Gori is well known for two things. First, Stalin was born here. Second, it was destroyed by the Russians in their attack on Georgia in 2008. Stalin holds a high position here, thus the most interesting thing in Gori is the Stalin Museum.
and his hometown Gori.

Text and photo
Eistein Guldseth, 2006
    Gori is situated in a rocky landscape 60 km from Tbilisi.  
60 km west of Tbilisi. Gori is one of two cities in Georgia still having a statue of Stalin in the town square. The other place is Tkibuli, a worn down industrial city in the Imereti region. I also found a golden bust in Tskhaltubo, where Stalin built his luxury SPA. When it comes to Gori there is not much to say. It is a dusty, worn down city with a shiny new army quarter. That is because Gori is only 30 Km

away from Tskinvali, the South Ossetian rebel capitol. That’s also why Russian troops in august 2008 attacked the city and destroyed a lot there.

The Stalin Museum
But in Gori you find the Stalin Museum, where the only people left in Russia that speaks well of Stalin, besides Putin, works. And there’s enthusiasm and glow in their eyes when they portray their famous son as a poet and genius. The guides take you through the whole museum in less than an hour, and afterwards you can bribe them to let you into Stalins railway wagon placed outside the museum to take pictures sitting in his chair or take a quick look into his toilet. The museum is a must for all travelers in Georgia.

The young Stalin
Outside the museum they have preserved Stalins home where he grew up. Little Stalin had a mother and a father like most of us. He was baptized Josef Besarionisdze Jugaschvili, son of Ekaterina and Besarion Jugashvili, but adopted later the more famous nickname Stalin, "the iron man". Now Stalin, perceived as being a Georgian, wasn’t quite a full breed. His mother and father was South Ossetian, at least according to my sources, and there lies probably the reason for him to change his name from Jugashvili to Stalin. “Juga” means “shit” or “garbage” in Ossetian, something that probably didn’t suit his ego very well.

The theological seminary didn’t help much.

Josef had no academic education. He attended a Theological Seminary with "spiritual education", as the guide at the museum put it. He also was a passionate writer of poems. Young Stalin lived in a nice little home with his parents, spending his spare time writing poems and going fishing with his father. But then things started to go in the wrong direction. He had some doubtable friends and became a revolutionary. He got kicked out of the Seminary and became a Bolshevik. Some of his deeds was robbery of Georgian transports among other things, and his career was on the right track. Then he met Lenin and got a friend for life. Then Lenin died, and there was a war. But you know all about that.

Good and bad memories.
If you ask Georgians they will tell you that Stalin did them no favors. He was a tyrant who did no exeptions for his homeland. Still some old Georgians remember his era as a stable and safe period in their lives when there was food on the table every day and lots of work to do.

The guides are enthusiastic.


Stalins command wagon used during the WWII.

Here's where little Stalin grew up.