The KGB Building in Vilnius, A Stark Memorial

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An imposing and horrific reminder of the Soviet era, the old KGB building in Vilnius has been reshaped into a museum to honor its victims.

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KGB Vilnius

Walking down the main street in Vilnius, you can’t help but notice the KGB Museum. About two blocks from the cathedral, it stands tall and wide, imposing. The lower walls are covered in granite plaques recounting names and dates of people who were tortured or killed there.

KGB Vilnius

The building has a varied history. It has been an integral part of all of Vilnius’ history from the Russian court in the early 1900s to Gestapo Headquarters during World War II, and then the dreaded use of it for imprisoning Lithuanian freedom fighters during the Soviet period between 1944 until their independence in 1991.

KGB Vilnius

During this last period, the KGB installed sound-proof walls and ceilings and planted non-indigenous trees so no one could see in through the windows. This memorial, on the side of the building, is made from stones throughout the various regions of the country.

Today it houses the Vilnius KGB Museum.  The building has not been changed much and shows the truth about how prisoners were treated.  A sobering and gut-wrenching experience, it’s one that should not be missed on any trip to Lithuania.

We have tons of info on Lithuania, one of our favorite countries in Europe. If you are thinking of going, check out one of these articles:
Eastern European Capitals That No One Thinks to Visit, So Go Now!
Lithuanian Apple Cake Recipe
Top 10 Things to Do in Kaunas, Lithuania
Trakai Castle- Worth the Visit
Folk Dancers Entertain us in Kaunas

Have you been to Lithuania? Vilnius? The KGB Museum?  What are your thoughts?  Tell us in the comment section.


  1. I have never been, Corinne and Jim, but I can’t wait to someday! All of Russia absolutely fascinates me having grown up in the Cold War last half of the 60s and through the 70’s until all of the wonderful changes began to occur 🙂

    1. Mike, As a kid and even into my adulthood, I read as much Cold War fiction as I could. I love the stuff, so I do seek out these types of historical buildings when I’m in the former Soviet Republics.

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