Chernobyl-like Amusement Park of the Soviet Era in Lithuania

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Photo by Mantas Ališauskas

Prologue for Amusement

The more creative of you could probably imagine some real-life ruins of Roman or any other given ancient Empire. My favorite example is found in Crete, notorious home of Zeus. Knossos — the Capital city of an ancient power-house Minoan Civilization. Now nothing, but a few pillars. Mysteriously came to an end as everything else at the end of Bronze Age around 1200 BC. Some blame even more mysterious Sea People, which were, perhaps, climate refugees?

Silence in the Children World

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Devils Wheel in Elektrenai Amusement Park. Photo Mantas Ališauskas

Though I‘ve never been to Pripyat, from the photos, I found on the internet, both amusements parks are looking pretty similar. The only difference is that the inhabitants of Elektrėnai got their fun and those of Pripyat didn‘t. These modern Soviet boroughs had their dark secrets and, obviously, it sooner or later somebody had to pay for it. Nevertheless, those who managed to avoid the consequences, I bet, enjoyed the benefits.

Nowadays, there are plenty of modern alternatives to all the fun found in Elektrėnai and its glory days soon to be forgotten by the younger generations. New projects are built instead of the old ones. For better or worse, Elektrėnai Amusement Park is one of those places.

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Silence in the Children World. Photo Mantas Ališauskas

Elektrėnai Thermal Power Plant

Elektrėnai

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Yacht Club by Elektrėnai Lagoon with the Thermal Power Plant in the Background. Photo Mantas Ališauskas

The whole landscape was shifted in the building of Elektrėnai. In the words of Lithuanian politician and geographer, Ceslovas Kudaba:

Every city has its own reason for existence. Some were started as a castle, others as a harbor or a crossroad. Sanatoriums and resorts found themselves by mineral water streams. Today it is not uncommon for boroughs to be built by the strategic resource gathering or processing plants ran by big growing companies.

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The Blessed Virgin Mary Martyrs Queen Church of Elektrenai. Photo Mantas Ališauskas

The location of Elektrėnai is nowhere close to being random, situated 47 km Vilnius and 55 km to Kaunas, somewhere in the middle of two most populous cities in Lithuania. Today these cities combined make up almost one-third of the country‘s total population.

Meanwhile, with a population of 13,644, Elektrėnai is the 26th largest city in Lithuania. It is no Memphis, but its population is relatively stable and community is healthy. Elektrėnai positions themselves as the city of sports, it is famous for its Ice Hockey team and other sports on the ice, water sports on Elektrėnai Lagoon and occasionally hosts rally events.

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Elektrėnai Rally. Photo Mantas Ališauskas

History of Elektrėnai

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Electricity Pole in Elektrėnai. Photo Mantas Ališauskas

As the name suggests the town was built on the sole purpose to maintain Elektrėnai thermal power plant, today it has proven to be much more than that. In fact, Elektrėnai could be called an older cousin of Visaginas, which is Pripyat equivalent in Lithuania, and was built to support Chernobyl-like Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant. Back in the days, these boroughs were well-planned modern towns designed and built to maintain any needs of the modern people.

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Shooting Elektrėnai Amusemnt Park in Action. Photo Jonas Kryžanauskas

City of Sports

Regardless water sports opportunities, Elektrėnai is most famous for its Ice Hockey. In 1977, the town became home to the first modern indoor ice skating rink in Lithuania. This made Elektrėnai the Capital of Ice Hockey in the country. The best-known players of this sport — D. Zubrus and D. Kasparaitis were born and trained in this town.

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The Ice Palace in Elektrėnai. Photo Mantas Ališauskas

The Ice Palace remained the only well-equipped skating rink Lithuania for a long time. Even though I lived in the Capital, I have a scar on my face from one of the visits to the skating rink in my childhood. Those days it was a popular destination for school tours. Sadly, after my accident, I don‘t think any class from my school went there ever again.

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Cash Desk in Elektrėnai Amusement Park. Photo Mantas Ališauskas

Elektrėnai Amusement Park „Children World“

Built: 1986

Closed: 2013

Date of visit: 2019 13th July

To be destroyed: 2020

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In the Soviet Union roller coasters were called „American mountains“, the term is still used in Lithuania, and I don’t doubt, the same influence was done to other Post-Soviet countries. Photo Mantas Ališauskas
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Some engineers used to be joking that it was called that way because only American could build something unsafe as this. Photo Mantas Ališauskas
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From what I read on the forums, some Western Europeans claim that roller coasters are called „Russian Mountains“ in their native language. Probably for the same reason as above. Photo Mantas Ališauskas
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The space theme was popular among the amusement parks across the Soviet Union. Photo Mantas Ališauskas
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Shooting Elektrėnai Amusemnt Park in Action. Photo Jonas Kryžanauskas
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All the objects in the park got repainted several times before its closure. Photo Mantas Ališauskas
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Just a couple of years after the closure, Elektrenai Amusement Park “Children World” got covered by plants. Photo Mantas Ališauskas
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Some of the objects are in dire conditions. Photo Mantas Ališauskas
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Some of the buildings are a popular place for local youngsters to gather. Photo Mantas Ališauskas

Getting to Elektrėnai

By Bus

By Car

By Taxi

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Shooting Elektrėnai Amusemnt Park in Action. Photo Jonas Kryžanauskas

Facilities by Elektrėnai Amusement Park

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Frozen Amusement Park in Elektrenai, Lithuania. Photo Mantas Ališauskas

My impressions of visiting Elektrėnai Amusement Park

By its age, the borough surpassed only its younger cousin — Visaginas, which as I mentioned before was built to support another thermal power plant fueled by the newly invented atomic power. I can only imagine that building these towns consumed a lot of resources and it was backed by a lot of Soviet propaganda. While fixing artificial boroughs could sometimes look like attaching a jacket to the button, from my perspective, today, Elektrėnai looks like a lovely town.

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Amusement Park in Elektrenai, Lithuania. Photo Mantas Ališauskas

There are scars of course, and a lot of things still needs to be fixed based on the actual needs of the people. On one hand, Elektrėnai Amusement Park might be one of the things which need to be fixed, but on the other, it is a perfect monument to demonstrate how the Soviet Union wanted to be perceived. Though in fact, it wasn‘t fun at all.

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Amusement Park in Elektrenai, Lithuania. Photo Mantas Ališauskas
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Elektrėnai, Lithuania Map. Design by Mantas Ališauskas

Is it worth visiting Elektrėnai Amusement Park?

For those who can still make it in the next few months, do it as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of Chernobyl, history, spooky places, or simply abandoned buildings, it is well worth a visit. For others, hopefully, this article will serve not as a guidance, but rather as a friendly reminder that everything of interest is not eternal and that we need to appreciate it in a way so the fellow adventurers could see it later. The Children World will get destroyed sooner or later and it will remain silent until then.

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Originally published at https://ctdots.eu on July 15, 2019.

Travel Blogger, Web Designer & AMP Developer | Travel & History Journal: https://www.ctdots.eu | AMP Development & Web Design Tutorials: https://ampire.city

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