VILNIUS, LITHUANIA

Lithuania is a country and the southernmost of Europe’s Baltic states, a former Soviet bloc nation bordering Poland, Latvia and Belarus. Its capital, Vilnius, near Belarus’ border, is known for its medieval Old Town. It also has Gothic, Renaissance and baroque architecture, and 18th-century cathedral built on a pagan temple site. Hilltop Gediminas’ Tower, a symbol of the city and the nation, offers sweeping views.

Blame it on the Baltic sea breeze or the almost-endless midsummer days: Lithuania has an otherworldly quality. In the southernmost of the Baltic states, beaches are spangled with amber and woodlands are alive with demonic statues. Medieval-style mead and traditional wood-carving never went out of style.

Offsetting Lithuania’s reverence of tradition is a spirited counterculture, particularly in compact capital Vilnius. A city of churches and baroque finery, Vilnius’ cobblestoned charms haven’t gone unnoticed by tourists. Less visited are second city Kaunas and spa resort Druskininkai, where 19th-century architecture nudges against brooding Soviet buildings.

As Europe’s last country to be Christianised, pagan history still soaks the land. Curonian Spit, splintering from the Baltic coast, is awash in folklore. Cyclists, hikers and beach-goers eagerly board ferries to its voluptuous dunes. Cloaking the rest of Lithuania are lakes, forests of birch and pine, and pancake-flat farmland; in Lithuania, there’s ample space to breathe.

MO Museum

In MO Museum each visitor can discover their own relationship to the works / art like : – some works will allow them to recognise their own experiences, – Some work reminding them of the past – Some work pieces will not inspire much of a reaction – Some work will introduce viewers to completely news stories and experiences. One can have an opportunity to learn not only about art but the individuals behind it – about the artists and their lives, etc. The exhibition takes up both the hall – Large and Small. 
 
Museum offers visitors various tools for enhancing their experience. Museum also offer educational activities designed for different age groups, from children to adults. Teachers and students will be able to study the exhibition within the context of integrated lessons on world events, literature or history. Interacting with the artworks will allow them to develop self-awareness, emotional intelligence and collaborative skills. At the same time, everyone who tries out visual thinking will realise that they, too, can be an art expert!

Vilnius Museum of Illusions

Visitor will not believe on their eyes – As this entire museum is devoted to mind-tricking works of art. Vilnius Museum of Illusions opened in 2016. It features about 70 exhibits demonstrating optical illusions, 3-D art, virtual reality, and installations that challenge the senses. Novel museum with exhibits involving upside-down rooms & size distortions, plus an LED light show.Here (images bend and shift) people seem to have the ability to walk on walls, and stories are told in light. 
 
The museum’s 3-D paintings and the perspective illusions were created by local artists. Four times a week, the museum also features dance performances from Liepsnose Studios. Their performances combine dance and technology in an LED light show about the history of Vilnius. The main idea behind the museum is to have fun. Pictures are allowed and encouraged— the staff might even help you get that perfect shot. It is Unique museum with optical illusions.

Vilnius TV Tower

The Vilnius Television Tower is the tallest building in Lithuania at 326.5 metres high, and is an immediately recognisable fixture on the cityscape. The Television Tower played host to the January Events; events that took place in January 1991 as Lithuania fought for its independence from the Soviet Union. During the affair, 14 unarmed Lithuanian civilians were killed, while another 700 were injured as Soviet troops seized the tower. 
 
A small museum dedicated to them is on the ground floor and crosses in their memory are by the main entrance. Today, visitors can go up to a revolving circular observation platform, which on clear days, provides spectacular views across the whole city as well as Elektrenai (a city located 25 miles west and powered much of Vilnius’ electricity during the Soviet days).

