The FINANCIAL -- The number of visitors at the Georgian National Museum increased by almost 40,000 during the first ten months of 2013, compared with the same period of last year. There are over 188 museums established in Georgia. Meanwhile the majority of foreigners’ interest appears to be in Stalin’s museum.
“Stalin is a part of our history and therefore a tourist attraction. There are billions of people globally for whom Stalin is a historical character and Georgia will use this for its economic benefit,” said Giorgi Sigua, Head of the Georgian National Tourism Administration.
A famous statue of the Soviet dictator was torn down overnight three years ago in his hometown of Gori, which came under Russian bombing.
The Ioseb Stalin museum hosted 5,909 individuals in September 2013, while during the same month of last year it was 3,968. Most of the tourists were from European countries, in particular Poland. Many of the visitors were also from Israel, Russia, China and Iran.
According to the museum’s administration, out of local citizens only 63 individuals visited the museum this year.
The total number of guests hosted by the Stalin museum was 31,665 in 2012.
The Ioseb Stalin Museum in Gori consists of a memorial house where Stalin was born. It consists of an exposition building with tower and Stalin’s personal coach with its original interior, by which he travelled to Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam. The museum houses Stalin’s personal things, a study room of the Kremlin, manuscripts, gifts from all over the world, Stalin’s mask, and paintings of various painters, including L. Gudiashvili, E. Akhvlediani, V. Serov and S. Semenov.
The Georgian National Museum (GNM) has hosted in total 151,732 visitors from January through to October 2013, according to the number of tickets sold. The number of visitors was 112,394 during the same period of 2012.
“The number of visitors at museums increases from May to October. In addition to the activation of the tourist season, for example the work schedule of the Dmanisi Museum and Reserve are seasonal and are open to visitors from May to October,” Ana Verulashvili, official from the GNM, told The FINANCIAL.
The GNM, established at the end of 2004, incorporates museums around Georgia, the National Gallery, house-museums, scientific centres and depots, in total 21.
The sum received from sold tickets at GNM amounted to GEL 471, 950 from January-October 2013. The income was GEL 348,765.50 during the ten months of 2012.
“In accordance with the location, profile and diverse collections of the museums it is difficult to specifically identify the most visited museum. However, it should be noted that this year the History and Ethnography Museum of Svaneti gained the special interest of visitors,” said Verulashvili.
The Svaneti Museum was renewed in July 2013. The History of Svaneti Museum is almost a century old. After the rehabilitation of the museum, exhibition halls were equipped in a modern way according to the latest standards. Restoration laboratories and storage spaces were created. Now the museum has 6 permanent exposition halls. Visitors have an amazing opportunity to travel inside the museum and see exponents discovered during archaeological excavations and numismatic samples. The museum has special halls of Christian treasures, where visitors have the opportunity to see IX-XVIII century masterpieces of world importance such as: the Icon of the Forty Sebastian Martyrs, Embroidered Byzantine Icon, Venetian Cross, jug donated by Queen Tamar, earliest remaining sample of illustrated manuscript - the Adishi Gospels (897) and more. The last exhibition hall in the museum is dedicated to the exponents of Georgian Ethnography.
According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the number of museums across Georgia amounted to 188 in 2012, up from 183 from the previous year. 993,700 individuals visited Georgian museums in 2012, the number was 705,100 in 2011.
The top most visited museums include: the Uplitsikhe Historical-Architectural Museum-Reserve, Ivane Javakhishvili Samtskhe-Javakheti Historical Museum, Gonio Apsarus Archaeological-Architectural Museum Reserve, Vardzia Historical-Architectural Museum-Reserve and Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia.