Sixty years ago, the Soviet Union built a cable car system for Chiatura, Georgia. The system was intended to navigate the small town's steep landscape and to more efficiently tap into the bountiful manganese deposits.
Today, 15 of the 21 cars remain in use. The system covers 20,000 feet and remains the quickest, most convenient way to get around.
This summer, The Atlantic's Alan Taylor highlighted Chiatura's tramways with Amos Chapple's stunning photographs. They run without a braking system; instead most of the tramways use a "jig back" system where two cabins are connected to the same cable. An electric motor pulls one of the cable cars down, using its weight to pull the one on the other end up.Operators usually wait until there are 3 or 4 passengers at stations on both ends before starting a trip.
Recently, Reuters photographer David Mdzinarishvili took a look at Chiatura's cable cars. Owned by the local mining company, anyone is welcome to use it, making it a critical part of getting around the town's steep cliffs and river valleys: