Svan: შვანარ shvanar
Georgian: სვანი svani
Kartvelian languages.svg
Distribution of the Svan language in relation to other Kartvelian (South Caucasian) languages.
Total population
c. 14,000[1]–30,000[2]
Regions with significant populations
 Russia45 (2010)[3]
Svan, Georgian
Predominantly Eastern Orthodox Christianity
(Georgian Orthodox Church)

The Svans (Georgian: სვანი, Svani) are an ethnic subgroup of the Georgians (Kartvelians)[4][5][6][7][8][9][10] living mostly in Svaneti, a region in northwest Georgia. They speak the Svan language and are mostly bilingual also in Georgian. Both these languages belong to the Kartvelian (South Caucasian) language family. In the pre-1930 Soviet census, the Svans were afforded their own "ethnic group" (natsional'nost) category.[11] The self-designation of the Svan is Mushüan, which is probably reflected in the ethnonym Misimian of the Classical authors.[12]


Svan with dagger and long smoking pipe. Mestia (~1888–1900)
Part of a series on
Ancient Kartvelian people
History of Georgia

The Svans are usually identified with the Sanni mentioned by Greek geographer Strabo, who placed them more or less in the area still occupied by the modern-day Svans.

In the Russian Empire and early Soviet Union Mingrelians and Svans had their own census grouping, but were classified under the broader category of Georgian in the 1930s. They are Georgian Orthodox Christians, and were Christianized in the 4th–6th centuries. However, some remnants of pre-Christian beliefs have been maintained. Saint George (known as Jgëræg to the locals), a patron saint of Georgia, is the most respected saint. The Svans have retained many of their old traditions, including blood revenge, although this tradition has been declining over time and as law enforcement takes hold. Their families are small, and the husband is the head of his family. The Svan strongly respect the older women in families.

Other Languages
Адыгэбзэ: Сонэхэр
aragonés: Esvans
azərbaycanca: Svanlar
български: Свани
Чӑвашла: Свансем
čeština: Svanové
eesti: Svanid
español: Esvanos
français: Svanes
한국어: 스반
հայերեն: Սվաններ
hrvatski: Svani
italiano: Svani
עברית: סוואנים
ქართული: სვანები
lietuvių: Svanai
მარგალური: შონეფი
Nederlands: Svaneten
norsk: Svanere
polski: Swanowie
русский: Сваны
српски / srpski: Свани
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Svani
suomi: Svanit
svenska: Svaner
Türkçe: Svanlar
українська: Свани