Forgotten town - Georgia’s oldest cable cars in Chiatura
26 October, 2017
Forgotten town - Georgia’s oldest cable cars in Chiatura
BBC Travel has published a video about the cable cars of Chiatura, a city in the Imereti region of Western Georgia. According to BBC, the rusty cable cars haven’t been updated or replaced since they were built in the early 1950s, but the locals still use them daily. Everything there exists from the communist times and works to this day.

Traveling through this old cable rope way is quite risky, that is why BBC coins it as an “iron coffin”.
As for the city of Chiatura itself, sometimes it is referred to as the “ghost town” since has been forgotten and abandoned by many of its inhabitants.
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Chiatura is a home to the largest manganese reserve in the Caucasus Mountains. During Soviet times, the extraction of manganese ore was a huge business. When the regime collapsed in 1991, a steep economic decline ensued, harshly impacting the industry. As of 2016, there were just over 3,000 workers in Chiatura’s seven mines and eight quarries.

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The mining town of Chiatura, Georgia, surrounded by steep cliffs, is crossed by a network of aging Soviet-era aerial tramways that are still in use today. In the early 20th century, after the U.S.S.R. annexed Georgia, Soviet authorities were intent on extracting the vast manganese deposits beneath Chiatura.
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Due to the steep sided river valley, production workers spent a large amount of time walking up from the town to the mines, what caused reduction of the productivity.

In 1954 an extensive cable car system was installed to transport workers around the valley and up to the mines.
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Still utilizing the same infrastructure installed originally in the 1950s, today around 17 separate aerial lift cable car systems still exist around the town. Some of the most interesting lines are just outside the city.

The locals call the cable car system "rope road," that still connects almost every corner of the town.
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Today, the cars transport locals from their villages to the city center as well as factory workers and tourists. The rope road is quite popular among the tourists visiting Georgia’s Imereti Region.
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Related stories:

National Geographic on Georgia's mining town

Chiatura -The forgotten city of cable cars in Georgia

Foreign traveling couple’s journey in the Cable Car City of Georgia

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