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Places to see in Vilnius,
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Vilnius info

Places to see in Vilnius

Places to see in Vilnius, things to do in Vilnius, Lithuania

1. Cathedral

There are a few different legends about when the Cathedral was actually founded. 1) One legend tells us that Jogailla in 1387 gave order that a cathedral should be built on the site where the people had long been wor-shipping the God of Thunder, Perkunas. According to this legend this should have been the first church being build in Lithuania. 2) Another legend has it that Grand Duke Min-daugas founded it already in 1251, the same year he got baptised.Many things points out the latter theory to be right because arche-ologists have found a brick building with a square tower, dated from this time. BUT, even the first mentioned theory could be true.



2. Gediminas castle

The history of the castle is closely connected with the formation of the city. According to the legend found in the Chronicle of Lithuania, the castle on the Castle Hill was founded by Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas, who once had a prophetical dream. In his dream he saw an iron wolf standing on this place and howling like a hundred wolves. The pagan priest Lizdeika interpreted this dream as gods' will. Gediminas should build a castle and a city that would soon become famous and prosperous, and would be unassailable for enemies. According to other historical facts, in the 5-6th centuries there had already been large settlements on the banks of the Vilnia River and Gediminas chose this place for the construction of the new town because of its favorable geographical position.



3. Church of St Ann

St Anne's Church is the most beautiful example of Late Gothic in Lithuania. The construction works lasted almost a century, completed only in 1581. Since then the exterior has almost not changed. The facade was created using no less than 33 different kinds of brick - different colours, different shapes - giving it an extraordinary look. The bell tower, in Neogothic style, was added in 1874.





4. Gates of Dawn

The Gate of Dawn is the only remaining gate (out of 9) from the old fortification built between 1503 and 1522 that surrounded Vilnius in the past. The Gate is nowadays a pilgrimage site. From time to time lots of people stand in front of it, looking up to the open space above the entrance, praying. Inside there is a small chapel where you'll find a picture of the Mother of Mercy. And it is said that she can make miracles! The picture dates from the 17th century and comes from the Carmelite convent that was situated close to the city wall at that time.



5. Genocide Victims Museum

For those of us who have luckily never experienced either loss or risk to their freedom, it is worthwhile to visit this museum. The impact of what this nation endured and suffered since 1935 until 1991 will give you cause to reflect on how lucky you have been. True, the cellars still have the padded cell for prisoners who had been broken under interrogation and the 'wet' cells etc but if you have studied the displays upstairs, you will realise that this is not something out of 'James Bond' and why the staircases are covered in mesh. You will also understand why such museums are evident across the Baltic States and how valuable personal freedom is.



6. Church of St. Francis and Bernardine

A Bernardine monastery was founded on the site in 1469. Later on the church was built. It is known that one of the architects at the time of its building in 1500 - 1520 .After some reconstructions it was transformed in a more Baroque way during the 18th century. It is now undergoing restoration works which are really very much needed in some parts of the church, as you can see on my two last pictures...




7. Uzupis district

Uzupis is a district in another part side of river Vilnele. It is architecture alike old town's All like to call Uzupis Lithuanian "Montmartre", because you always feel special there. It is like town and village in one place. Lot of photographers like taking photos there and artists is always find what to do in this special place, where you can find corner of "frozen history" and village life.




8. Hill of Three Crosses: sea of the red roofs

To go to the hill you need to walk within a path in a forest. The crosses are a basic tourist thing, not so confusing. In the hill you can see many red roofs of the old fashioned houses in Vilnius. I was there in the summer but I think the sight would be better when the trees have not yet growed the leafs, which weaken the visibility to town.





9. TV tower

In 1991 the Soviet forces were attempting to take Lithuanian tv off the air. A large proportion of the population turned out to defend the tv station. This is a monument to those killed on that day.






10. Belfry in Cathedral Square: The lonely clock tower

The square where the cathedral and the clock tower sits was earlier the area of the lower castle. The area was surrounded by a 1km long wall with four gates. The clock tower is the only remaining part of this fortification. One can clearly see that the lower part of the tower has traces of a defensive building. It was presumably built during the 13th century. As it lost its defensive role during the 16th century, it got three octagonal floors and was transformed to a clock tower. The hight is 52m. The clock itself is regarded as a master-piece of perfection. It was constructed in the 17th century and still shows the time perfectly - it hasn't been adjusted for decades, except for the summer and winter times nowadays used in the whole of EU.


For more info on places to see in Tallin,Riga, Prague, Vienna, Budapest