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Gori is a city in eastern Georgia, which serves as the regional capital of Shida Kartli and the centre of the homonymous administrative district. The name is from Georgian gora that is, "heap" or "hill".

Gori was an important military stronghold in the Middle Ages and maintains a strategic importance due to its location on the principal highway connecting eastern and western parts of Georgia. In the course of its history, Gori has been invaded by the armies of regional powers several times. The city was occupied by Russian troops during the 2008 Russo–Georgian War.

Gori is also known as the birthplace of the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, ballistic missile designer Alexander Nadiradze and philosopher Merab Mamardashvili.

The Joseph 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.

Gori Fortress

Gori Fortress is a 13th century castle in Georgia, situated on a hill above the city of Gori in the Shida Kartli region of eastern Georgia. Located on the main highway connecting eastern and western parts of Georgia it was of strategic importance for many centuries and was attacked several times by invading armies.Much of the structure seen today dates from the 17th and 18th centuries and was significantly damaged by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake in 1920.The herringbone patterns in the stonework of the walls are particularly striking. A block tower gatehouse serves as an entrance and exit.The citadel acquired the present-day form under the Georgian kings Rostom of Kartli in the 1630s and Erekle II in 1774. After the Russian annexation of Georgia in 1801, the fortress was garrisoned by a Russian grenadier battalion, but its importance gradually declined and the fortifications went defunct. The British Encyclopedia Metropolitana reported in 1845.There are few remaining structures within the walls but spectacular views of the city, mountains and surrounding dark green plains of Shida Kartli from the battlements make a visit worthwhile.


The Uplistsikhe cave complex with a 9th/10th century three-nave basilica
is an ancient rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia, some 10 kilometers east of the town of Gori, Shida Kartli.

Built on a high rocky left bank of the Mtkvari River, it contains various structures dating from the Early Iron Age to the Late Middle Ages, and is notable for the unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures from Anatolia and Iran, as well as the co-existence of pagan and Christian architecture.

The Uplistsikhe complex can tentatively be divided into three parts: south (lower), middle (central) and north (upper) covering an area of approximately 8 hectares. The middle part is the largest, contains a bulk of the Uplistsikhe rock-cut structures, and is connected to the southern part via a narrow rock-cut pass and a tunnel. Narrow alleys and sometimes staircases radiate from the central "street" to the different structures. The majority of the caves are devoid of any decorations, although some of the larger structures have coffered tunnel-vaulted ceilings, with the stone carved in imitation of logs. Some of the larger structures also have niches in the back or sides, which may have been used for ceremonial purposes.

At the summit of the complex is a Christian basilica built of stone and brick in the 9th-10th centuries. Archaeological excavations have discovered numerous artifacts of different periods, including gold, silver and bronze jewellery, and samples of ceramics and sculptures. Many of these artifacts are in the safekeeping of the National Museum in Tbilisi

Ateni Sioni Church

The Ateni Sioni Church is an early 7th-century Georgian Orthodox church in the village of Ateni, some 10 km (6.2 mi) south of the city of Gori, Georgia. It stands in a setting of the Tana River valley known not only for its historical monuments but also for its picturesque landscapes and wine. The name "Sioni" derives from Mount Zion at Jerusalem.

Sioni is an early example of a "four-apse church with four niches domed tetraconch (between the four apses are three-quarter cylindrical niches which are open to the central space). The church's cruciform interior measures 24m x 19.22m, and its façades are faced with carved rectangular greenish-gray stones, richly decorated with ornaments and figurative reliefs. The church is not dated but is very similar in design to the Jvari Monastery at Mtskheta, which is generally held to have preceded it, and, hence, has been described by some art historians as belonging to the "Jvari-type" group of churches. Todosak, mentioned in an undated Armenian inscription on the southern facade as "I, Todosak, the builder of this holy church" is considered to have been an Armenian architect of the original church or its late 10th-century renovator.

The walls of the church contain the earliest known inscriptions in Nuskhuri or Nuskha-Khutsuri, one of the versions of the early Georgian alphabet, dating from 835. The earliest known examples of Mkhedruli, a currently used Georgian script, are also found in the Ateni Sioni church and date to the 980s. One of the inscriptions on the church commemorates Adarnase I of Tao-Klarjeti, the first documented Georgian Bagratid nobleman who was the father of Ashot I, the founder of the new royal line of Georgia.

In Gori, the summers are warm and mostly clear and the winters are long, freezing, snowy, and partly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 22°F to 80°F and is rarely below 12°F or above 89°F.

Based on the tourism score, the best time of year to visit Gori for warm-weather activities is from late June to early September.

By Bus

Many marshrutkas run daily between Tbilisi's Didube market and the central square of Gori. If you're arriving with the metro, go directly through the market (one-story houses) until you reach a square with only marshrutkas on it, just ask one of the drivers. Buses leave hourly from about 07:00 to 20:00, and the ride costs 3 GEL a person.

By Taxi

Another option is to take a taxi, which also leave from Didube bus station. Listen for the cab drivers calling out "Gori, Gori," and get in their car. These cars leave as soon as they are full, so your wait could be anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour. The fare for one person in a shared cab should be 5 GEL. If you do not wish to share a taxi with others, then the cost should be about 20 GEL. Be sure to negotiate this with the driver before you get in the car.

By Train

Many trains run through Gori on their way to or from Tbilisi. Tickets can be purchased at local train stations. Last train to Borjomi leaves at 18:00.

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