The Svans (Georgian: სვანი, Svani) are an ethnic subgroup of the Georgians (Kartvelians) 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. The self-designation of the Svan is Mushüan, which is probably reflected in the ethnonym Misimian of the Classical authors.
Distribution of the Svan language in relation to other Kartvelian (South Caucasian) languages.
|Regions with significant populations|
|Predominantly † Eastern Orthodox Christianity|
(Georgian Orthodox Church)
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.
According to Y-DNA haplogroups, Svan people are almost entirely made up of DNA from one unique haplogroup F* (Y-DNA) known as haplogroup F[xI,G,J2,K], found in the Abazin (29%), Chechen (32%) and Dargin (27%) populations with the remaining 8% of their DNA being part of haplogroup G-M201. 
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- Stephen F. Jones. Svans. World Culture Encyclopedia. Retrieved on March 13, 2011: «The Svans are one of the dozen or so traditionally recognized ethnic subgroups within the Georgian (Kartvelian) nation.»
- The Svans Kevin Tuite Université de Montréal 1992: «The Svans are one of the dozen or so traditionally recognized ethnic subgroups within the Georgian (Kartvelian) nation.»
- Britannica. Caucasian peoples: «The Caucasian peoples ... The southerners, comprising the Georgians, the closely related Mingrelians and Laz, and the Svan, make up the Republic of Georgia and live in western Transcaucasia (the Laz live in Turkish territory).»
- R. Wixman. The Peoples of the USSR: An Ethnographic Handbook (p.181): «Svan ... The Svanetians are one of the Kartvelian peoples of the Georgian SSR»
- Levinson, David. Ethnic Groups Worldwide: A Ready Reference Handbook. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1998. p 35
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- History of Georgian Mountein Regions / R. Topchishvili. Available at The National Parliamentary Library of Georgia
- Nasizde 2004a
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