Vilnius - Capital of Lithuania
Lithuania in short
For many ages Lithuania have had different statuses. It was the last pagan country in Europe. Later with co-operation with Poland it made Europe's first constitution, leaving French people behind just a few months. Lithuanian status has changed through ages, from duchy to kingdom and duchy again. Then it just became a part of Russian Empire. Later we gained freedom after World War I. As all countries those days we had authoritarian ruling, and then World War II came. There were many Jews in Lithuania, especially in Vilnius, so it's population dramatically decreased at the end of WWII. In 1990 Lithuania became the first country to secede Soviet Union and became an example for many other countries.
Center of Europe
Vilnius - center of Europe
Vilnius is a beautiful city in the center of Europe. The geographical center of Europe is just 20km north from Lithuanian capital. In fact people consider Lithuania to be an eastern European country, but when you look at the map, you can see it's not true.
There is monument made in the Geographical Centre of Europe that you can visit by rented car, or with sightseeing tours. In fact it's worth visiting, to find out how it is in the centre of Europe.
Tragic January 13th.
A brief history of Vilnius
There are no exact date when Vilnius was established, but we know that it was first mentioned in 1323, in letters of our Dutch Gediminas. In 1387 we already used Magdeburg rights that were very moder those days. Here in Vilnius we also have one of Europe's oldest universities, established in 1579 by Steponas Batoras. The University is named for the city, so it's called Vilnius University. In 1610 there has been a huge fire in Vilnius that made a lot of damaged, and are sometimes even compared with the Great Fire of London. Vilnius was not always Lithuanian city. In 1920 Polish soldiers occupied Vilnius, and for 19 years it was Polish city. Still even now there is a big part of Polish living in Vilnius. At the time when Vilnius was captured, our capital was transfered to Kaunas. Even now sometimes Kaunas is called as Temporary Capital. Also after Lithuania left the Soviet Union soviet leaders where not happy about it and made an invasion in Lithuania at the night of January 13th, 1991. They occupied our TV tower, and in this way turned of any connections with other parts of world. There were 14 civilians who scarified their lives for Lithuania freedom. But after all those lives made Russians understand what they did and leave our country independent.
Traveling in Vilnius
As Vilnius isn't very big city and has just a bit over half a million people living here, there are to subways or metros, and we don't even have a tram. The most popular and convenient way to travel in Vilnius is by bus or trolleybus. There are 2 types of buses. Those that are owned by municipality and others so called 'private/commercial'. The prices of traveling are almost the same. 2 litas ($0.8) per adult and 1litas ($0.4) per student/child if you buy it in newsstand or kiosk. But if you buy tickets on the bus price goes a bit up and stands respectively 2.5 litas ($1) and 1.25 litas ($0.5).
- Schedules for all buses and trolleybuses riding in Vilnius. There is also an optimal route search function, that enables you to find best way how to get from object A to object B by all sorts of transport. Of course map is included.
If want, you can buy Vilnius city card. This card gives you free-of-charge traveling by buses and minibuses in Vilnius city. Also you can visit museums free-of-charge and get discounts for tours on foot, minibus or bicycle. It also includes discount on some hotels, restaurants, cafes ect.
Places you must see
When you come to every city, there are some a must see places. There are such places here too. I will give you a short list with descriptions of the most interesting, and a must see places in Vilnius and around.
- Gediminas Castle. This a Symbol of Vilnius. There is a legend, that Lithuanian Duke Gediminas, was hunting around the places where now Vilnius stands and fall asleep. His dream was about a wolf made from iron, who was yawling on the hill. When the Duke woke up, he asked his oracle, what this dream means. The oracle explained, that it means, that in that place a city has to be built, and that city will last forever. In fact now there is only one tower left and the other parts of castle are gone.
