History & Hard Labour
The former Soviet country of Georgia has an industrial history of producing metals, machinery, wine, chemicals and textiles.
From 1936 to 1991 these industries thrived and Georgia was one of the most prosperous states in the Soviet Union.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, aggressive privatization left the state-run factories abandoned or demolished. It is claimed that scrap metal was the country’s leading export commodity during the years after independence from the USSR.
Many of these factories are in ruin today as the economy diversified, but some continue to operate or have been repurposed by local people.
We accessed some of the country's most striking industrial sites and found a fascinating collision of the past and present.
Mass housing 'Zghvisubani Block' in the outskirts of Tbilisi.
Spare parts and machinery in the village of Shorapani.
Zestafoni Ferroalloy Plant, still operating 24 hours a day, seen from above.
Tires in the factory town of Rustavi and a canister of liquid in a former battery plant.
Hundreds of trucks wait to cross the Georgia / Russia border through the caucasus mountains.
Monument of scientist Giorgi Nikoladze who is considered to be the godfather of Georgian industry.
Living in the Sanatoriums
Radisha, 82 years old
A man refurbishes the 1979 'Monument to Hero Sailors of the USSR' near Poti.
A trucker passing through the country from Turkey takes a lunch break on a stop near Zestafoni.
An isolated farmhouse in the hills and a pastoral scene depicting the harvest.
Wall mural in an educational facility where students made wood carvings and sculpture.
Vehicle fluids for sale at the roadside and a stained glass window in an abandoned winery.
A monument to the deceased at a smelting facility in the Imereti region.
A Soviet mosaic and bottles of engine oil for sale on the roadside.
A metal worker stands outside of a Soviet-era electric technical plant called 'Electroelementi'.
An Imereti villager uses a decommissioned factory and its machines as his personal workshop.
A date marker at the gates of a power facility and a sculpture from the USSR near Kobuleti.
A decommissioned Ikarus 256 bus (manufactured between the years 1977-1989) in a train repair lot.
Soviet-era housing stands below new residential developments, and a mosaic of Greek mythology.