Vilnius Old Town © Iulius
The Lithuanian capital of Vilnius is somewhat
unique compared to the major cities in the rest of the Baltic
States. Its old architecture is a hodgepodge of styles with
Scandinavian, Russian, and German influences.
The mix blends well into a charming 'Vilnian
Baroque', filling the cobblestoned, winding streets of the old
quarter. Enhanced by its picturesque setting in a valley at the
confluence of the Neris and Vilnia rivers, nestling beneath wooded
hills in the southeast corner of Lithuania.
Overlooking the city from a central hill is the
landmark Gediminas Castle, named after the medieval Grand Duke who
founded the city, with its impressive tower, from which visitors
can enjoy an unrivalled view of the old town and the shiny new
section on the right bank of the Neris.
Gediminas Square is the heart of the old quarter,
featuring the splendid classical cathedral. The city boasts
numerous other interesting churches, beautiful historic buildings,
museums, monuments and parks, and the splendid University of
Vilnius, one of Europe's oldest institutions of learning, chartered
In its 'golden age' during the Middle Ages,
Vilnius was renowned as the region's centre for culture and
learning, and today it has reclaimed that reputation, with a packed
programme of events always on the go.
These include the classical music evenings at the
Philharmonic Society Hall and performances at the Opera and Ballet
Theatre, Youth Theatre, and Academic Drama Theatre, to exhibitions
in numerous art galleries and a vast modern art centre.
The city also plays host to numerous commercial
fairs and exhibitions annually. Last, but not least, when the sun
goes down Vilnius reveals the fun side of its nature, with a
nightlife that is fast gaining a reputation as one of the hottest
in Eastern Europe.
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