgia
30 June, 2016
Gona village in Racha – Unknown “Switzerland” in Georgia
The beautiful village Gona that can also be called the ‘Little Switzerland’, is located in Oni municipality of Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti region of Georgia.

Gona represents the main district of bigger Gebi village, but is located higher, on the southern slopes of Great Caucasus mountains, on the banks of the river Chveshuri (right tributary of Rioni), at an elevation of 1680 meters above sea level and is surrounded by snowy peaks. The distance to the municipal center is 39
kilometers (25 miles).
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According to the 2002 census, only 2 people live permanently in Gona. After the village was emptied out several years ago, it has been mainly used as summer residence as well as for pastures.
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Before reaching Gona, you have to first pass through Shobeti, Velebi, Chvesho, Lobzhanidze’s shrine. On the way, the climate is gradually changing. Gona is located on one side of the river Chveshura and several old wooden houses stand quite far apart from each other.

There is a medieval architectural monument here – a hall-type church, decorated with well-trimmed stones from inside as well as outside. This church stands out for its special architectural style. The interior is fully covered with cylindrical roof. The church is restored at the close of the 19th century.
Behind this house in 100 meters there is a border between Georgia and Russia.
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The reason why almost no one lives there is that there is neither good road, nor electricity in the village. In addition, there is poor telephone connectivity; so that once you go there you are completely isolated form the rest of the world. In summer it is inhabited nearly by two or three families,that bring their cattle into a pasture to graze.

Unfortunately, the village is not as frequently visited by tourists as other places in Georgia, since very few know about this remote paradise. As author of the photos Giorgi Nikolava says, the house depicted in the image used to be a home to geologists who carried out expeditions. Also, according to the photographer, the area boasts natural and crystal clear carbonated water, which is very cold and good for health. As for the old black and white photo, it was shot 40 years ago and it belongs to Nikolava’s family.

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Photo credit: Giorgi Nikolava

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