The Green Bridge

If you are in Vilnius you will definitely have to cross Neris river going through one of Vilnius bridges. One of the most famous bridges is the Green Bridge (Žaliasis tiltas) which is well known for its Soviet sculptures decorating its ends.

A bridge in the same place where the Green Bridge is now located for the first was marked on a map in 1386. Perhaps then it was not called the Green Bridge yet, however, as the junction linking two shores of Neris river was built there more than 600 years ago, necessity of a bridge at the same place remained until nowadays. The “Green”  name was given to this structure in 1739 when it was painted in green color. In 1944 the bridge was burst by Germans and rebuilt in 1952. It was times of Soviet occupation, thus there is nothing to be surprised about that Soviets made a point of decorating the newly built bridge construction with sculptures reflecting Soviet ideology. The bridge was projected by the then working Leningrad Institute of Projecting and built by Russian unit of engineers.

4 strangely looking Soviet sculptures imaging Soviet ideals of communism people nowadays are pretty derelict, but still – eye catching. In Lithuania these sculptures have recently became an object of discussions dividing society into 2 parts: one part that is eager to demolish these sculptures and delete the Soviet signs in Vilnius city and another side, declaring necessity to leave and maintain these objects of unique Soviet heritage because they can let Lithuanians remember tough times and also help them not to surrender in a future. While remotely watching this disagreement, Russian Federation has offered  financial support for Vilnius municipality for renovation of sculptures and of the bridge. But Vilnius municipality did not take long to decide not to take the support from Russian Federation. This decision rejecting generous Russian offer was made because of simple necessity to show that Lithuania can take care of its own possession without any help and only when Lithuanians, but not foreigners decide.

Nowadays many people cross the bridge every day. As it is located very close to city centre the Green Bridge is laden with quite a busy traffic. But usually local people do not pay big attention to these obvious Soviet signs appearing almost in Vilnius city centre as they got used to seeing the sculptures and do not imagine the Green Bridge without young strong stone communists standings on its ends.