Sunday, April 28, 2013

Gori, Georgia

Gori, გორი, is 76 km (47 miles) west of Tbilisi.  The town is the regional capital of Shida Kartli and has a population of around 49,500 people.

The area has been populated since the Bronze Age.  During the Middle Ages it was an important military stronghold.  During Soviet times, it was an important industrial area but all that changed with the economic collapse of the USSR and Georgia's independence.

Gori is located very close to South Ossetia's capital of Tskhinvali.  During the war in 2008, the town was bombed by the Russian Air Force and then occupied by troops on August 11th.  Russian and South Ossetian forces withdrew from Gori on August 22, 2008.

Gori was the birthplace of Joseph Vissarionovich Jughashvili.  He later changed his name to Joseph Stalin.  The town's primary attraction is the Joseph Stalin Museum.  The museum opened in 1957.

The exhibits give a very one-sided view of his accomplishments.  It was worth seeing but it was difficult for me to keep my mouth shut about the lack of information about all of the hideous thing he was responsible for.

The museum is one of the town's main sources of income.

Me at Stalin's birthplace
Behind the museum is the small wooden house where Stalin was born in 1879.  He lived there until he was four years old.

On the side of the museum is Stalin's personal train carriage.  It weighs 83 tons due to all of the armor plating.  Stalin used it from 1941 onwards.  I found it interesting that the leader of the Soviet Union used the carriage which formerly belonged to the Russian Imperial Family.

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