Visaginis was built from scratch beginning in 1975 to house workers constructing and then employed at the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant. If you look at a map of the town, it is clearly an exercise in urban planning — the layout is in the shape of a butterfly. There are playgrounds and green spaces and collections of shops scattered throughout the high-rise apartment buildings that comprise the town. The town has an unfinished feel to it due to quite a few unfinished buildings left standing.
The town’s population is primarily Russian-speaking. As with most industrial projects in the Baltic Soviet republics, Russians workers were brought in to build and run the nuclear power plant. Young people now learn Lithuanian in schools, but I had to dredge up my buried Russian language skills to communicate with older people. While not exactly a tourist highlight in Lithuania, Visaginis is certainly an interesting place to visit.
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