Things To Do In Vilnius
Lithuania was independent from 1918 until 1940, when it was incorporated with the Soviet Union. Lithuania declared independence when communism collapsed and the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. The first democratic elections were held the following year. The Soviets industrialized the country, and many Lithuanians flocked from rural areas to get jobs in the new factories constructed on its capital city, Vilnius. Most Lithuanians live in the Vilnius and work in industries such as construction, chemical production, food processing, and shipbuilding. Vilnius is a superb spot to visit in this nation of character and grand excellence. Traditional singing and dancing are important to the people, and huge festivals take place each year.
Vilnius is a fascinating city, including the area surrounding the center. A visit to the gardens and the Republic of Uzupis with its craft shops and seeing the imagination of bohemian artists are all worth knowing. From the Gates of Dawn, down to the square of the cathedral, it has an incredible number of churches built in Neo-Renaissance, Baroque, Gothic, some very large, others small, some very good, some less so, but still so many, compared to the other cities in northern Europe and in particular to other neighbor Baltic States. Take a trip to the old town that winds through the alleys of medieval, cobblestone streets and colorful houses, avenues and beautiful buildings richly decorated. The city is lively, clean and tidy. In addition to the stalls, there are many clubs and outdoor bars and shops selling handicrafts. Certainly an interesting city to visit!
When To Go:
Late spring and summer are the best times to visit the city of Vilnius, when there's typically enough fine and clear skies permit you to walk around the urban communities and make huge excursions into its natural landscapes. Summers are moderately short (generally mid-June to late August), and in spite of the fact that you may well experience a string of hot, dry days amid this period, showers and cold nights are just as likely. Keep in mind to pack a waterproof coat and warm sweater close by your T-shirts.
Temperatures chill off quickly from mid-September onwards, and fall can be an uncommonly lovely season in which to visit, with the brilliant tan leaves of deciduous trees appearing differently in relation to the dull green pines.
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The primary snowfalls can come as right on time in mid-November, and by ahead of schedule to mid-December winter sets in with the chilly atmosphere. Normal daytime temperatures can stay underneath zero directly through until March, falling to short 15–20°c in especially chilly spells. Winter is obviously be a supernatural time, with lakes, waterways and extensive fields of the city freezing, and immaculate snow spread adding a sense of charm to medieval downtown areas. Winter in Vilnius is quite tolerable but a warm bonnet or head covering is completely crucial. Also worth a visit in winter, it is true that the daylight hours are not many but the snow-covered landscape and the buildings are a marvel.
Listed here are the top attractions and best things to do when in the city of Vilnius, Lithuania:
Vilnius Old Town
The Vilnius Old Town is the oldest part of the city and interesting stretches from the beautiful walks surrounded by buildings decorated in styles are more different, the narrow streets of medieval and countless huge neo-Renaissance or Baroque churches are scattered everywhere. After covering the elegant street Gediminas you will be in Cathedral Square with its unique antique white bell tower. From here you can start the tour, turning around the cathedral on his right side (where the impressive monument to Gediminas, the national hero stands) and taking the characteristic Pilies, with its cobbled irregular and low brick buildings.
On this road there are many shops selling handicrafts and many small cafes. Continuing in the same direction you get to the big town hall square and, further, to the famous Gates of 'Alba. Also in this area there are nice shops and, of course, churches (the most beautiful is that of St. Nicholas).
The view while walking is pleasant and much of the historic old town is pedestrian. If you want to enjoy your visit you can hire a bike (the various tourist offices will give you all the information where to get one, they are very friendly and speak very good English).
It is lined with ancient alleyways, colorful houses, market stalls and small shops, a steady stream of young, peaceful life and poetic views. The Old Town is not far from the glittering shopping malls in the city center and retains the ancient atmosphere of long ago and preserves the architecture and beauty for those who can grasp the essence.
