Ride of their life – Locals risk their lives to travel in rotten cable cars across steep gorge

**MANDATORY BYLINE** Pic by Andrei Ghilan/Caters News

Eerie photos show locals travelling in rotting cable cars across a steep gorge in the Georgian city of Chiatura.

The miner’s town is 220 km from Tbilisi and sits in the gorge of the Kvirila River.

However, Chiatura became famous not because of its mines, but because of the impressive network of cable cars that stretch a total length of six thousand metres across the steep gorge.

Constructed in 1954, the cable cars were built for the convenience of miners and townspeople crossing from one side to the other.

It was the first passenger cable car built under soviet power and a total of 15 lines stretch across the gorge, the largest in the world.

Despite most of the routes now being closed, many stations are still in operation however repairs have not been conducted since their launch over 60 years ago.

The cabins are covered with peeling paint and rust, and when in motion they squeak and swing.

But despite the uncertainty of its safety, the local residents refer to the decaying cable cars as their ‘minibus’ and rely on it as their preferred method of transport.

These stunning images were captured by Andrei Ghilan, 32, who experienced first-hand the ride for himself.

**MANDATORY BYLINE** Pic by Andrei Ghilan/Caters News

Andrei, from Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, said: “I like to visit unusual places that usual tourists avoid and this year was the first time I visited Georgia and the first thing I did was go to Chiatura.

“My first ride on the cable cars was really scary, it’s amazing that the locals ride them every day.

“Sometimes it seems as though they are about to break and fall into the abyss.

Pic by Andrei Ghilan/Caters News 

“The mechanism of the cable car is simple and consists of an electric motor, a manual and an automatic brake system.

“In the event of a power outage, it is possible to manually bring the cable car to the destination using manual traction.

“Whilst there I met with guys from Germany, Russia, France and China who came to Chiatura to take a ride on cable cars, it’s a huge tourist attraction.

Pic by Andrei Ghilan/Caters News

“Unfortunately, we were one of the last to ride on these cable cars.

“The old cable cars are unsafe, but the authorities understand that tourism can breathe new life into this city and so there is a new station being built in place of the old one.