PHOTOS

Take a Break From the Games at Joseph Stalin’s Sochi Villa

PHOTOS
Jan 29, 2014 at 1:04 PM ET

Ah, Sochi. Home to balmy February temperatures, snowless ski slopes and Olympic levels of political corruption.

And of course, there’s the number one tourist destination in all of Russia: Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s former vacation home.

While most of the 213,000 Winter Olympics visitors will stick to traditional Olympic venues—the bobsled arena, the borscht lunch cart, their warm, safe hotel rooms—some political junkies will spice up their trips with informative visits to Stalin’s dacha, or villa.

As they should! The villa, which Stalin constructed in 1937, is a glorious spa complex, complete with mineral baths, a billiards room and an indoor pool. Known as Green Groves, the dacha features interconnected buildings painted in many shades of green.

Its reviews are glowing. Per one TripAdvisor user: “The whole place had a very uneasy feeling.” Says another: “Everything in the house…is made in a way to help the paranoid crazy man feel safer.”

Not traveling to Sochi? Fear not. Below, we take you on a virtual tour of the luxe villa.

Welcome to Green Groves, festooned with green, jail-like gates and equally green balconies!

Enter the villa in style.

Take a mental health break at Sanatorium Green Grove. It’s Russia’s “Rancho Relaxo,” where the greatest Soviet mass murderer in history came when the burden of effecting disappearances weighed too heavily on his shoulders.

Here’s the villa’s so-called “cinema hall.” It’s no movie theater, rather a cavernous monument to a life-size wax sculpture of Stalin. According to one TripAdvisor visitor, Stalin’s ornate velvet curtains were cut from the ground, leaving space between the floor and the window covers “to prevent anyone hiding behind them.”

A serene and mustachioed Stalin sits in his study behind a turquoise orb-lamp. One (creepy!) previous visitor and user of TripAdvisor remarks: “You can actually touch everything including the wax figure of the Psychotic and Paranoid leader himself.”

Next up, Stalin’s billiards room, which the interior designer outfitted with a robin-egg blue pool table and preppy, leafy wallpaper. Rumor has it that visitors can still play with Stalin’s (weighted) pool cue. Maybe true: All the snooker balls are reds.

Enter Stalin’s wood-paneled boardroom, featuring a restrained featured a restrained Art Deco grandfather clock and mantlepiece. TripAdvisor made no mention of hidden passageways behind the paneling, but we all know they’re there.

Here, Stalin’s unofficial “chess” room, in which lies Stalin’s oversize chess board. Rumor has it that Joseph and his fellow commies, prune-handed from their long days in the mineral tubs, retreated to the chess table after dinner for games of the mind.

Last but not certainly not least: Stalin’s tiled indoor pool, where the dictator, channeling his inner Jordan Belfort, reportedly hosted weekend bacchanals. You can, too! If you dare. (Hot water not supplied.)