World Capital of Cable Cars
While wondering in Georgia, we came across the city which you will never find in tour guides, but which is definitely a destination to experience at least once in a lifetime. No doubt, you should fully charge your photo camera beforehand, as you are going to have exotic, original and cinematic photos during this trip.
Chiatura- capital of cable cars, is a small city in Georgia, in Imeretian region. The area is not popular among tourists. Instead, there is a mining settlement in the area and a lot of manganese mines around the city. Once one of the largest manganese deposits in the USSR, now this town of 20-30 thousands residents remains the only one in its kind in Georgia.
Photo by Marco Fieber
Time has stopped in this area and you can only imagine what dynamic lifestyle was once in this industrial town. Currently there are 17 working cable cars in the city and they say this is the only city in the world with such concentration of this kind of transport for so few residents. Well… even if it is not fully true, still you feel a little strange here and it seems like you are in a parallel reality. Cable car roads seem not to be repaired for a long time and one feels not very safe while using them. Nevertheless, the calmness and authenticity of local people immediately makes you change your mind. Local people are using those cable cars everyday as it is the main type of public transport in the city that works. The cabins are really surrealistic both from outside and inside. Though they are not repaired, but some of them have advertisement on them and some of them were painted recently… in pink color. Maybe to cheer up that unusual atmosphere in the city, though it made the atmosphere even more weird and even more attractive for visitors who want to try something different than usual touristic spots.
The operators of those cable cars are mainly people aged 40+. Usually operators wait to have 3-4 passengers at both stations so that they launch the cars manually. But as Chitaura is no longer living with industrial rhythm and not so many people are rushing in the city, sometimes the cable cars are going empty. The fee for this transport is 20 tetris (0.1 cents) and yes, don’t be surprised. There are some areas, shops, buildings that seem to be abandoned, but only some of them are abandoned, the other part is just waiting for the better days to come and still continues to operate.
Among all the cable car roads, the #25 in Chiatura was the first one in the USSR. It has been working without interruption since its launch in 1954. If local authorities find funding, the cabins will be replaced in 2014. So hurry up for the weird trip!