TV tower in winter
The Cathedral of Vilnius
- TV tower. The one I already mention you when talked about Russians trying to occupy us again in 1991. The Tv Tower in Vilnius is 326.4 (1069ft) meters high. It's the highest construction in Lithuania. It's construction started in 1974 and it started operating in 1981. There is a spinning around cafe in the 'plate' in the middle of the tower at 160 (524ft) meters high .
- The Three Crosses memorial. Built in 1916 this memorial stood on the hill till 1950, when soviet government order to demolish it. In 1989 it was restored as a symbol of fight against soviet machine.
- Aušra's Gates. Theses gates are the only of 10 that left since 1514. They were a part of defensive wall around Vilnius. It's is now a 3 floor chapel. There is a saint painting of Gods Mother, which is believed to have magic, healing powers.
- Churches. There are a lot of churches in Vilnius (about 40) that you should visit. I only include names, so you could know what to search for, when touring in Vilnius. These are: St. Ann's church, Bernardine church, St. apostle's Peter's and Paul's Church, St. Kotryna's church, The Cathedral of Vilnius and much more.
- You should visit some of the museums in Vilnius, There are really great exhibitions in National Museum on Lithuania, Museum of Applied Arts and many others .
- Other Places to visit. There are many other places to visit, so i include a ling to Vilnius tourism web page, so you can find yourself what's more interesting for you.
A must buy photo album about the beautiful nature of Lithuania
Parks in Vilnius
As Vilnius is one of the 'greenest' cities around, there are lots of parks of course. I insist you on visiting at least 3 or 4 to feel how 'green' Vilnius is. In fact There are a few parks in the center of Vilnius.
It's Kalnų park (Park of Hills) located in the same place as Three Crosses Monument.
Sereikiškių park is just in the same place, but on the other side of the river.
Verkiai regional park is the place i marked in map. It's The northernmost pin on the map marked as Verkiai Palace.
Vingio park. The biggest park in Vilnius. It's very popular among townspeople. Many concerts are held there.
Botanical Garden of Vilnius University. A very beautiful garden for people who love nature.
More information about parks in Vilnius is here.
Vilnius by the night
As i have been in many European counties, i know what night life there is and what it can offer. Vilnius has it's party spots too. There a lots of night clubs, but I include the most popular or interesting:
- Havana Social Club. The name stands for it self. Club's point is to make people socialize, through music and speech on the dance floor.
- Woo. Club is some of those where food is given bigger attention. Wanna try some new tastes? It has a wide variety of foods.
- Prospekto Pub. It is placed in the heart of Vilnius, in Gediminas prospect. Club is decorated in very luxury style, so if you need it - visit Prospect Pub.
- Men's Factory. The first and only at the time gay club in Vilnius.
- Old Town Strip Club. On of the most visited strip clubs in Vilnius.
- List of Hotels. You will find yourself a perfect hotel, with options to choose from very cheap to luxury. From located in the heart of Vilnius, and in quiet places located 5-10 km from Vilnius.
Arrival / Departure
The area where o lot of artists live. Translated should sound like - On the other side of river
The most beautiful view of Neris in Vilnius
Hubs about other Lithuanian cities
- Dotnuva in Lithuania
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- The Hill of Crosses, Lithuania
The Hill of Crosses is an example of the perseverance and determination of the Lithuanian people.... And kind of a miracle too.
- Debeikiai in Lithuania
Located 17 km northeast of Anyksciai (Anykciai), this small town has a neo-gothic red brick Church of St. John the Baptist (1913) with an organ made in Knigsberg (now Kaliningrad). The neo-gothic high...
- Anyksciai in Lithuania
The town of Anyksciai (Anykciai) in Lithuania grew around an estate founded at the confluence of the Anykta and ventoji rivers and is first mentioned in written sources in 1442. It acquired city rights...
- Panevezys in Lithuania
Panevezys is the largest city in central Lithuania an the fifth largest city of the country. It's located at the junction of several principal roadways. The name of the settlement stradling the Nevezis was...