Money Museum of the Bank of Lithuania
The Money Museum of the National Bank of Lithuania traces the history of money (from barter to e-money) and tells the story of the Lithuanian currency - the Litas, in addition to offering an overview of a large number of coins in the world. The museum is highly interactive and interesting for children and teens. It has free admission with the opportunity to take guided tours. It is an educational, small and manageable museum about the development of the money in the world. It highlights coins and banknotes from many countries and from many eras. The exhibits are well described and come with an audio guide with explanation in several languages.
You will discover not only the history of money in general since the most ancient times to the present day but also understand the turbulent history of Lithuania through its currency. The theme is interesting. The visit is free and not too time consuming. The responsive staff is always prompt and helpful. The cozy atmosphere and a large number of exhibits will allow interest to spend a few hours. Departing from this museum you will not only gain positive emotions, but also a nice souvenir. Be sure to try to answer the questions interactive test, after it you can take a souvenir certificate of your value in gold, silver and platinum.
St. Anne's Church
The St. Anne's Church in Vilnius is a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. Popular legend has it that Napoleon Bonaparte, fascinated by the beauty of this church, wanted to carry it in the palm of Paris. Unfortunately, the reality is not so romantic; during Napoleon's campaign through Lithuania church it was consigned to the French cavalry. Almost unchanged for five centuries, the church of St. Anne remains preserved up to this day and has become one of the symbols of Vilnius. It is a very beautiful red brick Lutheran church in Gothic style with impressive stained glass windows, heavy metal forged doors, and the interior that offers a warm and bright aura.
The presence of churches in Vilnius is a really impressive number. But amid the entire Baroque and the Rococo style churches, stands the elegant silhouette of the Gothic church of St. Anne. Almost wedged between two other churches, it is distinguished, in addition to the style but also for the façade which is covered in all red bricks. The facade is made of bricks arranged in 33 different styles in a delicate and complex technique with an effect that arouses wonder in the viewer. The interior is surprisingly modest. Today, the church which has not changed for over 500 years stands together with the Cathedral and the Church of St. Peter and Paul one of the three most famous churches in Vilnius. Alongside stands the Church of San Bernardino (Bernardinų Baznycia ir Vienuolynas). The interior of the church is richly decorated with baroque and medieval frescoes. Next door is the old monastery that now houses the academy of art in Vilnius.
Sts. Peter & Paul's Church (Sv. Apastalu Petro ir Povilo Baznycia)
The Sts. Peter & Paul's Church (Sv. Apastalu Petro ir Povilo Baznycia) is a picturesque architecture that really takes you back in time. The emerald green domes are visible from any vantage point in the city because of the brightness. Inside, the single predominant color is the opulent gold and whose originality requires a visit. Construction began in 1668 on a pagan temple; the church is one of the most beautiful baroque churches in the city. Inside the church you can also find the remains of Italian sculptors Giovanni Pietro Perti and Giovanni Maria Galli who set 2000 white stucco statues illustrating saints, angels, devils, scenes of the gospel, and so on that are still visible and that will leave you speechless.
Although for some people, climbing at Castle Hill and the Gediminas Tower may seem uncomfortable, you can easily access it through a funicular. From the top of the tower is a stunning 360-degree view across Vilnius from the old town to the new one. It is a great way to learn about the Lithuanian capital from the air. If you get a chance it's nice to go in the morning when the sky is overcast or before 16:00 pm in the summer. Don’t forget to bring your camera because the northern light gives majestic shades and perfect photographs.
To climb the tower you can choose a convenient cable car or climb on foot. The entrance is in the courtyard of the National Museum. Once up there, you must buy a ticket that gives access to the first two floors of the museum tower, the stairs are very narrow and you have to be careful when there are so many people. top of the tower there is this beautiful vantage point overlooking the entire city and where you can see the entire city and its encompassing landscapes. It's the only surviving tower of the three that from the upper part of the castle where you can still see many remnants of the old walls. The tower is made of brick and has an octagonal plan. It can be visited for a fee and there is a small museum but nice enough with medieval remains and details about the development of the city over time. There is also documentation on the independence of the nation.
