Saturday, 25 September 2010

Visit to Vilnius

Last week I had to go to Vilnius on business. As always on business trips you get tantalising glimpses of fascinating place without the time to explore; work gets in the way! the country has a fascinating history although from the thirties to the nineties it suffered greatly. First invasion by Germany and then the era of the Soviet occupation.  I did manage a visit to the old KGB building which is now a museum dedicated to the Genocide Victims.
On the outside are the names of a few of the early victims of the reign of terror.

Inside I found it very chilling and macabre. There was not much to see in the cells; the were mainly bare and empty, but somehow the knowledge of what went on; the brutal beatings, the solitary confinement sometime in freezing water, the padded cell so that screams went unheard gave it a very disturbing atmosphere. Upstairs there was an exhibition of what happened and how the partisans fought back against overwhelming odds. There are pictures and stories of Catholic Priests and Bishops who opposed the Soviet regime; they too perished here or in exile in Siberia.
Isolation cells
I felt quite ashamed that this had gone on in my lifetime and that I knew nothing about it. Mans inhumanity to man knows no boundaries.
The city itself is interesting, there is a lovely cathedral and the people are friendly and welcoming.
 On the last evening some of the locals that we were working with took us out into the country to a restaurant serving typical food, very good and filling to say the least!

All in all a very interesting place and one more on the list of things to do and places to see.

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