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FutureStarrA Gori Georgia
You may know the name, but do you know what it is? Gori Georgia is a type of rice. But it’s not just any rice. The unique taste, texture, and fragrance make this rice an unforgettable and original cooking ingredient.
A settlement known here from the Hellenistic period, with the Gori Fortress built at least in 7th century, it received a town status in the 12th century. Gori was an important military stronghold in the Middle Ages and maintains a strategic importance due to its location on the principal highway connecting eastern and western parts of Georgia. In the course of its history, Gori has been invaded by the armies of regional powers several times. The city was occupied by Russian troops during the 2008 Russo–Georgian War.
Gori and its environs house several notable cultural and historical landmarks. Although for many foreigners Gori is principally known as the birthplace of Joseph Stalin, in Georgian historical memory the city has long been associated with its citadel, the Gori Fortress, which is built on a cliffy hill overlooking the central part of the modern city. On another hill stands the 18th century St. George's church of Gorijvari, a popular place of pilgrimage. The famous ancient rock-hewn town of Uplistsikhe and the 7th century Ateni Sioni Church are located not far from Gori. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)
You may have heard about the famous tall bronze statue of Stalin in Gori's main square (Stalin Square) in front of the town hall, which was one of the last few ones that was left standing after de-Stalinization in the USSR following the man's death in 1953, and also after Georgia gained independence, when it was even defended by the people of Gori. But unfortunately (?) it is no longer there today. It was torn down one day in June 2010 in the middle of the night. It was reported that a new monument related to the 2008 war should take its place (www.bbc.co.uk/news/10412097). At the time of my visit in August 2010, however, the spot where the statue once stood was still empty. The old Stalin statue, on the other hand, will be re-erected outside the Stalin Museum. When I was there, the foundations for the plinth were already being laid and a large photomontage-ed poster showed an artist's impression of what the place will look like once the work is finished – which may well be the case by the time you read this.
Marshrutka fares you normally pay on board, for buses you need to buy a ticket from a window outside the station's large waiting/market hall. The fares are very cheap (I think I paid something like 3-4 GEL for a single ticket). The buses tend to be very old Soviet models that spew out black plumes of smoke whenever they have to go slightly uphill (which happens a lot in Georgia) and are very slow – but it's an experience! The journey takes about one and a half to two hours. (Source: www.dark-tourism.com)