The most famous – or maybe more like infamous man of Georgia is unquestionable Joseph Stalin. He was born in the small Georgian city of Gori and despite the fact he spend most of his adult life in Russia he remained very much a Georgian at heart. He spoke with a Georgian dialect and kept his Georgian culture. Hence it is probably not surprising he made sure to get a giant museum in his old home town.
The Stalin museum is located at what is now the center of Gori – the museum is located between the two main boulevards of Gori. The location of the museum didn’t use to be such a prominent spot in Gori – back when Stalin grew up in a poor family this area was the place where the poor families use to live. Stalin did grow up in a small one bedroom house. The house Stalin grew up in was probably not much different from all the other poor families’ houses in the town. But unlike the other houses the small house of Stalin’s childhood has been preserved – while the others have been raised to the ground to make space for the two new boulevards.
Stalin’s old house is protected from the elements by a pretty big structure in Italian-Greek style standing on top of the small house – you can still look at the house from the street but if you want a little look inside you need to take a tour of the museum. Behind the house is an even bigger building – the Stalin Museum itself. If you are visiting the center of Gori there is no way you can miss the museum it is the dominating building of the town.
The museum was originally built as a museum of the history of socialism in 1951 – but when Stalin died two years later the purpose of the museum was changed to be a museum of the life of Stalin. I guess this was the intention all the time – but the man was just too modest to claim it was a museum or him while alive – or maybe not he did name a major city after himself.
The museum has some pretty big halls which tell the story of the life and work of Joseph Stalin. It is sort of interesting to see the life story of one of the men who has been responsible for the highest number of dead. When you finish the visit to the museum you can go to the museum shop – I think this is probably one of the few places in the world where the main item for sale is bust of Stalin. Though you will be able to find one in a shop in Tbilisi as well.
Outside the museum you find an old railroad car. It is Stalin’s private rail wagon which he used to travel to the famous Teheran and Yalta conference between the allied leaders during the Second World War. Considering the time the car was used it is probably not surprising it was heavily armored. The rail car was actually used a lot since Stalin didn’t like to fly so he pretty much traveled everywhere in this car.