Vilnius the capital of Lithuania embodies legends and fairy tales. Founded in the early 14th century (although the settlement existed for much longer) as the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The present-day Lithuania is only one tenth of what it used to be in those days. In Medieval Ages it stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Vilnius experienced growth as a unique multi-national and multicultural city where people of different religions lived together. The city has many faces and the Old Town being the heart of it has retained its uniqueness and is included in UNESCO World Heritage list. Vilnius Old Town is one of the biggest in Central and Eastern Europe. Far reaching and prominent city started as Duke’s city but the remains of paganism still could be found even after its destruction. Other religions made their way into cozy narrow streets of the Old Town where a wide array of Catholic and Orthodox churches, synagogues and even mosques are spread throughout it and beyond. Lithuanian territory has always been a borderline not only between East and West but also North and South. Not surprisingly, architecture is strangely confusing and Vilnius is the most baroque style city under the northern sky. The modern day capital is not confined to the Old Town. It extends to Zverynas with original wooden architecture, lively Antakalnis and Uzupis adjacent to the Old Town. The latter has been lived in from 16th century and since April 1997 has become an Independent Republic of Uzupis. You would think it is April Fool’s Day joke if it didn’t have its president, ministers, army, currency, flag and constitution which has been translated into more than 50 languages. If you want to feel artistic spirit, have a stroll through it.
Vilnius boasts of its greenery with many parks and 2 regional parks, multiple architectural, historical and art monuments that tell the story of the city and country’s past and present: Upper Castle tower named for Grand Duke Gediminas with flying Lithuanian flag, St. Anne’s Church probably the most famous specimen of Lithuanian Gothic architecture, Cathedral as a symbol of Catholicism, St. Casimir’s Chapel, the patron Saint of Lithuania, Hill of Tree Crosses, St. Peter and Paul’s Church, a remarkable baroque jewel, Vilnius University 13 courtyards providing captivating glimpse into the oldest educational institution around which the noble city of dukes flourished.