Alternative Georgia: Day Trip to Chiatura from Tbilisi
Step off the beaten track and discover a different side of Georgia on a day trip to Chiatura – a former mining city full of forgotten wonders.
Duration 10 hours
Private tour available in English, German, Russian
Group tour pricing from 180 EUR per person
What an extraordinary window into the mid 20th century, and a (then) futuristic industrial- residential complex that must confirmed in many Soviet citizens the inevitable victory of socialism was just around the corner. The extraordinary 3 dimensional public transport system, linking disconnected suburbs with mine sites, industrial plants, mine sites and the civic centre, in a setting of near-total dilapidation - yet somehow still clinging to some kind of “normal” life, has weirdly science-fictional feeling to it. Standing on one of the ruined hilltop “suburbs”, where even now a few shattered Soviet era flats are still occupied, one can see see the remaining operational cable cars, industrial and public transport, Criss crossing the valley and imagine how advanced the whole setup must have looked back in the early 1950s.
I approached the cable car ride with some trepidation, but it all worked fine. I would not have missed this for anything. Added extras included a very worthwhile visit to what would have been the cultural centre for the city, a performing arts theatre in a rather sophisticated style that linked bauhaus with art moderne. Although it is also worn down to the bone, the theatre continues to host intermittent musical & theatrical performances.
Bookends to the tour, the remarkable cave monastery and the Katskhi pillar, round out a very full, and fulfilling day.
All this is hosted by lively, whip-smart and very knowledgeable Maria, whose energy and passion for Georgia, and perhaps especially this aspect of its past, present and future, make this unusual tour one out of the box.
Don’t miss it,