Gori Stalin Museum

Stalin Museum

Nowhere did Stalin’s hero status last longer than in his Georgian birth town Gori. His statue was only removed from the Central Town Square (still named after him) in June 2010 and his museum is still in full operation today. Comtourist visited the Stalin Museum in August 2011 and we were pleased to find out that nothing seems to have changed for the last 50 years here. The museum is a Soviet Time Capsule where even the guides seem to be imported from the USSR.

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Stalin Museum
Georgia
Gori
Stalin Avenue 32
€5
Daily from 10.00 - 17:00
www.stalinmuseum.ge
Exelent

Getting There

Gori is located 80km from Tbilisi, it takes around 1 hour by minibus to get there from the Georgian capital. Busses go from Didube Bus Station during the whole day. It takes 1,5 hour by train from Tblisi Central Railway Station to Gori. Arranging a taxi for a day may be a good alternative, especially when combining the museum with other attractions like the Uplistsikhe Cave Town.

History of the Stalin museum

Stalin was Born in Gori in 1878, so there always had to be a shrine to the great leader in Gori after his death. A local history museum begun in 1951 intended to become a Stalin Memorial after his death. Stalin died in 1953, the Museum was dedicated to him in 1957. The Stalin museum managed to survive De-Stalinization in 1961 when his body was removed from the Mausoleum and cities and streets named after him were renamed. Soviet authorities probably did not want to offend the Georgians who were still proud of their most famous compatriot and Gori was also far away from Moscow.

The museum was closed in 1989 but was re-opened in recent years as local authorities understood that the museum is a potent tourist attraction. There have been plans to transform the Stalin Museum into the “Museum of Russian Aggression” since 2008, this has not happen yet since this will impact tourist revenues in a time of great economic depression. Let’s hope that the Georgian government understands the historic significance and uniqueness of the Museum and leave it in its current state!

The museum building is a large palace in Stalinist Gothic style, complete with clock tower and column gallery. There is a small Stalin statue in front of the Museum, this is not the statue that was removed from the Central Square in 2010. The museum intends to erect the big statue in front of the Museum, a hole has already been dug. Stalin’s birth house is located in front of the Museum and his rail carriage on one side.

The main building of the Gori Stalin Museum was build in the early fifties in typical Gothic or Classic Stalinist style

The Stalin Museum

A classical column gallery is part of the front section of the Stalin Musuem main building

Column gallery

The guides from the Stalin Museum fit in very well in this museum where nothing has changed since Soviet times

Museum guide

Photo impression of the intended location of the giant Stalin Statue that was removed from the Gori main square in 2010

Museum future

Virtual tour through the museum

The entrance of the museum is an impressive area, luxuriously furbished with marble floors, red carpet and chandeliers. The ticket booth is a small window tucked away in a corner as customary in Soviet museums. A marble staircase leading to a Stalin statue in front of a stained glass window makes the visitor feel like entering a church or other religious place.

Visitors enter the Stalin Museum in an impressive lobby decorated with red carpet, marble and chandeliers

Entrance Hall

The ticket booth of the Stalin Museum is a small window tucked away in a corner as seen im many Soviet museums

Ticket booth

An impressive marble staircase leads to the main exposition of the Stalin Museum on the first floor of the building

Stairway

The entrance to the exposition gives visitors the feeling of entering a church or other religious building

Stained glass window

The first exhibition hall is dedicated to Stalin’s early life, with photographs, paintings and newspaper articles about his youth, career as a bank robber and early revolutionary exploits. The second exhibition hall documents Stalin’s rise to power in the Communist Party leading to his position as the most powerful man in the Soviet Union. The theme of the third hall is Stalin’s role as Commander in Chief of the Red Army during the Second World War.

The first exposition hall of the Museum is dedicated to Stalin’s early life and revolutionary activities in Georgia

First exposition hall

The second hall of the Stalin Museum is dedicated to Stalin’s rise to power and activities in the 1930

Second exposition hall

The third exposition hall of the Stalin Museum is dedicated to Stalin’s role during World War II

Third exposition hall

The fourth exposition hall celebrates the Soviet victory over the Nazis at the end of The Great Patriotic War

World War II victory room

The following room celebrates Stalin’s victory over the Nazis ending the Great Patriotic War. A photo collage shows images of the victorious Red Army and Stalin as divine leader who saved the Soviet Motherland from Hitler. A small entrance leads to the next room where Stalin’s death mask is displayed in the centre of a circle surrounded by pillars. The room is kept dark and painted black with dark red carpet, creating an atmosphere that is similar to the Lenin Mausoleum. The exhibition concludes with a room where personal possessions and gifts that Stalin received from foreign dignitaries are displayed.

Entrance to the shrine with the Death Mask where visitors were supposed to mourn the death of Stalin

Entrance to Stalin Memorial room

Visitors can walk around Stalin’s death mask in the memorial room that resembles the Lenin Mausoleum

Stalin Memorial room

Stalin’s telephone, ashtray, writing tools, desk, and other furniture displayed in the sixth hall of the Stalin Museum

Stalin’s desk

Display boxes with gifts that were given to Stalin by foreign dignitaries and communists from all over the world

Gifts exposition

Stalin’s gifts and possessions

The last hall of the exhibition shows items that belonged to Stalin and gifts received from foreign dignitaries and communist organization from all over world. Many of the exhibits are basically tableware like plates, tea cups and vases with Stalin’s portrait on it. There are also some very kitschy gifts like a table ornament that functions as a light, ashtray, and cigar box decorated with a victorious T-34 tank. An interesting gift from the Netherlands is a set of small painted wooden shoes from the Dutch communist newspaper “De Waarheid”. The museum also displays one of Stalin’s outfits including his signature overcoat, boots and hat.

