Soviet Landmark (Vilnius)

Vilnius city center is characterized above all by baroque, Gothic and renaissance constructions so I was really surprised when, from a hill, I saw an impressive soviet looking building standing like a huge vessel on the other side of the river Neris.

Vilnius city center is characterized above all by baroque, Gothic and renaissance constructions so I was really surprised when, from a hill, I saw an impressive soviet looking building standing like a huge vessel on the other side of the river Neris. I felt an irresistible urge to have a closer look, so I crossed the river and found myself facing the Palace of Culture, Entertainment and Sports, a 15, 000 square meter sized multi-purpose building dating from 1971.

The architects (Eduardas Chlomauskas, Jonas Kriukelis, Zigmantas Liandzbergis) received a national prize for Lithuanian modernism but I guess, due to the fact that it is precisely a Soviet icon in the city, the building stands nowadays empty and seems very much abandoned in spite of having been placed under preservation.

I loved the place and had a photographic rush while hanging around it. I particularly liked the somewhat nostalgic atmosphere that surround historic sites from times gone forever and that reveals itself especially in small details like the flag poles now standing empty at the front and the crumbling diving platforms that you can see at the back of the building where I guess the swimming pool complex might once have been. Shame I couldn’t have a look from the inside!

written by jelga on 2008-10-14 in #world #locations

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