Introducing Visaginas & Ignalina Nuclear Power Station
Doomed Visaginas is a town without a future: built in 1975 for workers of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, the unlucky lakeside frontier was designed by the USSR for energy specialists seconded from the Soviet Union to oversee the plant's construction. With its EU-forced closure (scheduled for 2009), people are now leaving in droves - before they are left in a ghost town with no job and little prospect of getting one nearby.
The Soviet toy town, packed with identical-looking blocks of flats amid a forest, is circled by a ring road, along which buses shuttle 3500 shift workers between Visaginas and the plant, 2km east of the town centre. In its heyday 5000 people worked at Ignalina. A Geiger counter records the day's radiation level and Russian remains the language spoken on the streets.
There's tourist office (
In mid-August Visaginas bizarrely rocks with a bunch of cowboys - hats, boots and all - who groove on into town from across Europe for the two-day international country music festival, Visagino Country (www.vis agino-country.lt). The tourist office knows all about it.