Underground Printing House Museum

Brimming with mystery and historical significance, the Underground Printing House Museum in Tbilisi opens a secret chapter of revolutionary activities conducted between 1903 and 1906. During this period, this clandestine location was a bustling hub for the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks, who printed and disseminated illegal newspapers, books, and proclamations in Georgian, Russian, and Armenian languages throughout the Russian Empire and beyond.

The building was ingeniously designed with dual plans. The first layout depicted a normal residential house, while the second plan revealed its true nature — a labyrinth of hidden basements and secret entrances. The heart of the printing house housed a high-speed printing machine, smuggled piece by piece from Baku and assembled in the covert basement. The fonts, supplied by workers from legal printing houses, added to the perplexing nature of this revolutionary operation.

An ingenuous system was in place to warn the revolutionaries of impending danger — a concealed bell beneath a wall. In March 1906, the building evolved from a printing house into a fortress, housing the military detachment of the Social-Democratic Party. It also transformed into a bomb-making laboratory, amplifying its significance in the upcoming armed uprising.

This burst of revolutionary activity came to a halt on April 15, 1906, when police surrounded the building. During an intensive search, the officers discovered a secret tunnel in a well and set the house ablaze. On that same day, widespread arrests of revolutionaries occurred throughout the city, leading to the capture of significant figures like Datiko Rostomashvili, Filipe Makharadze, and Nina Alajalova.

The printing house, despite its fiery end, was painstakingly restored to its original form in 1937. Today, the reconstructed edifice houses artifacts, photographs, and letters from that revolutionary period, serving as a portal to a past filled with intrigue and defiance. It now belongs to the National Library of the Parliament of Georgia and stands as a poignant monument to the indomitable spirit of the idea.

Located approximately 15 meters (49 feet) below ground in Tbilisi’s Avlabari District, Stalin’s Underground Printing House continues to serve as a testament to the indomitable power of ideas. Open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 06:00 p.m., the museum allows visitors to explore a captivating aspect of pre-Communist history and bear witness to the enduring spirit of revolution.

Nearest to Underground Printing House Museum

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