Chiatura has been granted the town’s status in 1924, but its history began in the antiquity. In the high cliffs surrounding this Imeretian town, the caves where locals used to live are still preserved to this day.
Historical sources tell us that during the invasions of caliph Marwan II, the people of the area made their way to these inaccessible areas to save their own lives, digging out the caves at a height of 340 to 500 meters above sea level.
Up until 2009, the oldest fabric on Earth was considered to be the 29,000-year-old nettle fiber found in Dolni-Vestonice in the Czech Republic.
However, more than 1,500 flax and wool fibers were discovered in Dzudzuana Cave in Chiatura in 2009, dating back to 34,000 years ago. Research is still ongoing in the cave, but we can already state that spinning threads, and therefore weaving, had its first source in Chiatura.
One might think that Chiatura would have continued to develop a weaving industry, but today it is actually the largest producer and processor of manganese in the South Caucasus. The extraction of manganese ore was started here in 1879 on the initiative of the Georgian poet, Akaki Tsereteli.
A railroad was built to pass through Chiatura in 1895, with English investment starting in 1892. The English also set up the first tennis court in Georgia here.
The city’s cable car, built in 1954, also once linked to the manganese deposit.
There are several historical buildings in the narrow streets of Chiatura, such as the Museum of Local Lore and the Akaki Tsereteli Drama Theatre.
You can also see many churches and fortified towers, as well as a unique 13th-century monument – Mghvimevi Monastery. In Chiatura vicinity, the Katskhi Pillar is located - a mystical place where a church appears to balance atop a limestone cliff. It really does need to be seen to be believed.