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Tuesday, 01 November 2022

Wooden Sculpture Park Cesnuliu Sodyba, Lithuania

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The Antanas Cesnulis Sculpture Park was amazing. We thought it would just be a small attraction with not that many sculptures – mostly because of the location in a remote area of southern Lithuania just next to the Belarus border, but there were so many beautiful and whimsical sculptures in the traditional Lithuanian style that we were extremely impressed and so happy we visited. The site is inside Dzukijos National Park in the small village of Jaskonys. Most of the sculptures are done by one artist, Antanas Cesnulis, an older gentleman who lives on site and has been working for over 40 years. He has also been a member of the Lithuanian Folk Art Union since 1978 and has won many awards for his traditional creations. He has sculptures in various cities in Lithuania and in private collections, but most of his life’s work is here.

There is a huge variety – everything from handmade houses to puppet-like figures carved from wood -that spin and dance when you walk by- to huge mural panels with mythical stories carved into them.


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Upon entry there is a four-story windmill that Cesnulis built with a spiral staircase to the top. On every floor there’s an abundance of art and stained glass windows on the way up. Next there is a ‘sad Jesus’ display featuring melancholic Jesus statues by a number of different artists – which is the only part of the park with other people's work.

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After that there’s a multitude of larger than life sculptures set along a picturesque, meandering brook with very clear water. Many of them are electrified so they move or twirl or music plays when you walk by. There is a large serpent whose scales are made out of metal. A man carved on an outpost over the water welcomes you to his benches. In a little hut over a small pond a couple dances and a fountain sprays when you walk through a small doorway.

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You can also see some carvings that are ongoing at a workstation outside. It is a very traditional style in Lithuania. If you go into the forest in Anyksciai, the Curonian spit, and other places you’ll see similar works. Usually figures are carved out of large trees with the bodies being rough and the faces and details being very smooth with some areas of rich patterns.


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There is even a modest museum which houses some smaller works and also a number of pictures of art installations he’s done with various dignitaries attending.

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This was a surprising stop that was well worth the five euro entry fee. The sheer number of sculptures is outstanding, and the quality is top notch. We even got to meet the artist at the end and let him know how much we appreciated his work.

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If you go: 

Druskininkai is a nearby spa town and the closest place to stay with many restaurants and things to do. We also had a nice spa day with massages and scrubs and soaked in the healing mineral water which I would also recommend. It's about 1.5 hours from Vilnius, the capital, which is a fantastic city to visit.


©Christina Bolton


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Last modified on Tuesday, 01 November 2022

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