Foreign traveling couple’s journey in the Cable Car City of Georgia
03 April, 2017
Foreign traveling couple’s journey in the Cable Car City of Georgia
A couple of hitchhikers from Belgium and Canada who enjoy traveling and exploring new places across the world have paid visit to Georgia’s Cable Car City of Chiatura, located in Imereti region. On their website called Journal of Nomads the pair shares their adventure in the so called “ghost city” of western Georgia.

As the travel enthusiasts Cynthia and Niko report, they discovered the city form a Belgian travel documentary. After doing some research the couple first decided
to travel to Katskhi Pillar, one of the most incredible cliff churches in the world, as they say, but then they decided to explore the old mining town that is quite close to the pillar as well.

“After visiting the spectacular Katskhi Pillar we drove along a windy road into Chiatura. The town is nestled between steep valleys and deep gorges and was founded in the late 1800s as a mining colony. It became a popular source for manganese and iron and was a booming center during the Soviet era. It was in this town that the Stalinist government installed in 1954 the first Soviet cable road; a “rope road” of cable cars that connected every corner of the town in the valley with the mines on top of the steep cliffs. This helped the miners get easily and quickly to their work instead of climbing the hills, which was a treacherous and time-consuming route.After the end of the Cold War the work in the old mines started drying up and many inhabitants left Chiatura in search of work elsewhere. The population decreased tremendously, many houses got abandoned”, - The blog reads.
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“While searching for the station, it was nice to explore this town. Although we really felt the ghost of a distant Soviet past, it was a strangely charming place. The sun was shining, many people were walking along the banks of the Kvirilariver and it felt like time had stopped. Even if we wouldn’t find the old cable cars, we were still happy to have discovered this odd little city.After wandering around for about an hour, we eventually found the cable car station. It looked old and degraded but at the same time so beautiful and fascinating! There were two cable roads, one with blue cabins, the other with rusty brown ones, both going to different cliff tops”, - The bloggers report.

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Even though they were amazed by the old cable cars ,they still were slightly terrified.

“Walking into this station was like walking back into the past. The only difference was that the cabins had aged and the cable road wasn’t exactly safe anymore. They run without a braking system and if one of the old rusty cables snaps, the cabin will roll straight back down the track at high speed and with deathly consequences.Despite the danger, the locals who live on top of the hills and the few people who still work in the mines use these rusty old flying cabins as a form of free public transportation to travel daily up and down the valley. It’s the only way for them as there are no other roads to reach their work or homes.The cabin lifted us silently towards the cliff tops. We felt pretty safe inside this metal box. The inside looked as worn out as the outside but it had a certain charm. An old phone was hanging in one of the corners and the operator who had joined us for the ride, saw Niko’s curious looks. With a smile on her face she handed the phone to him and against our expectations, Niko could hear a dialing tone. The phone was like the cable car, looking rusty and old but still functioning very well.The cabin also had big windows that fully opened. We stuck our heads out and enjoyed the beautiful view over the city while dangling meters high above the ground”, - The story reads.
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“The view at the station on top of the cliff was spectacular! We could see all of Chiatura far below us. The station building looked as degraded as the one in town, with cracked walls and peeling paint, and oh so beautiful in the golden light of the sunset!We spent about half an hour walking around the hill top, passing by large and mostly abandoned apartment blocks and enjoying the beautiful view over the city. There was definitely a special vibe and I felt so grateful to be there. I don’t mind visiting stunning-looking touristic attractions but what I love the most, is learning from places that, although not spectacular-looking, will give me an authentic (cultural) experience and take my breath away.The view over Chiatura was amazing! The sun was about to set behind the hills and the town underneath us was bathing in a golden light”, - Author reports.
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The travellers expressed their hope that Chiatura can keep its name and fame of being the “Cable Car City”.

“If these cable cars would ever stop operating, it wouldn’t only disconnect the people that live on top of the hills from the town. Chiatura is too charming and beautiful to become a real ghost town. It would be sad to see those cable cars going, together with the uniqueness of this place”, - The story reads.

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Read full story at Journal of Nomads

Related story:

Chiatura -The forgotten city of cable cars in Georgia
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