The Game’s Over, Boys

I hadn’t even finished my tour around the Vilnius Palace of Concerts and Sports, when I already had spotted something in the woods. A majestic gate surrounded by an old fence.

The place seemed a little strange. It looked like another monument, but it also looked like being demolished at the same time. And monumental places rarely fit my idea of what should be demolished.

It soon became clear that the place was a football stadium, and it was in a very bad shape.

I couldn’t follow the fence all around the place because of other structures, so I did a quick Googling while walking the streets. The stadium was the Zalgiris Stadium built by the Soviets in the 1930’s and rebuilt in the 1950’s in place of the old Jewish cemetery. It was also used by the Lithuanian national football team, but lost its meaning as another stadium in Kaunas was renovated and a modern stadium was built in Vilnius.

No matter how graceful it once had been, the stadium was indeed being demolished to make way for new property development.

Even the backside of the scoreboard was made of concrete.

Demolition had started about a year earlier, and so far a little under half of the stadium was down including the main stand.

I took a walk araound and ended up near the old gates, where demolition had started.

On the left you can see the new buildings replacing the stadium.

And a final look at the huge scoreboard, which had seen decades of Soviet and Lithuanian sporting history. Unfortunately aerial photos from 2021 show, that the stadium has been completely demolished despite its once so graceful appearance.

When walking back towards my hotel I saw several buildings of interest. Unfortunately my holiday was ending, so there was no more exploring to do.

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