Grūtas Park (Grūto parkas) is a sculpture garden of Soviet-era statues and an exposition of other Soviet ideological relics from the times of the Lithuanian SSR. After Lithuania regained its independence in 1990, various Soviet statues were taken down and dumped in different places. Viliumas Malinauskas 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.

The exposition, consisting of 86 statues by 46 different sculptors, is organized into spheres. Each of the statues features a Soviet or socialist activist, many of them ethnic Lithuanians. The Totalitarian Sphere features sculptures of the main Communist leaders and thinkers, including Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Karl Marx. The Terror Sphere is dedicated to sculptures of founders of the Communist Party of Lithuania (Zigmas Aleksa-Angarietis, Vincas Mickevičius-Kapsukas) and officers of the Red Army (Feliksas Baltušis-Žemaitis, Ieronim Uborevich). It also has a sculpture of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the organizer of the Red Terror.

The Soviet Sphere includes sculptures of the four leaders of Lithuanian Communists, executed in the aftermath of the 1926 Lithuanian coup d'état, and activists of the Lithuanian–Soviet War of 1918–1919. The Red Sphere is dedicated to Soviet partisans, including Marytė Melnikaitė. The Occupation and Death Spheres showcase the brutal side the Soviet regime: mass deportations, suppression of the Lithuanian partisans, etc.w

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A4, Grūtas, Lithuania
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Founded: 2001
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4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

RichHomiePug Pug (7 months ago)
Great Soviet statues and a beautiful park. However, the animals that were kept there, were held in unacceptable conditions.
Clive Milton (8 months ago)
A blend of the natural and the absurd. Many Soviet-era icons, surrounded by an eclectic petting zoo, randomly out of context. The back story is dark and without any comic value. The collection symbolises what I love about this country and its people; the ability to take a sideswipe at history and, whilst not lessening the historical significance, poke fun at its earlier slave masters. Visit. Whether in bright sunshine or deep snow
Stuart Menges (9 months ago)
Just bizarre and awesome at the same time. Come for the Lenin, stay for the lovely soviet ambiance. Its... Strange.
Eric Foley (11 months ago)
Interesting place to see old statues, propaganda artwork, etc. They also have a zoo and a big playground to entertain the kids. It is interesting to see the Soviet playground equipment, and it is interesting to see how low Soviet safety standards were. There is a ship swing that seems particularly dangerous if you were to walk in front of it not paying attention!
A Z (13 months ago)
a good place to spend time with your family. Older people will be able to remember those times, and younger ones will play in the playground. I liked the cafe and advised you to take care of the guide, it will be much more interesting. Far away from Vilnius
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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.