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Gori is located at the confluence of the Kura and Liakhi Rivers in the picturesque Kartlia Valley. Another lovely town with views of mountains on two sides, it is also the birthplace of Josef Stalin. The town attracts visitors to his monuments, including a memorial museum, his home and armor-plated train car. Multi-level Gori Castle, Goris Tsikhe rises atop a large hill in the heart of the city. Conquered by the Roman General Pompey, the current ruins remain from after a later Mongol invasion.
Close by is Uplistsikhe, easily one of the oldest existing cities in Georgia. Founded in the 16th century BC and carved out of rock, it was a major centre of pagan worship until the country's conversion to Christianity. With a surrounding moat and gates to four directions, hundreds of stone structures; living and communal spaces were joined by footpaths, and archaeologists have uncovered artifacts from several time periods. The Mongols hastened the city's decline in the 12th century, yet it remained inhabited as a stop along the Silk Road until the 15th century. There is a Greek style amphitheatre overlooking the river, a 9th century church and an intriguing cave tunnel which leads out of the city to the riverside. Hidden under layers of earth and sand, archaeologists continue to uncover and restore this outstanding historical monument.