Vilnius, Rome of the East

Friday, 24 April 2015 - 11:50 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Architecture, European Union, European Capital of Culture, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  4 minutes

Skyscrapers in Vilnius © Arroww

Skyscrapers in Vilnius © Arroww

Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,000 (850,000 together with Vilnius County). It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County. Vilnius has been rapidly transformed, and the town has emerged as a modern European city. Many of its older buildings have been renovated, and a business and commercial area is being developed into the New City Centre, expected to become the city’s main administrative and business district on the north side of the Neris river. This area includes modern residential and retail space, with the municipality building and the 129-metre (423′) Europa Tower as its most prominent buildings. Vilnius was selected as a 2009 European Capital of Culture, along with Linz, the capital of Upper Austria. Its 2009 New Year’s Eve celebration, marking the event, featured a light show said to be “visible from outer space”. In preparation, the historical centre of the city was restored, and its main monuments were renewed. Besides the many official programs for the Cultural Capital year, there have been efforts to promote subcultural venues, such as the Kultflux and Vilnus Triennale program, showing young arts from all over Lithuania and Europe to a general public, both in public spaces, such as on the river shore of Neris river, and in several vacant buildings within the city centre.

Vilnius is a cosmopolitan city with diverse architecture. There are 65 churches in Vilnius. Like most medieval towns, Vilnius was developed around its Town Hall. The main artery, Pilies Street, links the Royal Palace with Town Hall. Other streets meander through the palaces of feudal lords and landlords, churches, shops and craftsmen’s workrooms. Narrow, curved streets and intimate courtyards developed in the radial layout of medieval Vilnius. Vilnius Old Town, the historical centre of Vilnius, is one of the largest in Europe (3.6 km²).

Ostrobramska © Wojsyl Vilnius © Andrejavus Vilnius at dusk © Halfwit Sock Town Hall © Nikater The Orthodox church of Holy Mother of God © Wojsyl St Ann's church and Bernardine Monastery © Wojsyl Siemens Arena © Knutux Monument to Basketball © Juliux Gediminas Tower from downtown © Nikater Europa Tower © Mantas Indrašius Church in Vilnius © Arroww Cathedral Square © Arz Belmonto parkas © Emka Vilnius University - Alumni Yard © Wojsyl Vilnius skyline at night © Hejsa Vilnius Panorama © Jan Mehlich Vilnius montage © Matasg Skyscrapers in Vilnius © Arroww
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The Orthodox church of Holy Mother of God © Wojsyl
The most valuable historic and cultural sites are concentrated here. The buildings in the old town — there are nearly 1,500 — were built over several centuries, creating a blend of many different architectural styles. Although Vilnius is known as a Baroque city, there are examples of Gothic (e.g. St Anne’s Church), Renaissance, and other styles. Their combination is also a gateway to the historic centre of the capital. Owing to its uniqueness, the Old Town of Vilnius was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994. In 1995, the world’s first bronze cast of Frank Zappa was installed in the Naujamiestis district with the permission of the government.

To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facepage pages/Twitter accounts. Read more on Vilnius Tourism, Wikitravel Vilnius, Vilna Ghetto, Wikivoyage Vilnius and Wikipedia Vilnius. Learn more about the use of photos.




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