Vilnius, Lithuania´s capital with a population of a little over half million was foudended by grand duke Gediminas in the 1320's. The site had been populated for at least 1000 years prior to that, however. It has a positively Middle-European feel to it with lots of easy-going charm.
It has to be said that most visitors come to Vilnius because of its Old Town With a good reason too as Vilnius has the largest baroque old town in Europe. Also the small(ish) but intriguing self-proclaimed "republic" of Uzupio is a must-see sight.
However, there are quite few interesting things to see and experience in the new city as well. Here's just a small selection:
You can still see some of the rapidly vanishing Soviet-era art in the New City, so go there before it is too late (if you're interested in that kind of thing).
Two communist "work heroes".
Tribute to the Red Army.
This planetarium, built in the sixties is a good example of Soviet
architecture. Unfortunately it wasn't open to the general public
when we visited Vilnius.
On the north bank of Neris River is a cluster of skyscrapers, a symbol of
independent Lithuania's economic growth and newly-found self-confidence.
There is a nice view of Vilnius from the 22nd-floor Skybar of
Reval Hotel Lietuva.
Fear of heights not allowed in this job... Great tan guaranteed.
Aerial view of the old town.
You can see many trolley buses in Vilnius.
Lithuania was a part of Soviet Union during the Cold War. This entrance to a bomb
shelter serves as a silent reminder of those days. Note the air intake on the right.
The largest baroque old town in Europe has been given World Heritage Site status by the Unesco. Get your guide book out and find every historic sight or just follow your nose and get hopelessly lost in the small lanes. Either way, you'll be very tired but happy in the evening!
Vilnius Cathedral, built in the 15th century. It was turned into a picture
gallery under Soviet rule. Reconsecregated in 1989, a Mass has been
celebrated there every single day after that!
Vilnius University, Eastern Europe's oldest.
Typical lane in the old town.
This used to be an antiquarian bookshop but is now
an Irish pub. Oh my...
Saint George and the dragon.
What on earth is this street performance about?
Pilies Street, one of the main streets in the old town and the
perfect place to sit down for a coffee and sink in the atmosphere.
Nice wall painting of a ballet dancer. Signed by "Mortal". Deep...
Built between 1604 and 1618, the Church of Saint Casimir
is one of the old town's oldest baroque buildings.
An idyllic courtyard.
Statue of Saint Mary.
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