Vilnius Journals

Vilnius II: Baroque, Bohemian, Bizarre, Beloved

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A June 2004 trip to Vilnius by Owen Lipsett

Presidential Palace Photo, Vilnius, Lithuania More Photos
Quote: Vilnius’ combination of a fascinating historical past and an enjoyably bohemian present make it an irresistible destination. Here are a few further notes on some of its more interesting (and idiosyncratic) sights and a guesthouse so superb it should almost be considered one of them!

Litinterp

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Hotel

Litinterp Photo, Vilnius, Lithuania
Quote:
Many things about my stay in Vilnius seemed too good to be true, but chief among them was Litinterp. No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, I’m referring to a guesthouse as one of the highlights of one of my favorite cities in the world. Location: The guesthouse (the company also offers apartment rentals and homestays) is located in a drab building a short stagger down Bernardinu gatve from Pilies gatve (the Old Town’s main street). Your cue to turn is the teapot-studded corner of the two streets, one of the more subtle of Vilnius’ many idiosyncratic landmarks. Consequently, it’s convenient to all the sights and restau...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 10, 2005

Litinterp
2341 Vior Drive
Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius: Whose Fatherland?

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Story/Tip

Presidential Palace Photo, Vilnius, Lithuania
Quote:
Although the Lithuanian State Jewish Museum and National Museum of Lithuania hint at elements Vilnius’ multiethnic past, I have yet to encounter a guidebook or a museum that presented it in an a straightforward or narrative manner. Consequently, I hope this humble contribution may be of some use to you in appreciating the multiple influences that have shaped what is now a predominantly Lithuanian city. "Lithuania! My fatherland!" Every Polish schoolchild knows though words because the constitute (in Polish) the first line of Poland’s national epic, Pan Tadeusz. Yes, you did read that correctly. The explanation for this paradox is that their author, Adam Mickiewicz (or Ad...Read More

Old Town Vilnius' Three Finest Churches

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Story/Tip

St. Anne's Church Photo, Vilnius, Lithuania
Quote:
While it’s hard to find an uninteresting building in Vilnius’ sprawling Baroque Old Town, if you only have limited time in the city, your visit will be incomparably richer if you visit these three churches. All are open to the public on Mondays, when the city’s museums are closed. St. Anne’s Church According to legend, when the Emperor Napoleon stopped in Vilnius at the beginning of his ill-fated attempt to invade Russia, he was so enamored of this magnificent brick Gothic church that he expressed the desire to bring it back with him to France in the palm of his hand. Another, perhaps more credible version of the same story holds that he considered ordering it dismantled b...Read More

Frank Zappa Monument

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Attraction

Frank Zappa Monument Photo, Vilnius, Lithuania
Quote:
Vilnius’ most famous monument (at least internationally) doesn’t commemorate a Lithuanian or even an event in Lithuanian history. In fact, Frank Zappa (yes, that Frank Zappa) wasn’t even of Lithuanian descent. Yet the story of the statue may reflect the spirit that makes Vilnius such a friendly and offbeat place, as well its residents’ fight against authoritarianism, better than any other monument within the city--or, indeed, others elsewhere in Eastern Europe (think of Prague’s giant metronome, for example). Zappa himself never visited Lithuania, although his antiestablishment stance made him an extremely popular figure among anti-Communist youths in Eastern Europe. In 1992, Lithuania...Read More

Frank Zappa Monument
1 Kaulinausko Street
Vilnius, Lithuania

Lithuanian National Song Dome Photo, Vilnius, Lithuania
Quote:
You may want to exercise caution in making your way to the Hill Park, a wooded recreation area that is Vilnius’s second-finest vantage point after Gediminas Hill, whose 91 meter summit is crowned with three gigantic white crosses. It’s not because these monuments, erected in 1989 under perestroika to commemorate Lithuanians deported to Siberia and to replace the originals, which the Soviets tore down in 1950, are guarded, though they once were. Nor does it have to do with the considerable difficulty you’re likely to encounter in finding the road leading to the crosses, which have stood on the site in some form or other since the 17th century, when their wooden predecessors were erected in hon...Read More