Stalin's Rope Roads

The mining town of Chiatura, Georgia, surrounded by steep cliffs, is criss-crossed by a network of aging Soviet-era aerial tramways that are still in use today. In the early 20th century, after the U.S.S.R. annexed Georgia, Soviet authorities were intent on extracting the vast manganese deposits beneath Chiatura. In the 1950s, planners began work on what locals call the "Kanatnaya Doroga," or "rope road," that still connects almost every corner of the town. Today, while some of the cars have rusted away, 17 of the aging tramways remain in service. Photographer Amos Chapple (who previously took us inside Iran and Turkmenistan) recently visited Chiatura, where he became fascinated with the cable cars and the locals who operate and ride them daily.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Raul Arboleda / AFP / Getty

    FARC Guerrillas Demobilizing in Colombia

    AFP photographer Raul Arboleda recently spent time at a FARC camp, observing daily life as the rebels demobilize and prepare to move into the next phase of their lives.

  • Mark Makela / Reuters

    The Selling of the Presidents 2017

    The Hall of Presidents and First Ladies in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, recently closed down, auctioning off its collection of life-size wax figures of U.S. presidents.

  • Angela Jimenez

    Winning the Race Against Time

    Age can’t keep these senior track and field athletes from the finish line

  • Ryan Collerd

    Americans at Work: Philadelphia's Municipal Offices

    Part of our ongoing series of photo essays at the Atlantic titled Americans at Work. This week, photographs of the daily lives and spaces of workers in Philadelphia's Municipal Offices, made by photographer Ryan Collerd

Join the Discussion