Whether you're planning a trip to Lithuania, or just passing through, here are a few things to see and do in Vilnius. It's Lithuania's capital and has a medieval Old Town, which is known for its baroque architecture. The city also has a Museum of Genocide Victims, a National Opera House, and a Ballet Theater.
Known as the Independent Republic of Uzupis, this small district in Vilnius is a popular destination for travelers. It has a unique and quirky culture that makes it an interesting place to visit.
The area was once the Jewish community center and a notorious red light district. It was also the poorest section of Vilnius. In the Soviet era, run-down buildings provided little or no amenities and people began using them as squats and brothels.
Since independence, the Uzupis district has become a bohemian artistic hub. This is reflected in the large number of art installations scattered throughout the neighborhood. The Uzupis Art Incubator features shops where you can purchase local art. It is also home to several art galleries.
Located in the old town of Vilnius, Lithuania, the Bell Tower is one of the oldest structures in the city. The free-standing tower was constructed in the 13th century and was a part of the medieval defences of the city. The tower is now part of the Cathedral.
The tower is not only interesting for its architectural features, but also for its role in the history of the city. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower and enjoy the panoramic view of the city from there. The tower was the site of several large fires in the past, but many of the wooden constructions are still standing.
Church of the Holy Spirit
Located in Vilnius, Lithuania, the Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit is the oldest Orthodox sanctuary in Lithuania. It was built in the Baroque style in 1749-1753. The building has two towers and a Latin cross plan. Its interior is decorated with stucco mouldings and sculptures. It has sixteen altars and an organ. The church was restored in the 19th century.
The church's name comes from a relic of Saint Eustache, a Roman general who converted to Christianity in the second century. This relic was transferred from the Saint Eustache's Church in Vilnius to the Holy Spirit in 1638. Originally, this wooden church stood in Vilnius. It was destroyed by a fire in the 18th century. The church was rebuilt in the Baroque style and the name was changed.
Museum of Genocide Victims
Located in a former KGB headquarters, the Museum of Genocide Victims is a sombre reminder of the past. Housed in a building where Soviet officials tortured and murdered Lithuanian citizens, the exhibit is an attempt to document the repression of the people of Lithuania.
The exhibit is divided into two parts. The first presents the events of 1940-1941, the years that the USSR occupied the Baltics. The second part is about armed resistance, the period of the guerrilla war. These exhibitions are accompanied by a bookstore, which sells publications of the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania.
The museum was built in 1991, a year after the Soviets left. The building used to be the headquarters of the KGB and was also the prison for suspected Soviet agents. Many of the cells are still intact, though some have been converted to the museum.
National Opera House and Ballet Theater
Located in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, the National Opera House and Ballet Theatre is one of the largest and most significant cultural centers in the country. It is also the venue for many major festivals and official state events.
The LNOBT building is a combination of late modernism and traditional Lithuanian materials, such as red clay bricks, brass pieces and an exquisite wood finish. Its main hall features a chandelier that is lit from behind by LED lights.
The LNOBT aims to cultivate the traditions of national musical theatre and develop contemporary musical theatre. To do so, it collaborates with leading international and local organisations. It is a member of the International Society for Performing Arts (ISPA) and the European Network of Education Departments in Opera Houses.
Day trips from Vilnius
During a day trip from Vilnius you can take in a castle, a museum, a forest, and a river. These day trips from Vilnius are ideal for nature lovers, history buffs, and families.
The best day trip from Vilnius is to visit the historical town of Trakai. Located between lakes, the town is easy to reach by train and bus. The most popular attraction is the medieval island castle. There are several other sites to see, including a museum, market, and a traditional food market.
Another option for a day trip from Vilnius is to visit the Grutas Park. This park is a perfect mix of nature and Soviet iconography. While the park may seem a little tricky to find, it's actually a great way to learn about the history of Lithuania's Soviet regime.