Hill of Three Crosses

Legend has it that long ago seven Franciscan monks were crucified here. Originally erected in the 17th century, Stalin had the crosses removed and buried, and only in 1989 were they rebuilt according to the original plans. The crosses are a great symbol of both Lithuanian mourning and hope. Three Crosses is a prominent monument in Vilnius, Lithuania, on the Hill of Three Crosses, originally known as the Bald Hill, in Kalnai Park. It soon became a symbol of the city and an integral part of the city’s skyline. As wood rots, the crosses needed to be periodically replaced. 
 
In 1916, a concrete monument was designed by Polish–Lithuanian architect and Antanas Vivulskis in Lithuanian. It was torn down in 1950 by order of the Soviet authorities. A new monument designed by Henrikas Šilgalis was erected in its place in 1989. The monument was depicted on 50 litas banknote. A spectacular panorama of the Vilnius Old Town can be observed from a small observation deck at the base of the crosses.

Cathedral Square

The Cathedral square (Vilnius) is a symbol of the city beneath the tower of Vilnius Cathedral. It is not merely the most lively and important location in the city, but is also one of the most significant and widely known symbols of Lithuania. Cathedral Square lies in the heart of Vilnius’s Old Town, very next to the magnificent Vilnius Cathedral and its distinctive bell tower. Spend time here to experience the city’s traditional civic center. Located at the crossroads of Vilnius’ main streets. 
 
Cathedral Square regularly hosts fairs, events, concerts, exhibitions, military parades, religious and official public events, attractions and large concerts, New Year’s salutes and exhibitions. Check out the cathedral’s architecture, trace the outline of the ancient city walls and admire the square’s historical monuments. The Cathedral Square in Vilnius is the main square of the Vilnius Old Town.

Gediminas Castle Tower

Gediminas Castle is the last of a series of settlements and fortified buildings occupying this site since Neolithic times. Gediminas’ Tower is the remaining part of the Upper Castle in Vilnius, Lithuania. The first wooden fortifications were built by Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania. The first brick castle was completed in 1409 by Grand Duke Vytautas. The three-floor tower was rebuilt in 1933 by Polish architect Jan Borowski. Some remnants of the old castle have been restored, guided by archaeological research. It is possible to climb to the top of the hill on foot or by taking a lift. 
 
The tower houses a museum exhibiting archaeological findings from the hill and the surrounding areas. The museum has models of Vilnius castles from the 14th to the 17th centuries, armament, and iconographic material of the Old Vilnius. Gediminas’ Tower is an important state and historic symbol of the city of Vilnius and of Lithuania itself. It was depicted on the former national currency, the litas, and is mentioned in numerous Lithuanian patriotic poems and folk songs. The flag of Lithuania was re-hoisted atop the tower on October 7, 1988, during the independence movement that was finalized by the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania on March 11, 1990.

Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights

It is the only museum in the Baltic States, founded in the same building, within which, since 1940, all the way up to 1991, The Soviet repression institutions, NKVD and NKGB-MGB-KGB functioned. These were not very pleasant organizations. In short, their aim was to preserve the Soviet Union, carry out complete surveillance of residents, spy abroad and, if necessary, to neutralize, control and pursue. The Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights was established in 1992 .In 1997 it was transferred to the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania. 
 
The museum is located in the former KGB headquarters across from the Lukiškės Square; therefore, it is informally referred to as the KGB Museum. The museum is dedicated mostly to collecting and exhibiting documents relating to the 50-year occupation of Lithuania by the Soviet Union, the anti-Soviet Lithuanian partisans, and the victims of the arrests, deportations, and executions that took place during this period.

Trakai Island Castle

Trakai was one of the main centers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the castle held great strategic importance. Soviet Communists restored the castle and established the Trakai History Museum there Construction of the Trakai Island Castle on one of the larger islands of Galvė Lake began in the second half of the 14th century; at the same time, modernisation of the Peninsula Castle took place. The Island Castle was meant to be a fortress and any raiders never conquered it. 
 
