Edit Blog Post
Published: July 18th 2010
Museum of Genocide Victims
No photos allowed inside, so the next best thing.
Well, considering I hadn’t slept in almost 48 hours, no real surprise that I when I woke up it 10:30am. Then I rolled over and it was 12:30pm. One more roll, and 1:30pm.
I basically threw clothes on and left the hostel haha - way to sleep half the day away. I started with a walk down towards the Museum of Genocide Victims, about 20min away. The walk was nice - some nice churches along the way, and of course, great graffiti.
The museum was very well put together - it’s actually housed in the old Gestapo headquarters, which then became the KGB headquarters and prison. The main floor talked about the lead-up to WW2, while the second floor was mostly the Soviet aftermath (deportations, occupation, the partisan war, etc.) They also had a wing about the workings of the KGB in Vilnius, and Lithuania as a whole.
What made the museum so effective was the limited use of words and facts. That might sound odd, but hear me out. Each room had a giant billboard with the historical background of whatever the room was going to talk about (specific time-frame, the deportations, German VS Russian
battle etc), but then once you went into the display area… it was mostly photos, letters and objects with captions… so you really had to take time to read all the little captions, to soak it all in. It really hit home - it was powerful seeing all those faces, all those personal stories… very well done.
The KGB wing was interesting as well because they recreated the “glory room” - apparently the KGB used to have this room singing the praises of their work. So creepy. They also had a recreation of the “eavesdropping” rooms, with switchboards and TVs and the whole deal… also, very creepy.
Creepiest part of the whole museum though, by far, was the basement - the old prison area. It’s hard to explain the feeling you get down there… if you’ve had this experience you’ll understand, if not… you won’t - I had the same feeling when I went to Dachau, and when I was in one of the areas of the old prison (the youth hostel) in Ottawa… just this overwhelming sense of emptiness and dread. Not a good feelings.
After the museum I headed back towards the Old Town -
to the Cathedral and the Tower. I don’t know if they were doing some work on the Tower, or what, but when I got there at 4:40pm it was already closed… I was not amused. I went to the Cathedral and looked around in there - gorgeous building. I lit a few “lampions” again, and had a nice chat with this little old man who didn’t really speak English… but that’s ok =)
I grabbed supper after that - down towards the Gates of Dawn, so I passed a whole other whack of churches lol. Supper was good - I got pancakes stuffed with mashed potatoes and bacon, and mushroom sauce. With a coffee cocktail of some sort - soooo good. Pancake was good too - the mashed potatoes tasted like my Grandma’s haha, not as good of course.
I headed to the Bastion, more of the back alleyways, and finally up towards the Vilnius Castle Complex - the Upper Castle (well, what’s left of it…) is up on a big hill, so I had to climb it for the view of the city of course! The park around the hill had some great artwork, and I had
fun watching the cops buzz around on their SEGWAYS. Awesome haha.
Anyway, I climbed the hill - worst cobblestone road/sidewalk… ever - but the view was worth it. After that I came back to the hostel - full day, yay.
Tomorrow I’m going to attempt a day trip to the Hill of Crosses… let’s see how that works out haha.
Tot: 2.897s; Tpl: 0.058s; cc: 6; qc: 47; dbt: 0.0463s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.4mb