Georgian Ropeway: Tsnori – Sighnaghi Cableway

Post by Gondola Project

Tsnori Sighnaghi Cableway. Image by Malkhaz Datikashvili.

For urban gondola enthusiasts, Georgia seems to be one of those gifts that keep on giving. It appears that another fascinating ropeway system has been (re)discovered in the mountainous and picturesque regions of Georgia.

At a length of 4,500m, the Tsnori-Sighnaghi Cableway was the longest passenger ropeway ever built in the country. The aerial tram, designed in the late 60s, crosses the Alazani Valley to connect the two towns of Tsnori (population: 5,000) and Sighnaghi (population: 3,000).

Not much information is available about Tsnori, except that its residents are mostly engaged in the viticulture and agricultural industries. On the other hand, Sighnaghi is considered a burgeoning visitor destination known for its wine production, local cuisine, and stunning 18th/19th century Italianate architecture.

Sighnaghi is located 790m above sea level, overlooking the Alazani Valley and Caucasus Mountains. Image from Georgian Tour.

Unfortunately, the cableway became defunct in 1991 and according to online commentators, it was entirely deconstructed between 2003-2008. After some painstakingly long research, a handful of photos of this system was uncovered in the National Archives of Georgia (see photo gallery below). Not shown in the photos is the system’s mid-station — an unique and rare feature that’s not often built for aerial trams since it needs to be designed exactly at the midpoint between the two end terminals.

While the ropeway no longer exists, it appears the Tsnori-Sighnaghi Cableway is still very much on the radar of the government. News reports a few years back suggest that the system may one day be reconstructed! In case there is anything we missed, or if you have anymore information on this aerial tram, please let us know in the comments below. A big thank you (again) to Irakli Z. for sharing his knowledge on Georgian ropeways with us.

Photo Gallery

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