vyrud (vyrud) wrote,

Elektrėnai - town of energetics, part 1

It is not easy to write report about the town which this year proudly marks it's 50th anniversary and is a product of centralized planned economy with all it's influences to the architecture and urban structure - typical and not expressive. But  I will try :)))

In Lithuania there are two towns that are complete products of socialist economy - Elektrėnai and Visaginas. Both are the towns of energetics. Both were built specially for the personnel of power stations built nearby.  The origin of this town is coded even in the name of Elekrėnai :) The construction of the town has been started in 1960 in the empty place right in the middle between Vilnius and Kaunas where the construction of new big thermal power station has been started. The selection of the place was clear for the period: at the moment of construction power station was almost in the middle of main energy consumers in Lithuania. In the 1960s-1970s and even early 1980s Lithuanian state regional electric power plant was the main producer of electricity in the country and town prospered relatively. In the 1980s with the opening of the Ignalina nuclear power station attention moved to Visaginas (then Sniečkus) and Elektrėnai lost it's importance ( most of the time the power station stood in the so-called reserve). From 2010 Elektrėnai again became the main producer of electricity in the country and hence the importance of the town arose. The prosperity for the town is guaranteed for the next decade. After that the importance of Elektrėnai will drop down again probably (I really don't believe in the long term prospects of such big power stations using fossil fuels in the country which imports them all - they will be pushed out by the new nuclear power station, wind farms and smaller thermal power stations used as a source of thermal energy also and using non-fossil fuel such as biomass also). So probably future historians will write the history of Elektėnai as the history of rises and declines :)))

But let's come back to the town. Let's us start from the power station itself - the reason why this town appeared on the map at all :)) Power station is located several kilometers to the south from the town but is easily seen from any place in the town. The height of the biggest chimney is about 250 meters and is higher that concrete part of Vilnius TV tower:

Power station is very big and itself occupies an area several kilometers in diameter:

The construction of new and much more efficient blocks of power station is under way. The construction is carried out by the Spanish energy giant "Iberdrola" since partially the construction is funded from the EU budget as the compensation to Lithuania for closure of Ignalina AE (but only about 1/3 of the necessary funds):

The power station gave to Elektrėnai so called Elektrėnai sea - the artificial lake formed joining together several small lakes that were present here and building dams on some small rivers here:

The power station could be seen from the lake also:

The Elektrėnai were built according the urbanistic project of architects Kazimeiras Bučas and Birutė Kasparavičienė from 1960. In fact this project is valid up to our days.

One of the first public buildings at the western part of the town and very unimpressive building is local municipality. The reason for this modesty is probably the fact that for long period Elektrėnai don't had any status: it was only village in Trakai district :))) Only in late 1990s Elektrėnai municipality was formed for the first time:

In the western part and closer to the lake is one schools: this is probably the last public building in Elektrėnai that I saw under renovation early September. All other public buildings here are renovated before and in this sense Elektrėnai is probably the leader in the whole country:

Elektrėnai sandy beaches :)))

Now I will head to the center of the town. On the way you can find local culture center - the result of modern reconstruction of the building from 1970s:

The decorations are the results of the creative attempts of local personnel:

As I mentioned above almost all public buildings in Elektrėnai are renovated and insulated in the last decade despite the fact that most of them are the product of 1970s. The another school - modernized but not modern:


Another similar establishment (I forget exactly):

Hotel: I am not sure if this building is the result of reconstruction or the completely new building:

Even closer to the center is Elektrėnai sports complex. One of the buildings is the swimming and water sports center:

And in the neighborhood is one of the most impressive buildings in Elektrėnai - ice arena (built in 1978-1983). Ice arena caused one of the most spectacular miraclesin Lithuanian sports - the appearance of two NHL hockey players in recent decades. It is really miracle in the country in which 99 percent of population don' t care about hockey at all and 50 percent probably don't know what ice hockey is : )))

Recently arena went on reconstruction and may change it's look (I don't know the project). So it could be one of the last photos of historic look of the arena:

The modern architecture of public buildings in Elektrėnai is represented mainly by the shopping centers, And here they are particularly ugly:

Typical view in Elektrėnai :)))

One of the more interesting commieblock projects used in this town:

In the distance you can see 16-story residential building (2008) - the result of the pre-crisis real estate boom. And the developers planned to build four such 16 stories building (in the town with 17 thousand residents ...). And probably it is good that crisis stopped such plans :

To be continued ...

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Tags: elektrenai, report, vilnius region

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