- CRITTER TALK
One of the most bizarre theme parks in the world must be Grūtas Park (unofficially known as Stalin’s World; Lithuanian: Grūto parkas) it is a sculpture garden of salvaged Soviet-era statues and an exposition of other Soviet ideological relics from the times of the Lithuanian SSR. Founded in 2001 by entrepreneur Viliumas Malinauskas, the park is located near Druskininkai, about 80 miles southwest of Vilnius, Lithuania.
After independence from the Soviet Union in 1990, 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 86 statues in Grūtas Park were organized into spheres. The Totalitarian Sphere, the Terror Sphere, the Soviet Sphere, the Red Sphere, the Occupation Sphere and the Death Sphere contain all kinds of communist art reflecting Lithuania’s gruesome past.
Its establishment faced some fierce opposition, and its existence is still controversial. Some ideas originally meant to be a part of the park were never allowed. Examples include transporting the visitors in a Gulag-style train. Grūtas Park and its founder Malinauskas won the 2001 Ig Nobel Peace Prize.
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