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GEORGIA


Location - Caucasus, Europe; Capital - Tbilisi; Population - 4 million; Currency - Lari MORE GEORGIA

As Abkhazia was off-limits (the Zugdidi 'border' opened about three days after it was too late - aaah, timing!) I broke up the return journey to Tbilisi via Kutaisi, Gori and Mtskheta - October 2019.

 

georgianote1The 5 Lari note

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia590Kutaisi is a couple of hours from Batumi and whose centre is the Colchis Fountain

 

georgia591Behind the fountain is the Drama Theatre - Kutaisi

 

georgia585Next to the fountain is Kutaisi Park - Kutaisi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia582Crossing the Rioni River on the way up to Bagrati Cathedral - Kutaisi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia570Renovation on the 11th century Bagrati Cathedral was completed in 2012 - Kutaisi

 

georgia576Take in the views from the cathedral grounds - Kutaisi

 

georgia592A nice place for a drink is behind the Tourist Info Centre, next to the Rioni River - Kutaisi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia593The restaurant grounds behind the Tourist Info Centre, just before Rustaveli Bridge - Kutaisi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia597In 2012 Georgia's parliament was moved from Tbilisi to here in Kutaisi, in an attempt to boost its economy and decentralise power. The move was controversial and didn't go too well - after the Saakashvilli goverment left power Parliament returned to Tbilisi in 2019. Kutaisi's Parliament building is now largely unused and the grounds overgrown

 

georgia605Walking from my hotel to the reason Gori receives coach-loads of tourists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia606And this is it, the Stalin Museum - Gori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia607Joseph Stalin was born as Iosif Vissarionovich Jughashvili in Gori in 1878, growing up to be the leader of the Soviet Union and one of the most powerful men in the world - Gori

 

georgia614I'd never seen a photo of a young Stalin - Gori

 

georgia621The table from the Kremlin conference room, with various photos of Stalin - Gori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia620Oh isn't he lovely! Stalin was thought to have been responsible for the deaths of millions via the Gulags (forced labour camps), forced resettlements, executions and the 1932/33 famine (particularly in Ukraine) - Gori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia634So it's strange to see him treated with reverence in this museum, for example here in the death mask room - Gori

Some say it's with a degree of pride that someone from a small town in Georgia can scale the ranks to become the leader of the biggest country in the world. And that defeating the Nazis in WWII was largely down to the Soviet Union under his control (though things may have been different had Hitler not broken their neutrality pact)

 

georgia636Stalin's death mask (apparently it's a copy) - Gori

 

georgia639The next room is a collection of gifts from all over the world - Gori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia641A section easily missed is given over to repression under Stalin. However there's no English labels so I'm unsure what was on display - Gori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia646Buy Stalin badges, statues, posters, medals, wine, fridge magnets at the many souvenir shops - Gori

 

georgia647Also in Stalin Square is the house where Stalin lived until he was four - Gori

 

georgia649aDogs aren't too fussed with red barriers. For info, most dogs have tags in their ears, meaning they've had their various inoculations - Gori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I asked in the museum if I could look inside and surprisingly they came over and unlocked the door (though you can't walk around). This is one of the rooms - Gori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia656Stalin's early home with the museum behind, while down the left side, out of shot, is his train - Gori

 

georgia659Stalin travelled to the 1945 Yalta conference in this train carriage. The conference, attended by Stalin, Winston Churchill and Franklin D Roosevelt, reorganised a post-World War II Europe - Gori

 

georgia662 CCCP are the Cyrillic letters for the USSR, aka the Soviet Union - Gori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia668Stalin's bedroom, with desk - Gori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia666Of course his security had to share a smaller room - Gori

 

georgia667His toilet, plus he even had a bath (the wood covered section on the left) - Gori

 

georgia670The largest area is at the end of the carriage, for guests and business - Gori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia657A bit more of Stalin Square - Gori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia674A colourful fountain in Stalin Square - Gori

 

georgia692A rather relgious looking piece of street art - Gori

 

georgia676At the far end of Stalin Square is the Great Patriotic War Museum, naturally with a Stalin statue - Gori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia689There's a section on the 2008 Russo-Georgia War. South Ossetia originally declared independence in 1991 soon after the break up of the Soviet Union. Amid deteriorating relations with Georgia, and backed by Russia, war ensued - Gori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia690The southern border of South Ossetia is only a few kms from Gori, which suffered bombing and missile strikes during the war - Gori

 

georgia679On the floor is a cluster bomb dropped on Gori in 2008, along with Russian shells and bombs - Gori

 

georgia684Remnants of a bomb dropped on Gori in 2008 - Gori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia698 A misty view of what looks like an ancient church from the bridge near the bus station - Gori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia700A memorial to Georgians lost in the 2008 war lies at the bottom of Gori Fortress - Gori

 

georgia715There's very little left of the fortress save for the surrounding walls - Gori

 

georgia708But it's a great place to get 360° panoramas - Gori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia710Looking southwards from Gori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia720And looking north to the outskirts of Gori, and the mountains of South Ossetia (left and middle)

 

georgia726soBetween the two distant mountains slightly obscured by low cloud is the South Ossetian capital Tshinkval

 

georgia725soCurrently it's not possible for foreigners to cross the checkpoints from Georgia to South Ossetia. It's only accessible from Russia, and even that is with difficulty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia724soThe winding mountainside trail is in South Ossetia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia742soAt one poiint the main road from Gori to Tbilisi passes within just a few hundred metres of South Ossetia

 

georgia810 Next up was the small town of Mtskheta, just over 20km from Tbilisi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia751The main draw here is the hilltop Jvari Church - Mtskheta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia808I stayed near the Mtkvari River but it's very easy to do this as a half-day/full-day trip from Tbilisi - Mtskheta

 

georgia755The cobbled streets of Mtskheta, framed by Jvari Church

 

georgia759A full monty zoom on Jvari Church from my balcony - Mtskheta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia757Another good view of the church on the circuitous drive up there - Mtskheta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia761The 6th century Jvari Church is very popular with Georgians and foreigners alike (as is Gori) - Mtskheta

 

georgia773The main reason I came to Mtskheta was for this superb view from Jvari

 

georgia771The Aragvi River on the right meets with the Mtkvari River - Mtskheta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia776The Mtkvari River continues its path through the valley - Mtskheta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia778The second draw for many is the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, right in the heart of town - Mtskheta

 

georgia801Svetitskhoveli Cathedral dominates Gori

 

georgia786Outside of the walled cathedral is a line of restaurants and souvenir stalls selling wines, ice cream , materials and knick-knacks - Mtskheta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia787The 11th century cathedral , with Jvari Church in the distance - Mtskheta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

georgia796Inside the cathedral, where several Georgian kings are buried - Mtskheta

 

georgia806The Georgian flag flies among the tourist shops - Mtskheta

 

 

Website and content Copyright © 2008-2019 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.

 

LINKS

https://caravanistan.com - Main resource for Central Asia but also has a bit on Georgia

www.exploregeorgia.org - Official Georgian tourism

https://georgia.travel - More on Georgia

https://tkt.ge - Buy Georgian train tickets

 

I am not responsible for the content of external websites.

 

 
 
 
   
 
   
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