Time Machines.. The story of Chiatura city, which today has a population of around 20,000, starts in 1879 with Georgian poet Akaki Tsereteli’s discovery of manganese and iron mineral deposits in the region. Chiatura lies in Georgia’s Imereti region, within the steep valleys and deep canyons around the Kvirila River.
After Tsereteli’s discovery, local and foreign mining enterprises started to increase their interest in the region. By 1905, the production of manganese in Chiatura accounted for 60% of the world's production.
In the following years, as production increased as well as the population,
Chiatura started to built the first passenger cable car in the Soviet Union. Construction of the cable car was ordered by the Soviet leader of the period – Josef Stalin, who was also a native of Georgia - and was intended to help the miners more easily access and transport the manganese and iron mineral deposits in the hilly valley.
Although the number of cable cars established in 1954 increased over time, even after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Chiatura city and its manganese deposits gradually lost their previous significance. As a result, considerable emigration began to effect the region.
Today we can still see local women, mostly above middle age, working in the cable car stations in Chiatura. Nine lines and 16 stations remain active and cable cars are generally used as the main means of transport in the city. The women who work as operators also accompany passengers on the short cable car trips, including one in the city center and the other on the out skirts of the city.
Today, the cable cars remain distinctive symbols of Chiatura. Like time machines from the past to the modern day, the cable cars are over half-a-centuryold and still transporting people to their homes and businesses.
Chiatura, My Pride... #chiatura