Around Tbilisi there are a lot of things to see and explore. Wineries, century old churches and paganistic temples for example. But also the museum about one of the most well-known dictators the world has ever known.
A good day trip from the capital of Georgia is Gori. The city itself is not that special to see. The reason the town is worth going to because one of the biggest political leaders that Russia has known, was from this place. Ioseb dze Besarionis Dzjoegasjvili, better known as Jozef Stalin, was born here in 1878. Generally, people from the city are still very proud he was from Gori and that is why there was a museum set up in the fifties especially for him, so people could learn about his life.
The subject of the museum nowadays is questioned. Some parties say it is Russian propaganda, others think it is just a museum where the life story of Stalin is being told. The exhibition basically shows the rise and fall of the leader, but it is also very much about his personal life. If you want to learn more about the bad things that happened under his reign, you are not in the right place though. During the tour there are literally only four sentences mentioned about this.
After this short stop in the basement of the museum, you are being quickly sent outside where you can visit his personal train carriage. He traveled to Yalta and Teheran with it (he was afraid to fly) and as the carriage is from the forties it is actually a nice thing to see I think.
More info on the museum over here.
The settlement of Uplistsikhe is located in the heart of Georgia and very close to Tbilisi on the way to Gori. Dating back to the early Iron age it is probably one of the oldest towns in the country. Originally it was used for Pagan rites and archaeologists found a couple of temples within the settlement where gods and goddesses were worshiped.
But as the country turned Christian, a church was build on top of it. On the other side you have a beautiful view over the valley. It is a great place to wander around, but at the top it can be pretty windy as you can see. There are more ways to explore the place and walking all the way down, we came across some obstacles. We got some help from a nice man and it was a nice little adventure.
1. A trip to Gori could be done as a day trip from Tbilisi. The city is easily accessible by bus from the main bus station in the capital. It is just an hour and when you sit at the right side of the bus you have a pretty cool view over the Caucasus mountains!
2. You can go back by bus (and by train I believe), but also by taxi as we did. It’s very cheap (about 3 euros) and the taxi driver took us to Uplistsikhe and a small church with incredible view over the mountains.