Vilnius

Gregory Terekhin
Feb 4
The city break at the capital of Lithuania, founded in the 13th century at the venue where the 2 rivers — Vilnia and Neris — merge. Vilnius’s Old Town is included into the UNESCO World heritage list.
The City Hall of Vilnius 

The town hall in Vilnius was mentioned for the first time in 1432. Initially, it was a Gothic style building and has since been reconstructed many times. The current Vilnius Town Hall was rebuilt in neoclassical style according to the design by Laurynas Gucevičius in 1799. Nowadays it is used for representational purposes as well as during the visits of foreign state officials and rulers, including George Bush and Queen Elizabeth II. The honoring of the military academies' cadets and even the wedding ceremonies are held at the Town Hall.

Gates of Dawn

It was built between 1503 and 1522 as a part of defensive fortifications for the city of Vilnius, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In the 16th century city gates often contained religious artifacts intended to guard the city from attacks and to bless travelers. The Chapel in the Gate of Dawn contains an icon of The Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of Mercy, said to have miraculous powers. Nowadays, the Gates of Dawn are the pilgrimage point among the catholics all over the world, especially from Poland and Lithuania. The Miracle-working icon can be seen from the street through the wide windows of the Chapel.

Senamiestis (Old Town) of Vilnius

Do you know that Vilnius's Senamiestis (Old Town) is guarded by UNESCO? It was included into the World Heritage list in 1994. Once you have walked through its narrow streets you will understand why. The Old town is so beautiful yet full of secrets. The buildings from the last centuries, gothic churches, cobbled pavements. You feel yourself like in the fairy-tale. If I were a movie director I would film a historical or even the horror movie here:) The special attention should be paid to the Jewish quarter (Zydu and Stikliu streets), where the Jewish people had their small shops and businesses before the WW2. Vilnius has deserved the title 'Jerusalem of North' due to the number of the population before 1941...when the Holocaust started.

Uzupis district

Have you been in the Copenhagen's Christiania? Do you like the informal lifestyle of the 'state in the state'?:) Then Uzupis ('The other side of the river') is the must-visit place. The district has been popular with artists for some time, and has been compared to Montmartre in Paris, due to its bohemic and laissez-faire atmosphere. On April 1, 1997, the district declared itself an independent republic (The Republic of Užupis). You can read the Constitution in dozen of different languages on one of the Uzupis's main streets.

Trakai Castle

Do you like castles? Especially the ones facing the lake? Then go to Trakai, the town just 20 km from Vilnius. The Castle that is encircled by the Galve lake was initially built in the 14th century. It served as the Lithuanians Grand Dukes' residence for a long time. Currently Castle hosts the historical museum with the artifacts, archeological excavations, ancient coins etc. The beautiful lake and nature of Trakai attract lots of tourists, especially in the summer time. You can swim, sunbathe and then have a lunch or dinner in one of the numerous cafes and restaurants on the embankment. Do not forget to try the 'kibinai' - the national pies with different fillings (meat, curds erc.) - in Trakai they are especially delicious!:) And what to drink? Obviously, the 'trauktinai', the local liqueurs made of berries. 

The Museum of the Grand Dukes' Palace

It's the museum time:) If you are in Vilnius it is worth visiting the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania. It is on of the main museums in Lithuania devoted to the country's history. The Palace was originally constructed in the 15th century for the rulers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the future Kings of Poland. The palace, located in the lower castle of Vilnius, evolved over the years and prospered during the 16th and mid-17th centuries. For four centuries the palace was the political, administrative and cultural centre of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The museum has the extensive collection of excavations, paintings, jewelry, royal crowns etc. There is an observation point on the top floor of the building with the nice City view.

The Vilnius University Botanical Garden 

Do you love gardens? Especially with the carefully selected plants and trees (since it belongs to the Vilnius University)? Then the essential visiting point is the Vilnius botanical garden. It was established by professor Jean-Emmanuel Gilibert of Vilnius University in 1781. In 1832 the Vilnius University and Botanical Garden were closed. In 1919, the Botanical Garden of the Polish Stefan Batory University was started in a new location, in Zakret. In 1975 territory of the garden was expanded, and since then the main part of the garden is in Kairėnai which is situated in Antakalnis elderate of Vilnius.