Saturday, December 17, 2011

Gori Stalin Cult

 Small statue of Stalin in front of the museum. The large statue in town was removed in 2010

Gori is Stalin’s hometown and is considered something of a local hero. We thought we’d check it out for a few hours on Saturday for the next chapter in our weekend travel adventures.

Stalin Wine, 35 Lari (about $20 USD)

The museum dedicated to Stalin is hard to miss, it’s pretty much the biggest building and certainly the most attractive building in the city as far as we could see. It’s found at the end of Stalin Avenue and it’s got Stalin’s old house and train out front. We got there before opening, but they let us wait in the lobby until it opened at 10am. Though the building is huge, there’s really not a lot to see. Old photos with little explanation in any language (And certainly no English, fortunately I had a Russian speaker with me to translate the signage in Russian), some books published by Stalin, some paintings and portraits of the Communist leader, some things that had once been in his possession.

Stalin's death mask

Outside you can view his house and part of his personal train in which he used to travel around the country with his confidants.

Stalin's house. This is the only room open to the public.

All in all, the museum is quite overrated and overpriced at 10 Lari ($7 USD) for entrance to the museum and 5 Lari ($3 USD) for entrance into the house (of which you can only view one room from the outside) and the train. To put that in comparison, you can travel 6 hours by bus from my city to the capital for the same price, or first class by train with a private room with a bed for that same price. (That generally is how I decide how good a price is in this country… but judging how far I could travel on that same amount of money….). But, perhaps this might be the only chance in your life you can see a museum dedicated to preserving the legacy of one of the world’s most terrible leaders.

Stalin's personal train (well, part of it anyway)

While in Gori, we also had hoped to visit Upliske, a cave city located in the mountains nearby the city, but we weren’t able to find a marshutka, and with the weather being bitterly cold we decided to head back to Tbilisi after just 4 hours in Gori.

1 comment:

  1. These photos are very nice, even though I can tell the available light was not ideal. Thanks for showing them here.

    I agree that it's odd to see a museum dedicated (without irony) to one of the greatest mass murderers of the 20th century. In Dallas, there is the Fourth Floor Museum, located in the warehouse where Oswald shot JFK, and yes, you can stand at the very window he used. In San Francisco, Alcatraz is a day-trip cruise and tour, and in Ho Chi Minh City you can go to the Museum of American Atrocities ... none of those attractions seek to present the thing as worthy of honor or admiration, though.

    I'm curious, am I right in thinking the intent of the Stalin Museum is advertise the greatest of the despot, though? Seems like it, from what I'n seeing here.