Orydas Garden: Oddities



September 16, 2014

My guidebook says it’s “Worth a Trip.” 

So from this coastal city of Palanga I drove east towards the town of Kretinga and then northeast towards the village of Salantai to see Orvydas Garden, “…one of the most unusual sights in all of Lithuania.” *

“The Orvydas Garden was the work of stonemason Kazys Orvydas (1905-89) and his oldest son turned Franciscan monk Vilius (1952-92).  The carvings were originally created for the village cemetery in nearby Salantai but were brought here to the Orvydas homestead after then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev turned his wrath on religious objects in the 1960’s.  The Soviets later blocked access to the house to prevent visitors getting to the persecuted Orvydas family.”*

“Today, visitors can walk through the lovely farmstead gardens admiring literally hundreds of statues, carvings, busts and just plain oddities.  It’s an experience as awe-inspiring as it is confounding, but one that will linger long in the memory.” *

Except for three other people who were here for only a short time, I am totally alone as I wander through this garden of “oddities.”

The emphasis of the carvings is religious of course.  But beyond “religious” and “odd” I am thinking “strange and “exotic,” “eclectic, “eccentric and political.”

Orvydas Garden - the unique and irrepressible artistic vision of a father and his son.

*Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania.  Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd.  6th edition - June 2012.  Pg 366.