24
Jan

2017

Will Chiatura Become a Force Again in the World of Urban Gondolas?

Post by Nick Chu

This may surprise some readers, but Chiatura — a small mining town of 15,000 residents in Georgia — was once a major urban cable car hub. 

Not only was it home to the Soviet Union’s first passenger ropewaybut the city (at one time) may have had the most cable transit lines per capita in the world. 



Chiatura’s love affair with cable cars began in the 1950s when Soviet officials decided to implement ropeways as an efficient way to traverse the town’s rugged and steep river valley. The cable lifts were designed to transport workers living in the valley to the industrial facilities located at the top.

According to some estimates, some 12-17 ropeways are still operational today. However, most of the systems are in dire need of upgrades and fail to meet modern safety standards.

In recent years, passenger service on some cable lifts have been suspended while the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia started plans to rehabilitate and reconstruct the city’s once majestic aerial fleet. Last week, the government released a video and images showing the public its current plans. 

The new investment totalled four lines which was spread over 3,428m of ropeways.

  • Sanatorium (სანატორიუმი) – 862m
  • Naguti (ნაგუთი) – 1,081m
  • Lezhubani (ლეჟუბანი) – 845m
  • Mukhadze (მუხაძე ) – 640m
Ropeway map. Image from mrdi.gov.ge.

Ropeway map shows Sanatorium, Naguti and Lezhubani lines. Note the main hub will be connected to 3 cable cars. The Mukhadze line is not shown. Image from mrdi.gov.ge.

Central Station - Chiatura

The central station is built to accommodate 3 separate gondola lines. Image from mrdi.gov.ge.

At the time of writing, it appears that the ropeways operating from the “central station” are already under construction while the Mukhadze system is still in the design stage. Overall, if everything goes according to plan, the US$15 million (GEL 40 million) project will open for passenger service by Fall 2017.

For more photos and information about the project, click here

A big thank you to Gondola Project reader, Irakli Ika, for the sharing with us the links and translations. If there is anything we missed, or misinterpreted, let us know in the comments below, message us on Facebook, or email us at gondola@creativeurbanprojects.com.

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Comments

  1. Spending hours on the net to find how many of them operating today with no relevant info. Do you know for sure how many are operating? Thanks!
  2. Very hard to say. We're working off estimates of 12-17 but don't know much more beyond that.
  3. Thanks the answer. Planned go there in May, (just because of ropeways) but if they're out of order I rahter skip it... :(