Dariaus ir Girėno stadionas
|Renovations||1935–1936, 1969–1979, 2018–2022|
|Address||Perkūno al. 5, LT-44221 Kaunas|
Dariaus ir Girėno stadionas – stadium description
How was Dariaus ir Girėno stadionas built?
In 1921, the Kaunas authorities leased approximately 3.5 ha of land in Ąžuolynas Park to the Lithuanian Physical Education Union (LFLS). Between 1924 and 1925, on the initiative of the then president of the LFLS, Steponas Darius, a multi-purpose stadium was built on the site. The facility had a football pitch, encircled by an athletics track. A baseball field was also built next to the pitch. A stand for 2,500 spectators was located on the other side. The facility was designed by Steponas Darius and Kęstutis Bulota.
What was the history of Kaunas' main stadium?
In 1934, the Physical Culture Palace (now home to the Lithuanian Sports University), built right next to the stadium, was put into use. Between 1935 and 1936, the stadium, which had shortly before become state property, was modernised and extended. After reconstruction, it was renamed Valstybinis stadionas (State Stadium) and became the leading sports venue in the city and the entire country, of which Kaunas was then the capital. In 1939, a new sports hall, built for the European basketball championships, was also opened next to the stadium.
One of the greatest pre-war events that took place at the venue was the first Lithuanian National Olympics, held between July 17 and 31, 1938. Some 2,000 athletes from all over the world competed, and the opening and closing ceremonies were watched by 10,000 spectators.
In Soviet times, the facility became known as the Republican Sports Combine (Respublikinio sporto kombinato). Between 1969 and 1979, another major modernisation was carried out, and a characteristic feature of the stadium became the second tier of stands built of reinforced concrete structures, with frequent gaps between sectors.
In 1993, the venue was named after Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas, two Lithuanian pilots who died on July 17, 1933 in a plane crash during a pioneering attempt to fly from New York to Kaunas (Steponas Darius was also instrumental in the construction of the stadium). In the same year, a memorial to the aviators was also unveiled next to the arena. In 2021, the previously used name "S. Dariaus ir S. Girėno stadionas" was shortened to "Dariaus ir Girėno stadionas".
Since its major redevelopment during the communist era, the venue has been renovated several times, including the installation of a tartan athletics track in 1998 and the equipping of the stands with plastic seating, while in 2005 the largest stadium video screen in the Baltic States was erected on the eastern side. In 2007, the stadium was recognised as a historic monument.
When did the last modernisation of Dariaus ir Girėno stadionas take place?
The next major redevelopment of the stadium took place between 2018 and 2022. The stands were built practically from scratch and fully roofed. A new main stand was erected on the eastern side, where previously there was a lack of seats for spectators. On the outside, the stadium was covered with a decorative aluminium façade. The modernisation increased the capacity of the arena from around 9,000 to over 15,000 spectators. The facility was recommissioned on October 16, 2022, and the Lithuanian Cup final match was played at the inauguration.
How is Dariaus ir Girėno stadionas being used?
The stadium is the largest and most important football and athletics facility in Lithuania. After the 2018-2022 upgrade, it is practically the only modern, large stadium in the country. The national football team often plays at the venue, and it is also used by local clubs. In 2005, the facility hosted the U-20 European Athletics Championships and in 2009 the U-23 European Championship. In 2013, the stadium was one of the arenas for the U-19 European Football Championship.
What are the characteristics of Dariaus ir Girėno stadionas?
The stadium is equipped with an athletics track, which is surrounded by two-level covered stands. The main stand with a glass VIP pavilion is located in the eastern part. Its upper tier is separated from the rest by two sizable gaps through which the trees of the nearby park can be seen. The stands are equipped with grey folding seats. The capacity of the stadium is 15 315 spectators.
The football pitch has a hybrid turf and a heating system. Two LED screens have been installed above the stands on the arches. Floodlights have been placed in the upper edge of the roof and on the two arches running low above the canopy. From the outside, the stands are surrounded by an original, undulating façade made up of vertical aluminium panels. At night, the exterior can be illuminated in different colours.
The stadium is located just over 3 km east of Kaunas' city centre. The venue is surrounded by Ąžuolynas Park, as well as the sports hall (Kauno sporto halė), the building of the Lithuanian Sports University and the Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas monument.
Stadium of the Year 2022: Discover Dariaus ir Girėno stadionas
Our Stadium of the Year competition has officially begun and will run until March 15. As many as 36 venues are on the list of nominees this year. One of them is Dariaus ir Girėno stadionas located in Kaunas, Lithuania. Take a look at this candidacy and decide whether you want to vote for it in the contest for Stadium of the Year 2022!
Stadium of the Year 2022: Time for your nominations!
We have said goodbye to the old year and are looking forward with high hopes to what 2023 will bring. For our editorial team, it is time to summarise what happened on the world's stadium map in 2022. Any moment now, the next edition of our Stadium of the Year vote will be launched. We invite you to take an active part in our competition and suggest your candidates.
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Modern stadium clad entirely with timber, sounds sensibly. It also envisioned maximum use of existing facilities. But the joy didn't last long, after a year into construction progress has been very modest, at best.