Vilnius is a bigger, less dense city then Tallinn and Riga. Still, the best way to see the old part of Vilnius is by doing a walking tour. We started ours at the steps of the City Hall, from where we walked to Vokiečių gatvė to learn more about the history of Vilnius.
This street, which translates to German street, has some of the oldest buildings in Vilnius. Next, we passed through the old Jewish quarter and towards Užupis. Užupis is a self-proclaimed independent republic, which is quite interesting. The “country” is filled with all sorts of artistic expressions; one of the requirements for entering is simply to smile. Have a look at their constitution, displayed in different languages on individual plaques. After an entertaining stroll, we headed towards our next stop: the St. Anne’s Church.
During the Soviet era, the St. Anne’s Church was used as a place to play basketball, as the Russians were atheists. Nowadays, basketball plays an important role in Lithuania, and its national team is among the best in the world. We finished the walking tour at University Square, home to both the Vilnius University and Palace. An interesting fact: Vilnius has more universities per capita then any other of the Baltic countries, which strangely enough resulted in too many educated young people, who didn’t want to do simple jobs and rather left to neighboring countries for more skilled jobs.
After finishing the walking tour, we made our way to Cathedral Square, where we climbed up the steps of the Gediminas Tower, part of the Vilnius Castle. A quick but steep twenty minutes later we were rewarded with an amazing yet contrasting view of the old and new parts of Vilnius.
We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.Read Mark & Herta’s full story.