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

  • Toru Hanai / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Virtual Parish, Drone Tourism, Rock Santa

    A royal visit to Australia, a Napoleonic-battle reenactment in Spain, marijuana legalization in Canada, fall colors in Japan and Europe, and much more

  • Henry Nicholls / Reuters

    Images of the Season: Fall Is in the Air, Part 2

    One last look at my favorite season of the year, with more autumnal images from across the Northern Hemisphere

  • Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

    Robots at Work and Play

    Recent images of robotic technology around the world

  • © Google

    Seven Square Miles

    Snapshots from Google Earth, all rectangles of the same size and scale, approximately three and a half miles wide by two miles tall—showing seven square miles of the varied surface of our planet in each view