A few months ago, Neil Woodburn introduced us to Grutas Park, in Lithuania. The park, also known as “Stalin’s World,” is a beautiful park filled with statues of some of Communism’s truly horrible leaders. Neil described this park as his personal favourite, saying “the contrast of evil men against this beautiful landscape is truly unnerving.”
Well, apparently, CNN.com agrees it’s worth knowing about: the site is currently featuring an article on the quirky park. Apparently hundreds of thousands of visitors a year visit the park, owned by Viliumas Malinauskas, a Lithuanian millionaire. The park can be navigated via the wooden walkways built to replicate those which existed in Siberian prison camps, weirdly juxtaposed by a merry-go-round, a restaurant and a zoo.
Some of the visitors don’t like the park, finding it verging on the macabre. “He does not care about painful history of Lithuania. What is purpose of this park? To laugh at our pain?” asks Juozas Galdikas, a former Parliament member, about Malinauskas.
“Why I am doing this? It’s my gift to future generations,” responds Malinauskas. “People can come here and joke about these grim statues. This means that Lithuania is no longer afraid of communism.”
Truly odd. And yet … I find myself quite intrigued.
Has anyone out there ever visited this park? What was your impression?