Dedicated to the life of one of the world’s most prolific mass murders, the Stalin Museum in his birthplace Gori is little changed since its last update in the late 1970s, when Leonid Brezhnev was the Soviet premier. It glorifies Stalin’s life and career, omitting any mention of genocide, gulags, megalomania, repression or mass starvation, and is a fascinating glimpse into the propaganda-machine that was the Soviet Union before its downfall in 1989.
Central to the museum complex is a vast, Soviet-Realist take on a Gothic palace; in front of it stands a Neo-classical pavilion that shelters the wooden shack in which Stalin was born in 1878. The exhibition is divided into six chronological halls and displays thousands of photos, documentation, paintings and newspaper cuttings charting Stalin’s rise from Gori to the Kremlin, via stories of his early bank-robbing days and his several jail terms under tsarist rule.
Highlights include Stalin’s green, private railway carriage, in which he traveled around the Soviet Union in heavily armored seclusion, the dictator’s bronze death mask and the desk from his study in the Kremlin.
Stalin Avenue, Gori. Open daily Apr–Sept 10am–6pm; Oct–Mar 10am–4pm. Admission adults 10 GEL, students 3 GEL, children younger than 18 1 GEL. Gori is 54 miles (87 km) west of Tbilisi; regular buses run from the capital’s central Didube market and a regular train service from the main railway station.