Trakai National Park

Trip Start May 01, 2009
Trip End May 22, 2009

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

   This morning I woke up early in oder to squeeze in the last bit of touring possible. I first went to Trakai National Park and Trakai Castle. This a popular get away for local Lithuanians who want to enjoy nature and water. Trakai Castle is located on a small island in the lake. Since the castle is red, the color contrasts with the blue water make it extra beautiful. The history of Trakai dated back to the 1400's that King Vytaus may have made Trakai his capital instead. There is also a group a Turkic people sent here from middle east to work as Royal guards back in the 1400's, they are the disappearing minority here in Lithuania that only 280 of them are remaining.

   As I was touring Trakai, there are large goups of school childrens doing their day trips to the area. When they saw me, since they have NEVER seen Asians, they started calling me Yapon thinking I am from Japan. Very funny.

   Mext I returned to Vilnius and visited the Gediminas castle top, Applied art museum, SS Peter and Paul cathedral as well as the KGB museum.  The Gediminas castle top has very breathtaking view of the city from the old town ot the new town.  The SS Peter and Paul Cathedral is probably the most beautifully decorated cathedral there is in Vilnius, at least for its interior. All the walls are covered with relief, angles, skeletons, figurines. Very different from the other cathedrals I have seen.  

   The most interesting museum I seen so far has to be the KGB museum or the Museum of Genocide victims. This museum portrays the suffering that the Lithuanians had to endure during the Soviet occupation from 1939 til 1991. The Soviets deported, murdered and toutured tens of thousand of Lithuanians. One floor depicts the victims of deportation, one floor depicts the partisan resistance movement for independence.  The basement is about KGB police. IT actually recreated the KGB office, prison cell and let toursit take a glimps into the prison slife under KGB. The KGB used bugging devise to eavdrop on foreign tourists and citizens of Lithuania SSR to prevent any negative comment against the Soviets. The prisons shows confinement room, tourture room with padded walls the prevent the voice of agonizing torture from escaping the cell.  There is a water cell where is floor is covered with ice cold water and only a small platform in the middle where the prisoner must balance on the small platform or else they fall into the cold water. Then there is KGB office with communicating devises. There is a the exercise yard where the prisoners are allowed to walk 30 min a day. The shower is small and all the prisoners are herded in for shower once a month. The guard get ot control if the water is cold or hot and they would suddenly change them just to watch the prisoners scream.  The most dreaded room is the death chamber. This is where thousands of people were kills by gun shot, axe, 4 edge blunt aobject all causing serious damage to the skull. 

     This evening I will heading off to Riga then Moscow and home. Its been a great trip.

     Thanks for Reading.
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