KGB Museum (Genocido Auku Muziejus)
The KGB Museum (Genocido Auku Muziejus) is a tremendous testimony of something that has existed and unfortunately not too long ago. Everyone should make a walk and realize what has passed between the people of Lithuania and Russia. The visit puts a strain in sensitivity, but it is precisely for this reason that everyone should go and know the history of the conflict. Visit the basement that once served as the prison cell. There are many pictures on the walls of people who have actually been held there.
It’s a museum on 3 floors; the top two are a good historical reconstruction of the history of Lithuania during the period of Soviet Union while the basement puts chills starting from the cells, corridors, and the pictures that are very strong and almost frightening really. It is the most important and exciting part of the museum where the perpetrators of the KGB place their victims to the cells of detention and torture.
For anyone traveling to Vilnius it is fair to visit this museum. The museum is located right in the building that was the former headquarters of the KGB in Vilnius. It can be found along Gediminas Avenue, the Main street of Vilnius, starting from the Cathedral Square, for about 2 km, on your left you will find a building whose casing stones were engraved with the names of missing persons and date of their birth and death. The museum covers the first Nazi occupation and then the Russian, the terrible repression, torture and killings. Do not go there alone because it all seemed too "hard" to be dealt with on its own.
Take a 20-minute walk from the train stop, turn right and you will find this site very impressive, considering that there were over 100,000 people killed and burned by the Nazis. The Paneriai (Ponar) is a significant piece of history. The Paneriu Memorial is a memorial in the woods with a small museum. It is located on the outskirts of Vilnius and accessible by train from the Vilnius Central Station. From the Paneriai railway station it is a short walk up to the memorial. The museum is housed in a small building. After a nice welcome by the museum guide, you will get a brief general explanation followed by good explanations of the documents.
During the subsequent tour in the forest, you can see the places where the details of the massacre happened and where they mainly shot Jews, but also POW’s, Russians, and Polish victims. There are mass graves and the places where the bodies were burned. A (reconstructed) makeshift ladder, which was built by inmates and used to throw the bodies of the victims in the fire pits. Then there are also the memorials monuments and obelisks dedicated to the victims who all perished here. The very special part is the Jewish Memorial Monument near the museum. It is an important place of remembrance.
Gates Of Dawn
The Gates of Dawn is a very important point on the map of Vilnius. It is a particularly important place of pilgrimage for Catholics, and Orthodox Christians. The door to the famous chapel is located on the left side of Aušros Vartų gatvė when one arrives from the north. It is best to come here in the early morning when crowds are still minimal. The chapel is small and if more visitors come at the same time, it is much harder to see everything.
Above the gate is a featured chapel with the "Mother of God in the Gates of Dawn" a patron saint of the Lithuanians and the Russians. Particularly impressive is the chapel next to the Madonna herself filled by metal reliefs with thousands of hearts and other beautiful designs.
Church of the Holy Spirit (Sventosios Dvasios Baznycia)
The Church of the Holy Spirit (Sventosios Dvasios Baznycia) is located very near the Gates of Dawn. Coming from the old town, you must walk 100 yards from the Gates of Dawn on the left side of a road in a small park. In the park there is the Church of the Holy Spirit. This is a Russian Orthodox church.
From the outside the building looks rather plain. From the inside, the walls are painted in bright colors and a pretty intrusive shade of green predominates here. Do not miss the pavilion in front of the altar. This church is a hidden gem! A bit small and covered by trees almost unnoticed, especially because it is not open 24 hours.
Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania
The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania is located in the basement of the imposing government building in the central square of Vilnius and its interior is rebuilt as well as the history of the building in Lithuania. Along the scenic museum, you can see and learn everything about Lithuanian culture that is rich in all kinds and you can better understand the habits, customs and history of the Lithuanian people. It is a must see for those who are visiting the beautiful city of Vilnius.
Vilnius is perhaps the most underrated of the three Baltic capitals, but definitely worth a visit! The old town is amazing, especially the beautiful Cathedral square, from which all the more there are challenging routes leading to other attractions of the city. Specially noted is the Gediminas Avenue; follow this road as it gives the impression of being in a Central European capital rather than in a country that has suffered for many years under Soviet occupation. Vilnius is a city that is definitely worth a visit.
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