Gori & JoeSunday, 10 August 2008
The Georgian town of Gori, not far west of the capital Tbilisi, has been heavily in the news these last few days after the Russian attacks on the breakaway province of South Ossetia also targeted Gori. I spent a day in Gori last September. The town’s grey Soviet-era apartments are overlooked by an ancient fortress, but Gori’s big attraction is ‘Georgian Joe.’
Yes Gori is Joseph Stalin’s birthplace.
The Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt and other photos in the Stalin Museum.
Georgians are a little ambivalent about their most famous son, but you can’t miss him. A statue of the Soviet leader tops a column in Stalin Square from where Stalin Ave leads to the Stalin Museum. There you can look around Joe’s childhood home, enshrined in what looks like a temple, inspect Stalin’s personal railway carriage and learn all about his life and times in the museum. OK purges, forced collectivisation, Siberian gulags, mass starvation and the other bad stuff doesn’t feature, but the good stuff is all here.
This statue of Stalin stands proudly above Stalin Square in the centre of Gori.
The one-room home where Stalin spent his early years is enshrined in front of the museum dedicated to his life.
Stalin’s private railway carriage stands behind the museum, you can climb aboard and look around.
The Study in Stalin’s railway carriage.
Ancient Gori Fortress overlooks the modern town.