Grūtas Park and Druskininkai resort

Grūtas Park - Several Stalin’s and loads of Lenin’s litter this bizarre, mildly controversial sculpture park near the spa town of Druskininkai. The brainchild of local mushroom millionaire Viliumas Malinauskas, come and gaze upon row after row of retired communist sculptures, collected en mass from their former positions of importance throughout Lithuania. There is a small exhibition in memory of the Lithuanians deported to Siberia after WWII as you come in, an information centre featuring a galaxy of disparate paraphernalia and a path that cleverly evokes what it must have felt like to live surrounded by barbed wire and observation posts for almost 50 years. A small zoo is thoughtfully provided with wild boar in the cages and if you’re hungry there’s a restaurant too.

Druskininkai is one of the oldest health resorts in Lithuania nestling in the pinewoods by the bend of the Nemunas River. Mineral water was discovered there in the 18th century, and a little later one of the best curative mud in Europe was found in Druskininkai.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Druskininkai was a resort popular with the rich, which was frequented by noblemen from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Warsaw and Vilnius. Beautiful villas reminding us of these days still stand on the bank of Lake Druskonis.

Druskininkai has 9 health centres and one balneological bath, which can serve about 6000 people at a time. The most advanced technologies of diagnostic and treatment along with a wide range of procedures, including underwater massage, Jacuzzi, and the mineral, pearl, oxygen, vertical, herbal and mud baths, are applied at the sanatoriums. All the sanatoriums have pools, saunas, training facilities and beauty parlours. The town also has a spa centre and 7 mineral water springs.

At the end of 2006, an Aqua Park, to be the biggest and most modern in the Baltics, will be launched in Druskininkai. It will offer a large variety of entertainments for both adults and children as well as a wide choice of relaxation procedures.

The scenic nature of Druskininkai and the neighbouring Dzūkija National Park is another “curative” component. A great number of hiking paths, several cycling routes will take you to the most interesting places of the environs, including Švendubrė and other ethnographic villages, and the mystic valley of Raigardas. You can also cycle to the park-museum of Grūtas displaying monsters of the Soviet era or visit the hill-forts of Liškiava and Merkinė on the banks of the rivers. The lovers of water pleasures are offered to go canoeing or kayaking on water routes, enjoy a trip by a steamboat, or go fishing. Druskininkai boasts a large supply of entertainments for active holidays.

Druskininkai is the native town of the world-famous artists, M.K. Čiurlionis and J. Lipchitz, the initiator of Cubism. The town perpetuates their memory. Druskininkai hosts the Čiurlionis Music Festival every year. The resort town also hosts concerts of classical and popular music, poetry evenings, and its art galleries organize a number of exhibitions