Gifts that Stalin Received from countries including a picture, tea cups and vase with Stalin’s image on it

Tableware with Stalin portrait

Wooden shoes that were given to Stalin by the Dutch Communist newspaper

Wooden shoes from Holland

A gift given to Stalin that combines a lamp, clock, cigar box and is decorated with a Soviet T-34 tank

T-34 gift

Stalin’s famous military overcoat, hat and boots that he whore on many photos, paintings and public occasions

Stalin’s outfit

Paintings of Stalin

The Stalin Museum exhibits a large collection with works of art dedicated to Joseph Stalin. Various portraits of Stalin posing in his familiar overcoat are displayed in the exhibition rooms. Other paintings depict Stalin during his revolutionary activities or at work in the Kremlin. There are two paintings of Stalin with his mother that seem to be painted at the same moment.

Painting of Stalin together with Soviet Statesman overlooked by a Lenin statue and Karl Marx painting

Stalin at work

Painting of Stalin as a young revolutionary leading a group of workers during the Russian revolution

Stalin as a revolutionary

Painting of Stalin discussing with fellow revolutionaries near what seems to be a river in his native Georgia

Stalin discussing

Paining of Stalin with his mother that looks very similar to the first one, may have been painted at the same time

Stalin with his mother

Stalin sculptures and statue’s

Gori is famous for the Stalin Museum and the Stalin statue that was removed from the main square in 2012. The statue should be placed in front of the museum but this has not happened yet. A hole with steel reinforcement has been dug a while ago, but the replacement of the statue probably proved to be too controversial. There are two smaller Stalin statues, one in front of the museum, another on the stairway to the main exhibition. There are also a statue of Stalin as a boy and busts depicting Stalin at different ages. Thanks Bas for the photo of the Stalin Statue before it was removed!

Comtourist editor posing in with a Stalin statue for the second time of his life, the first time was in Grutas Park

Small Stalin statue

Small statue of Stalin a boy standing in a corner of the first exposition hall of the Stalin Museum

Stalin as a boy

A whole with steel funding has already been dug for the removed Stalin statue a while ago in front of the museum

Hole for the replaced statue

The famous Stalin Statue on Stalin Square in the city centre of Gori before it was removed in June 2010

Gori Stalin statue

Bust of Stalin in his Army Uniform with his Hero of the Soviet Union medal pinned on his chest

Bust

Bust of Stalin displayed in the Stalin Memorial museum in Georgia Gori

Bust

Bust of Stalin in his Georgian revolutionary days displayed in the Stalin Memorial museum

Bust

Bust of Stalin displayed in the Stalin Memorial museum in Georgia Gori

Death mask

Stalin’s birth house

The house where Stalin was born in 1878 and lived for four years is located in front of the museum covered by a pavilion. Stalin’s father Vissarion Jughashvili, a local shoemaker, rented the one room on the left hand side of the building and maintained a workshop in the basement. A model of the house with the workshop in the basement is on show in the museum.

Stalin’s birth house protected where his father Vissarion Jughashvili ran a shoemaking business in the cellar

Stalin birth house

The Gori house were Stalin was born in 1878 and lived with his parents for the first four years of his life

Birth house under the roof

The beautiful decorated roof over Stalin house decorated with hammers an sickles and a start in stained glass

Birth house roof

The interior of Stalin’s birth house in Gori Georgia were he lived a simple life with his parents

Inside the birth house

Stalin’s Railway carriage

The railway carriage that Stalin used to travel to the Yalta Conference and the Tehran Conference at the end of World War II is located on one side of the museum. The carriage that is armour plated and weighs 83 tons was donated to the museum in 1985, recovered from a railway yard at Rostov on Don. It contains sleeping rooms, a kitchen, a bathroom with shower, toilets and a meeting room in the back of the carriage.

Stalin’s personal rail carriage which he used to travel to the Yalta Conference and the Tehran Conference

Stalin rail carriage

The stove of the kitchen where Stalin’s food was prepared during his journeys in his personal train

Kitchen

The most luxurious sleeping cabin of the train, this is probably where Stalin used to sleep during his train journeys

Bed room

The conference room at the rear of Stalin’s train carriage where he could discus the status of the war with his staff

Meeting room

Other things to do in Gori, Stalin Square, Stalin Avenue and Uplistsikhe Cave Town

a visit longer than a day trip. Stalin Square close to the Stalin Museum is the place where the famous Stalin statue used to stand until it was removed in June 2010. It is also the place where Dutch cameraman Stan Storimans died during the South Ossetia War in 2008. The Russians fired a cluster bomb propelled by a SS-26 tactical missile from a nearby hill killing 12 civilians including Storimans, injuring many more. The damage caused by the cluster bomb can still be clearly seen on the square. Thanks to Bas for the photo of the Stalin statue on Stalin Square before it was removed.

There is a World War II monument with great Red Army sculptures on Stalin Avenue between the Museum and the Square. The caves at Uplistsikhe cave town are located 10 kilometres east of Gori and date back from the Early Iron Age to the Late Middle Ages. Gori Fortes looks out over the town from a hill close to the city.

Stalin Square in Gori where a giant Stalin statue stood until it was moved after the Georgian Russian War in 2010

Stalin Square

Scene with Red Army Soldier carved out of stone on the World War II monument on Stalin Avenue in Gori

World War II monument

Caves off Uplistsikhe cave town 10 kilometres from Gori dating back from the Early Iron Age to the Late Middle Ages

Uplistsikhe cave complex

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