Grutas Parks is a fascinating cultural center that exhibits Soviet era relics and statues in its museum and sculpture garden.
From 1989 to 1991, when Lithuania regained its independence, Soviet monuments were dismantled and dumped throughout the country. In an effort to preserve the monuments but with little money to do so, the government allowed Lithuanian entrepreneur Viliumas Malinauskas to open this self-funded sculpture park in 2001 near the town of Druskininkai.
Spread over 20 hectares (49 acres), Grutas Park has 86 monuments and statues set among re-creations of Soviet prison camps, guard towers and barbed-wire fences. Here you’ll find statues of the main Communist leaders and thinkers, including Lenin, Stalin and Marx, leaders of the Red Terror and the Red Army. The set-up is designed to help visitors understand the impact of Soviet ideology on the Lithuanian people.
The park also includes a gallery of paintings and graphics in the Soviet realism style. There’s an on-site cafe, a large playground (Lunapark) and a mini zoo to keep the kids entertained.
Grutas park is located near Druskininkai, about 130 kilometres (81mi) southwest of Vilnius.