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Review of Paneriai (Ponar)

Paneriai (Ponar)
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Day Tour around Vilnius city and Trakai Castle
Ranked #23 of 221 things to do in Vilnius
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Chicago, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
179 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
Reviewed December 11, 2012

More than half of Vilnius's Jews were murdered in this forest in 1941. All visitors to Lithuania should be required to see this place and to walk among its ghosts.

Visited January 2012
2 Thank William G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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141 reviews from our community

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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Paneriai is a "must experience"”
Reviewed September 24, 2012

There is nothing like being in the very same spot where many of us have read about. Seeing the site coupled with extensive reading and seeing movies about this part of history, truly makes one feel the sorrow of a whole group's lives lost for no reason at all!

Visited September 2012
4 Thank silviaeaston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“A less-known but important place for sober reflection (includes bus directions)”
Reviewed September 23, 2012

If the raw basement of the Vilnius KGB / genocide museum is a place that will hit you in the forehead with a 2x4", leaving you slack-jawed and repeatedly questioning the unquestionable reality of what you just saw, Paneriai is a place that lends itself more to quiet contemplation of man's seemingly boundless capacity for evil. Much has been written of the memorial/park itself (I was the only person there when I visited, so my experience was particularly meditative, as others have mentioned), but I don't see that directions have been provided to arrive there by bus -which was EASY, cheap, quick and convenient- so here they are:
1. Buy four one-trip bus tickets (in 2012 cost 2 litas ea.) at one of the red newspaper kiosks around town.
2. Catch either trolley-bus (i.e. runs on overhead cables) 6 or 12 in direction "Zemieji Paneriai" heading south on the west side (far side of the street from old town) of Pylimo gatve at Reformatu, near where it crosses Basanaviviciaus/Traku, not far from the Frank Zappa statue. The schedules are printed on the little spinning plastic cylinders on the post --if the numbers 6 & 12 don't appear in red among the various schedules there, you're standing at the wrong stop-- and during business hours one of them seemed to come about every 15 minutes or so.
3. Aboard, validate one of your tickets in one of the little red clamp devices; repeat this on each segment. (NOTE: If the bus doesn't turn right and start heading away from the old town immediately after you board, you boarded on the wrong side of the street. Get off at the next stop and try again.)
4. After about 20 minutes, get off at the Vaduvos stop. You'll be able to know when the stop is approaching by: a) listening to the announcer and coordinating with the route schema in the bus (easy even if you don't speak a scrap of Lithuanian); and/or, b) watching the two stops shown on the little yellow card readers - the next stop is always the one shown at the bottom. If you get off the bus and feel like you've stepped back 30 years into the USSR, you're at the Vaduvos.
5. From the same side of the street, take either bus (regular bus, NOT a trolley bus on electric lines; bus # on schedule is blue, not red) 8 or 51 to "Aukstieji (or Upper) Paneriai," a ride that will take 5-10 minutes. How long you have to wait will vary; I waited less than 10 minutes.
6. Shortly after you've left concrete communal housing projects behind and have entered the forest, the bus turns left and stops at a quasi cul-de-sac among some old farm houses near a large rail yard. This is the small village of Aukstieji Paneriai, your stop. (NOTE: Before you start walking, cross the street and make note of times for busses 8 and 51 heading back the other way, as they run fairly infrequently - seemed like it was about once an hour.)
7. Cross the tracks via the long footbridge. Once across, turn right on Agrastu, the paved road (most of the others out here are dirt) that runs parallel to the tracks. This road ends after about a km or so in the Paneriai memorial parking lot.

Visited September 2012
4 Thank Sparafu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
539 reviews
271 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 166 helpful votes
“It tears your heart apart”
Reviewed September 6, 2012

the idea to gather people around a round ditch and shoot them straight in, four hundred at a time, than agian the next shift and aGain and again...the germens became monsters.
You stand near these round circles with such sadness and unbelievable heart ache.
here babies were torn from their mothers arms ,a whole community was burnt to ashes.

Visited September 2012
2 Thank DANIELLA107
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“A little off the beaten track but a must see.”
Reviewed July 13, 2012

We went by train from Vilnius station. Takes a little finding. Turn right out of the station and it's about half a mile up a track. We were there alone initially then a tour bus turned up. It's a very atmospheric and saddening place but something we should all see and remember. Be aware that when we visited a group of five young men turned up to the main car park and were drinking alcohol, smoking and playing incredibly loud dance music. Obviously there to be disrespectful and goad any visitors into an altercation. A very neo-nazi feel to them. The bus left and we were not long after but concerned being in such an isolated spot. Go in a group or don't react if you have the same people turning up. Just a word of warning.

4 Thank Anzog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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