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Lithuania - Soviet Architecture in Kaunas

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1. The railway station is the best example of Stalinist architecture.

2. The railway station was built from 1949 to 1953. One can observe the main features of the socialist realism and eventually recognise that it is a building ‘national by its form, but socialist by spirit’.

3. The exterior of Cinema Planeta is an example of original architectural approach in 1964. The interior is equally interesting. It is now transformed into a food, books, cloth and flowers market. It is a very busy and interesting place to visit.

4.The former Baltijos Hotel, which currently serves as studios for students, is typical example of the modern Soviet approach. It was built in 1967. There are still a few interesting decorative elements in the interior, but overall it is a typical modern building of the 60s; not very different from those of the same age in western cities.

5. Some 100 metres north in the same street, Jonas Navakas (the architect of Baltijos) designed an apartment building with shops in the ground floor. Currently, the exterior of the building is not in very good condition.

6. Built in 1978, Kauno Paveikslu Galerija is the building I spent more time as there is a nice and lively café bar ‘Cultura’ crowded with students from the nearby university premises.

7. This is huge modern style building which is under major renovation works. Actually, one can’t see the original building but colourful panels that make the works less disturbing.

8. The National theatre is a unique building splendidly renovated a few years ago. Originally built in 50s has equally interesting exterior and interior. We have enjoyed a theatre piece ‘Aušros pažadas’ (Promise at Dawn) of Romain Gary.

9. Further to the excellent interior decoration, a very interesting photography exhibition of Ignas Maldus captures the condition of the theatre before the renovation works.

10.‘Britanikos Hotel’ is one of the buildings of the Soviet era, which was left unfinished due to lack of funding. In Kaunas, people call these concrete structures ghosts and monsters. I took this photograph from the second floor of the Zilinskas gallery. On the top of the building, one can see part of the word ‘nebeprisikiškiakopūstlapiaujančiuosiuose’, which is the longest word in Lithuanian with 40 letters. The word means the men who aren't gathering enough wood sorrel's leaves by themselves!

11. Mykolas Zilinskas gallery is a marvellous building of post-modern style. It is one of the last constructions of the Soviet era, finished in 1989.

12. The yard of Mykolas Zilinskas gallery is one of the most impressing places in Kaunas. Oscillating between the post-modern and the totalitarian design, it is equally interesting day and night.

13. Typical apartment buildings in Silainiai, a suburb of Kaunas. This suburb was built as a micro-district in the 1980s. It covers 25 hectares and houses about 70,000 people.

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