The small town, modestly lost in the mountain vastness of Georgia, impressed the imagination of the traveler, photographer and founder of TEG Bureau – Pavel Makarov, that he spent a few days there, riding on the city’s main attractions – the cableway. Chiatura – town of miners, located on two sides of the canyon, which contains dozens of active and broken funiculars, built in the 1950s
Ghost Town is literally permeated with the spirit of the Soviet era, dilapidated houses and a sense of hopelessness. But once, in Soviet times, it had a great future – for the extraction of huge reserves of ore and manganese. Time goes and everybody forgot this city…
Text and photo: Pavel Makarov
1 Funicular rides over the suburban area.
Passing over the river Kvirila. View from the roof of the existing cableway.
The key attraction of the city – manganese mines, which are located throughout the neighborhood of Chiatura. Anyone who came here can watch the manganese extraction process.
Chiatura manganese deposit is more than 100 years. There are six mines for extraction of manganese, around which a network of cableways is developed.
For more than 60 years the locals live in Chiatura – steadily, slowly, remembering the days of the former power of the Soviet Union. The city is a bit like today’s Baikonur or Chernobyl …
On the outskirts the valley gets narrow, leaving place only for roads, river, railway and cable stations. There are some residential, but from here the cableway to the mines starts.
Now, Chiatura remains the only city in the world with the largest number of ski lifts, which are used as free public transport.
Night view of the city center, in which there is the bazaar, bus / railway station, and three cable stations. From the center, there is a road to Sachkhere, along which the city is located.
Cableway operator tells many interesting and tragic stories. There have been cases with a broken rope of cableways, and cases of brake failures with fatal outcome.
The mechanic of one of the cableways shows its device. Everything is simple – electric, manual and automatic braking system. In the case of a power outage, you can manually bring the funicular to the destination.
Chiatura has located 220 km from Tbilisi, and you can reach it by train or car.
Locals continue leaving the city con. One of the many abandoned apartments in the city.
People come out of this place to Tbilisi, to Russia, leaving goods and documents.
No one has cooked in this kitchen for a long time.
This apartment is a 12-storey building, in which about 60% of apartments are abandoned. There is no heating in the house.
Abandoned railway track.
So the mined manganese moves like this.
Chiatura – non-touristic city. Nevertheless, it is worth a visit, as it’s an atmospheric and unique place with its laid-back lifestyle, hospitality of local residents and the incredible beauty of the views.