After pick up our first stop is Gori – the heart of eastern Georgia, it is located in Kartli valley at the confluence of the Mtkvari River and its tributary Big Liakhvi. The city was founded by one of the greatest kings of Georgia, David the Builder (1089–1125). It has a population of 60,000. This city is famous for one person, who was born in these places. This man’s name is Joseph Dzhugashvili, better known as Joseph Stalin. With a qualified historian from History Trips as your personal guide, all the highlights of this picturesque town will be shown to you accompanied by vivid, but historically sound information. The main attraction of the city is also associated with Joseph Stalin. It is the Museum of Joseph Stalin, which consists of three blocks. This is the museum itself, which is simply imbued with the spirit of the Soviet time. The exhibits are divided into six halls in roughly chronological order, and contain many items actually or allegedly owned by Stalin, including some of his office furniture, his personal effects and gifts made to him over the years. There is also much illustration by way of documentation, photographs, paintings and newspaper articles. The display concludes with one of twelve copies of the death mask of Stalin taken shortly after his death; the house where Stalin was born and raised, and Stalin’s personal railway carriage. The carriage has not been modified, everything remains the same as it was during Joseph Stalin’s life. In the center of Gori, on a hill there is a medieval fortress Goristsikhe. The fortress was built in the times of the legendary Georgian king David the Builder. Historians claim that the fortress was built on the site of an earlier, more ancient fortification. The fortress is well preserved to this day, on top there is a wonderful view of the entire city and the surrounding mountains.
Afterwards, we will pay a visit to Uplistsikhe – an ancient cave-town in, some 12 kilometers east of the town of Gori. It is one of the first and ancient cities of Georgia. Uplistsikhe was carved in a rock and originated in the early first millennium B.C, so it is one of the most important archeological sites and monuments of the Georgian culture. The Uplistsikhe complex covers 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, huge echoing halls, long meandering corridor-streets, chambers for pagan worship and even the remains of Georgia’s oldest theatre, complete with auditorium, stage and orchestra pit. Like the other cave-towns of Georgia, it is akin to the similar rock structures of Urardhu and the Hittites, which are rooted in the prehistoric traditions of the peoples of the Near East. On the one side the troglodyte fortress was protected by the Kura and an almost vertical rock face, on the other, by powerful fortifications. Its strategic position on the approaches Gori and, in particular, its strong defences made it possible for it to control the surrounding terrain. One should be surprised that there were numerous attempts to destroy it. Only in the 13th century, however, did the hordes of Genghis Khan’s son Khulagu succed in doing so, after capturing and destroying many fortresses in Transcaucasia with the help of siege machines. The five thousand inhabitants of Uplistsikhe perished and life ended forever in the fortress.
This programme is flexible and can be adjusted to your own wishes. For example, we can take time to visi Ateni Sioni Church – Georgian monastery in the village of Ateni, 10 kilometers away from Gori. The village is known for its picturesque landscapes and wine. The church was built in the first half of the VII century. The name “Sioni” derives from Mount Zion at Jerusalem. The walls of the church contain the first inscriptions in Nuskhuri or Nuskha-Khutsuri, one of the versions of the early Georgian alphabet. this trip into the past will give you all the ins and outs of ancient Georgia.
Tour duration: 1 days