Svaneti is Georgia’s remote northern province, a land of cultivated cornfields, small villages and ancient towers. The famous towers were built for defence against northern tribes and avalanches. Each Svan family usually had its own tower. They provided a safe retreat for everyone who climbed a rope stair, which could then be pulled up behind them. They also proved to be indispensable during heavy snowfalls. The oldest Svanetian towers date from the 9th century AD.