Man patinka Lietuva

I like Lithuania – a visitor's point of view


Former soviet republic? Where’s the evidence?

Lithuania underwent a transformation after independence in 1991 and wanted to shake off its former soviet image.

They removed much evidence of the former soviet times but some they kept.

P1000342The statues on the green bridge in Vilnius, fine examples of socialist realism, were kept but other statuary was removed and many pieces ended up in the Grutas Park.

P1000793 P1000801The original three crosses on the hill were pulled down by the soviets and buried but new ones were made and the old ones uncovered and left there with the chains to show the world what had happened.

At the parliament building they have kept part of the barricade they set up to stop tanks entering the parliament building. There are also smaller replicas set out around the building to show the extent of the original barricade.

And not far from the statue of Grand Duke Gediminas in a corner of  the cathedral square is a stone monument celebrating 650 years of Vilnius’s role as capital of Lithuania. If you look closely you can see an oblong recess where they removed the  cyrillic script.

P1000885And while you are in the area look for the the Stebuklas or miracle tile which marks the end of the human wall that stretched from Tallinn to Vilnius in 1989. If you find it stand on it, turn clockwise three times and make a wish!P1000501


The First Swallows in Vilnius

P1000228The sculpture First Swallows (Pirmosios kregzdes) was designed by the Lithuanian sculptor Juozas Mikenas and erected in 1964. At first I thought it symbolised something new, or a fresh start, but it predates independence by almost 30 years. It’s a good example of socialist realism and is one of the few sculptures from Soviet times which still exists in Vilnius.

The sculpture is located between Konstitucijos pr. and the right bank of the Neris river, just inbetween the two bridges Baltasis tiltas and Gelezinio Vilko tiltas.