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

  • Jessica Chou

    Americans at Work: The Gig Economy

    This week, our “Americans at Work photo essay features photographs of millennial freelancers living in Los Angeles made by photographer Jessica Chou.

  • Gleb Garanich / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: 2/11–2/17

    An overflowing dam in California, the Yanshui Beehive Rockets Festival in Taiwan, Beyonce at the Grammys, Carnival in Venice, protests in Romania, and much more.

  • Christinne Muschi / Reuters

    Refugees Fleeing Into Canada From the United States

    Reuters photographer Christinne Muschi recently spent time photographing refugees who took taxis to the end of a dead-end road in the U.S. to walk across the border into Canada, into the custody of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

  • Mike Segar / Reuters

    Scenes From the 2017 Westminster Dog Show

    A total of 2,908 dogs were entered in this year’s 141st annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, consisting of 200 different breeds or varieties.

Join the Discussion