Grūtas Park – Gruta, Lithuania - Atlas Obscura

Grūtas Park

Gruta, Lithuania

Open-air museum with a large collection of Soviet-era statues. 


Grūtas Park is an open-air museum near a small resort town Druskininkai (about 130 km southwest of capital town Vilnius), with a large collection of Soviet-era statues and an exposition of other Soviet ideological relics from the times of the Lithuanian Soviet era.

After Lithuania regained its independence in 1990, various Soviet statues were taken down and dumped in different places. Local businessman requested the Lithuanian authorities to grant him the possession of the sculptures, so that he could build a privately-financed museum. This Soviet-theme park was created in the wetlands of the Dzūkija National Park. Many of its features are re-creations of Soviet Gulag prison camps: wooden paths, guard towers, and barbed-wire fences.

Its establishment faced some fierce opposition, and its existence is still controversial. These statues stand as symbols of the cruelty and absurdity of the Soviet regime and show the manipulations performed with historical facts. Some ideas originally meant to be a part of the park were never allowed.

However such a large concentration of monuments and sculptures of ideological content in a single out-door exposition is a rare phenomenon in the world.

The park also contains playgrounds, a mini-zoo and cafes, all containing relics of the Soviet era. On special occasions actors stage re-enactments of various Soviet-sponsored festivals.

Know Before You Go

2 km away from a small Lithuanian resort town Druskininkai ant about 130 km southwest from the capital city Vilnius

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March 9, 2010

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