Full day trip to Imereti region. Katskhi Pillar remains one of Georgia’s most mysterious sights. Located 11 kilometers from the city of Chiatura in western Georgia, it towers over the gorge of the Karshuna River. This natural 40-meter-high limestone column has been standing for centuries as a silent witness of history and has itself been the inspiration of endless lore among locals.
Chiatura was slightly more vibrant during the Soviet era when the population was almost triple the current figure. Regardless, it remains one of the largest manganese mining operations in the world and one of Georgia’s niche tourism gems. The major attraction here is the Stalin-era cable car system which is still in use and serves as the main mode of transport around the city. The cable cars traverse the Qvirilia River gorge connecting the town to the mines above via 10 cars for passengers and 2 cars for manganese transport. Some of the stations are adorned with murals of Soviet heroes. This aerial tram system spans over 6 km of cable and is highly regarded as an exemplary feat of Soviet engineering.