A Baroque city on the boundary between two ancient civilisations
The capital of Lithuania, Vilnius, has only recently opened to tourism and is one of the most fascinating and history-rich cities of the Baltic area: a relatively new destination, therefore, waiting to be discovered.
Vilnius is often called a Baroque city on the boundary between two ancient civilisations – Latin and Byzantine. The Lithuanian Baroque style, similar to Italian Baroque, reigns supreme, distinguishing the main buildings of the city. But it is not only the Baroque style that has shaped this beautiful town; its Medieval layout is still perfectly intact and the architectural contribution of the Renaissance period completes the harmonious centre of Vilnius. Its Old Town was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
Instead, the Cathedral of Vilnius, the City Hall and the Verkiai are all examples of classical Lithuanian architecture. Chodkiewicz Palace (Chodkevičių) is the most elegant building in Lithuania and the country’s largest classical style building.
The panorama of the old city of Vilnius
The unique feature of the Old Town is that it is situated at the confluence of two rivers. It extends along the Neris Valley and is surrounded by hills covered in dense forests.
The best views of the surrounding area and over the Old Town can be enjoyed from the top of the Gediminas Tower, the Hill of the Three Crosses or the Hill of Užupis.
Užupis is a unique old district of Vilnius. Here the artistic fervour that permeates the entire city finds its most Bohemian expression. It is the home of many artists and offers a wide-ranging array of art galleries, art workshops and cosy coffee bars.
The Užupis district in Vilnius
Many centuries ago it was also known as the “Republic of Užupis”. The creative community of this district organises original celebrations and events that bring colour to the “Republic”, which even has its own anthem, constitution, president, bishop and a personal guardian angel made of bronze.
The constitution is affixed to a fence at the entrance to the district. Important personalities such as Jonas Mekas, the founder of American Avant-garde cinema, the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, Valdas Adamkus, the President of Lithuania, and many others are honorary citizens of the “Republic”.
Vilnius is truly a city that immediately makes its visitors feel welcome and involved. The best way to enjoy it is to let yourself be guided by the city, getting lost among its old alleyways, strolling around the wonderful buildings or stopping in any of the many restaurants to try the richLithuanian cuisine. As you walk through the historic centre, you can immediately feel that tranquil, solemn atmosphere typical of northern capitals.
Text by Lea Tocchi
Updated by Alisè Vitri
Avion Tourism Magazine
Photos: Sisterscom.com, Shutterstock
Photos: Sisterscom.com, Shutterstock
Copyright © Sisterscom.com
Where to sleep in Vilnius
Vilnius is a welcoming city and offers different possibilities for accommodation.
To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.
WHERE TO GO in Vilnius
Monuments in Vilnius
PALACE OF THE GRAND DUKES OF LITHUANIA
Katedros a. 3
The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, recently reconstructed, is the former political, diplomatic, cultural center of the State, was one of the most famous in Europe in the 15th-17th centuries and was demolished in the beginning of the 19th century.
Katedros a. 1
The Cathedral of St. Stanislav and St. Vladislav is the most important place of worship for the country‘s Catholics and the venue for the main Christian, folk and national festivities.
CHURCH OF ST. ANNE
Maironio g. 8
The Church of St. Anne is a masterpiece of the late Gothic period. St. Anne’s Church, which has survived to the present day without changing for over 500 years, has become a symbol of Vilnius.
Universiteto g. 3
Vilnius University is one of the oldest universities in Eastern Europe. The complexes of Vilnius University were formed over several centuries and, as a result, consist of the buildings built in Gothic, Baroque and Classical styles.
BASTION OF VILNIUS CITY WALL
Bokšto g. 20/Subačiaus g. 18
The bastion is a Renaissance defence complex of authentic construction situated next to the former city wall and dating back to the 17th century.
Museums in Vilnius
OF THE UPPER CASTLE
Arsenalo Str. 5
The Vilnius Castle Museum was opened in 1960. An observation deck on the top of the toweris the best place from which to appreciate a magnificent panorama of Vilnius.
VILNIUS PICTURE GALLERY
Didžioji g. 4
The Gallery is established in a beautiful and spacious estate of the noblemen Chodkiewicznoted for impressive interiors of late Classicism.
Šv. Mykolo g. 8
The exhibits on display at the Amber Museum-Gallery tell visitors about the morphology of amber. It is revealed in the exhibits of various sizes, forms and colour.
Excursions in Vilnius
TRAKAI LAKE AND CASTLE
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