The Lithuanian capital is probably the least known of the Baltic cities
The Baltic capitals of Riga and Tallinn and now pretty well known to many British tourists and are very much on the map for those taking city breaks and also for Baltic cruise travellers. The Lithuanian capital of Vilnius seems to be a bit of an exception and is missing out on the attention which it most certainly deserves.
Vilnius is known for its baroque architecture, seen especially in its medieval old town. The Old Town of Vilnius was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994 due to its impressive mix of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and classical buildings. The Old Town’s architectural diversity results from raging fires in the 16th to 18th centuries, in addition to significant bomb damage during World War II. The Gothic St. Anne’s Church is one of the most prominent buildings to have escaped the ravages of fire and warm.
The Cathedral of St. Stanislav and St. Vladislav with its 57 metre high belfry is the most important place of worship for the country‘s Catholics and the venue for the main Christian, folk and national festivities. The cathedral was reputedly built in the 13th century on the site of a pagan temple. The belfry meanwhile originally formed part of a city gate in the defensive walls. The only surviving structures of this type are the 16th-century Gates of Dawn, home to the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary and revered by both Catholic and Orthodox faiths alike.
Amongst the more recent sights to be created in Vilnius are three new sculptures which will no doubt join the list of “must-sees” for visitors to the city:-
Skalikai Lithuanian Hound (Skalikas)
A sculpture Lithuanian Hound has been erected at the foot of Gediminas Hill. Hunting and guard dogs were kept by Lithuanian rulers and nobles.
A Monument to John Lennon
The memory of John Lennon, the famous singer/songwriter and guitarist of the legendary rock band The Beatles, has been commemorated in Vilnius. A bronze sculpture portraying Lennon’s face, one eye of which is covered by a flower, stands on a granite column. The sculpture aims to symbolize peace and harmony/
A sculpture The Finn by sculptor Tadas Gutauskas has been erected in Viršuliškių Street. The sculpture of Finnish flag colours – white and blue – portrays a steel giant holding a cloud. The ten-meter-high work symbolises the human desire to pursue the unreachable and chase one’s dream
For anyone interested in travelling to Vilnius from the UK there are daily flights from London Stansted and flights twice a week from Liverpool.