Around 20,000 people live in the mining town of Chiatura, located in a manganese-rich valley in the west Georgian region of Imereti. Back in the mid-1950s, when the mining industry was more prosperous and the population much higher, and Georgia was part of the USSR, the Soviet government installed a network of cable cars to transport manganese production workers more efficiently.
This manganese processing plant, sited next to a mine shaft, operates 24 hours a day. Workers access the mine by taking two tramways up and over steep bluffs. The second tramway is visible at top left. The cable cars are part of a network of aerial tramways built in Chiatura during the Soviet era, used to this day as public transportation through the challenging terrain.
Despite its rusty and aging appearance, the 1950’s transport system still takes workers in and out of the valley every day, it is one of the most incredible engineering spectacles in the world.
All images by Amos Chapple