Chiatura in Georgia Lives Under the Shadow of Stalin’s Rope Road


Chiatura, a city in Western Georgia, is best known for the booming mining business from 1879, when it was first discovered that its grounds were full of manganese oxide, until the end of the Soviet times. By 1989 Chiatura had a population of 30,000, most of which were working in the mining business. In 1954 Stalin ordered the construction of an aerial car network that would make the worker’s transportation way easier and faster up the mines. Today, these cable cars are still hanging on their ropes.

During Soviet times, 60% of the world amount of manganese ore was drawn from Chiatura’s mines.


The mines employed 4,000 workers and had them working for 18 hours a day with very small breaks.


The earliest cable cars were built in 1954 and most of them are now out of use with only a few still operating.


Back in time, 17 individual ropeways were in use transfering workers to the mines and it is said that all of them will be retired by the end of 2017.


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