In the beginning, the Island Castle had elements both of enclosure and convent types i.e. it had a U-form ducal palace and an outer ward. Presumably, the construction of the castle was begun by the Grand Duke Kęstutis and was concluded in the early 15th century by his son Vytautas. In the second stage of construction works, the layout of the castle was slightly changed. In the eve of the Battle of Grunwald, the expanded castle was a modern structure; the towers of the curtain wall were adjusted for the flank defence and had 15 cannons. After the defeat of the Teutonic Order at the Battle of Grunwald in 1410, the Island Castle became the residence of the Grand Duke. In the beginning of the 15th century, Trakai was a flourishing city, frequently visited by merchants, honoured guests, and foreign messengers, who were welcomed in the Great Hall of the Island Castle. 
 
In 1413, Benedictus de Macra, the messenger of the Emperor Sigismund assigned an arbiter in the argument between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Teutonic Order regarding the Samogitian border, was received in the Island Castle. The King of Poland Jogaila (Jagiello), a cousin of Vytautas the Great, visited the castle for 13 times. In the 16th century, having lost the military and residential functions, the role of the castle went down and the visits of Grand Dukes became increasingly seldom. The Lithuanian Metrics that had been kept in the castle was moved to Vilnius in 1511, and the Island Castle became a prison for noblemen. After desolating invasion of Muscovy troops in 1655–1661, Trakai was plundered and burned down; the Island Castle was destroyed and remained ruined; the city did not revive and became a small provincial town. In the 19th century, Romanticism ideas provoke interest in Lithuanian past, especially in the castles of Trakai. 
 
Artists painted the ruins of the Island Castle, made copies of the remaining fragments of the wall paintings, engineers and architects prepared restoration projects for the castle. Engineer B. Malewski prepared a project for partial restoration and conservation of the south-eastern tower of the curtain wall. Although the works accomplished were not large-scale, they were important for the preservation of the castle. From 1929 till 1941, restoration works were supervised by a Polish architect J. Borowski. During that period, the foundation of the stone-walls was reinforced, the corner buttresses partially restored, the facade of the castle cleared from ruins, the central tower strengthened, and the reconstruction of the Great Hall begun. 
 
After the World War II, conservation, restoration and reconstruction works of the Trakai castles were continued by Lithuanian restorers. The reconstruction of the Island Castle started in 1953. The ducal palace was rebuilt under the project of the architect B. Krūminis in 1962; the reconstruction of the outer ward buildings was carried out under the project of the architect St. Mikulionis and was concluded in 1987. After the corner towers and the western casemates of the outer ward were rebuilt, the Island Castle that is a symbol of Lithuania and Trakai assumed the look it had in the 15th century. 
 
After the restoration of Independence of Lithuania, Trakai Island Castle again welcomes honoured guests; important state treaties were signed there. In 1962, the Island Castle was conveyed to Trakai History Museum. Both permanent and temporary exhibitions are now open to the visitors; numerous concerts, festivals and other events take place in the Island Castle in the present days.

Gate of Dawn

The Gate of Dawn, or Sharp Gate is a city gate in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, and one of its most important religious, historical and cultural monuments. It is a major site of Catholic pilgrimage in Lithuania The Gate of Dawn, in Lithuanian is one of the most famous historical and religious monuments in Vilnius. It is also a pilgrimage site known not only in our country but the whole Europe. During 16th century, city Vilnius was surrounded by the stonewall to protect the city. Only the Gate of Dawn survived all the centuries. It is the only part of that historical wall that is still standing in Vilnius. 
 
In the 16th century two religious paintings were placed in the gate of the wall: – In the side that was facing the city, the painting of the Blessed Virgin was placed, – In the outward was set the artwork of the Saviour. During the 16th century, it was very common to put the painting of the Virgin Mary above all the gates in town. The icon of The Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of Mercy was painted on eight pieces by the unknown artist, and about 40 years after it was painted, the image was embellished with some gold and silver. The icon was also sometimes housed inside the chapel near the gates. During the history, it was believed that the art has magical healing powers. Also, one of the interesting facts is that this site is revered by both religions – the Catholicism and the Orthodoxy.

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