Exploring Gori Georgia: Joseph Stalin’s Birthplace
When you enter Gori – Georgia, you cannot miss the immense statue of Joseph Stalin. This beautiful city is a small town where all the attractions are within walking distance. While exploring this city, you learn a lot about Georgian history. We were looking forward to a tour of the Joseph Stalin Museum, the Uplistskhe Cave (also known as Gori Cave) and the Gori Fortress.
We left Tbilisi early morning around 6 am and headed towards Gori, which is located around an hour and a half away from the capital.
As soon as we entered the city, we realized that Gori has some beautiful architecture with a traditional, European look to it.
Gori Fortress was our first stop. Luckily, it was very early in the morning, so we found the whole fortress deserted and were free to explore as much as we wanted. The fortress actually dates back to the 13th century, but much of what remains today was constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries. Since the fortress was made as a defense, it is located atop a small hill and gives a spectacular view of the city as well as surrounding mountains.
There is a long-range telescope inside the fortress, which we found quite a lot of fun to play with, as the distance it covered was amazing.
We could experience what happened at the fortress while they kept an eye on the city, with the help of a telescope that had an amazing magnification.
Once we had our fill of the Gori Fortress, we made our way to Uplistsikhe Cave Town. We were greeted at the entrance with a huge board that described the history of the town and showed a map of the location.
This is what was written about the history:
“The rock-cut city of Uplistskhe, or ‘The Lord’s Fortress’ is one of the oldest urban sites in the caucuses. There is evidence that Uplistskhe’s vicinity was inhabited from as long ago as the third millennium BC and the first caves were hewn out of the rock in X c. BC. The majority of the caves were cut during Classical Antiquity. The city flourished as a major religious, political and commercial center of the Eastern Georgian Kingdom of Kartli (Iberia) during Hellenistic (lll – l cc BC) and Roman times (l-lll cc AD). Uplistsikhe consisted of three parts. It has a defensive wall, ditch, several passes, tunnel streets, water pipes and drainage channels. Some structures were reshaped or carved out in the Middle Ages. At the summit of the complex is the ‘Uplistsuli Church’ built in the second half of the X century. This is a three church basilica typical only of Georgian Christian architecture. The Mongol raids in Xlll and XlV centuries marked the ultimate eclipse of the town, after which it was virtually abandoned.”
We enjoyed exploring the cave town, walking in and out of caves and picturing people actually living in the tiny rooms, which even had windows! They also had an amphitheater and many different halls, including ‘Long Hall’, ‘Queen Tamar’s Hall’ and ‘Grand Hall’.
As in most other locations in Georgia, even the cave town was located at a height compared to the rest of the city, so you can see a beautiful view as well.
Due to time constraints, we had to skip the Joseph Stalin Museum. If you are really into historic artifacts, you shouldn’t miss going there. On the other hand, for all the tourists who, like us, are seeking fun and adventure: Uplistskhe Cave Town and the Gori Fortress were both definitely worth a visit!