Vilnius has many faces – its labyrinthine Old Town, its sleek business district, its elegant centre, its many open squares and parks, its historic suburbs – all of which blend together into a seamless complete city. The city’s charm is in its harmonious sense of unity – it just feels right whichever way you look at it.
The historical centre of Vilnius, is one of the largest old town centres in Eastern Europe covering almost 360 hectares. The Old Town is situated in a picturesque valley of Vilnia and Neris rivers, at the crossroads of trade roads, next to the fort, which was guarded by Vilnius castle in the past.
Vilnius offers different museums of art, nature, architecture, history, science, theatre, music and cinema, literature, as well as memorial museums. Those who love impressive sights should visit Gediminas’ Castle or the Campanile of St. John‘s and enjoy an impressive panorama of Vilnius. The Gates of Dawn is famed for a painting, which is said to have miracle-working powers and the apparition of the Virgin Mary.
To make your visit unforgettable take part in Vilnius walking tours, or be blown away by a bus sightseeing tour. Don't miss the opportunity to take to the air and discover the medieval city centre and beyond with a hot air balloon ride. Touch "Lithuanian gold" (amber) in the galleries and view museum displays, both indoors and outside. Experience extreme fun in adventure parks, take a break with a glass of beer or wine, try out our national cuisine and experience the vibrant nightlife!
Vilnius has always been a city open to dialogues of different cultures. Profound traditions and experiences of ethnic culture are creatively incorporated into modern art forms – theatre, music, visual arts, and dance – and render a new quality of art. Lithuanian artists are known throughout Europe and worldwide.
Lithuanians are a highly cultured people and Vilnius is something of a Mecca for the arts. Vilnius boasts some of the best contemporary theatre in Europe and its innovative productions are routinely sold out. Likewise, barely a week passes without a music festival or major concert taking place, whether it be jazz, blues, classical, rock, alternative music, gospel or...well, the list could go on.
The city is beautiful in all seasons. However, it becomes especially attractive and lively during the time of the festivals. Crowds of people fill the streets, live music is played in the squares, parks, churches and concert halls during the Kaziukas mugė (St Casimir’s Fair), the Folklore Festival Skamba skamba kankliai, Cultural Night, Capital Days, or the Kristupo festivalis (St Christopher Festival).
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Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania
The residence of the grand dukes of Lithuania was build at the turn of the 15th–16th centuries. During 16th century the palace underwent two reconstructions. It was rebuilt in renaissance style with a closed inner courtyard. In the 16th–17th centuries, it served as a centre of political and cultural life of old Lithuania.
Gediminas' Tower of the Upper Castle
The castle tower named after Grand Duke Gediminas, the founding father of the city, is a symbol of the capital. The museum in Gediminas Castle Tower hosts an exhibition that includes reconstructed models of the 14th–16th mentury. The panorama viewed from the roof of the Castle Tower attracts a lot of visitors.
Ensemble of Vilnius University
Vilnius University is one of the oldest universities in Central and Eastern Europe. It was faunded in 1579. The complexes of Vilnius University were formed over several centuries and, as a result, consist of the buildings built in Gothic, Baroque and Classical styles. The exclusive panoramic view of Vilnius can be admired from the highest building in the Old Town – the campanile of St. John’s Church.
The Vatican is not the only state within a city. Vilnius has its very own Republic of Užupis! Although this republic is not officially recognized as a sovereign state, it does have its own constitution and national anthem. While wandering around you will notice the Užupis Angel, which is considered the guardian of Užupis.
Pilies Street is the oldest and most flamboyant street in the Old Town of Vilnius. This was the main road to the castle, with its branches finally turning into side streets. Kings, legates of the Pope, and envoys from other countries passed this street on their way to the castle. Noblemen and rich citizens built their houses in Pilies Street. The Botanical Garden of Vilnius University was established in one of the courtyards at the end of the 18th century. The street is distinguished for its architectural variety.