Man patinka Lietuva

I like Lithuania – a visitor's point of view


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Vilnius, a city like no other……..

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

Having not had an opportunity to visit Vilnius for well over 12 months I thought I would remind myself of what the city looks like in winter, and in particular when the snow falls. It still remains my favourite city in Europe and no one will ever convince me that the White Catherdal or to give it its full title Šv. Stanislovo ir Šv. Vladislovo
arkikatedra basilica, is not simply the most beautiful building in the world.

Having made around 30 visits to the city since 2006 (usually with my business colleague Mike) I have missed the beauty of the city, the warm friendship of friends and colleagues and equally important lack of access to “kibinais” (its a Cornish pastie but the Lithuanians claim it as one of their own).

So I hope you enjoy viewing the photographs as much as I enjoyed going through the hundreds I have taken…

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The view from the cathedral bell tower

It didn’t seem that long ago they were busy renovating the bell tower which stands opposite the cathedral – Vilniaus Šv. Stanislovo ir Šv. Vladislovo arkikatedra basilica – on the edge of the square in the Autumn of 2013.

Twelve months later it was finished and open to the public.

We’d seen the earlier renovation of the cathedral on our early visits from 2005 and this completes the picture.

And it’s been well worth the wait. The tower has 7 levels and 140 steps to climb – so you need a head for heights and to be reasonably agile as there is no lift  as in the university bell tower. There were no guide books available but as its part of the National Museum I can’t imagine there won’t be one in future. And the two helpful members of staff were very knowledgeable.

DSC00112DSC00114As I said there is no lift and your ascent from the entrance lobby starts with a stone staircase leading up to the next level.

DSC00115Once there you can see the small bells. Further up there are six big ones, four of which ring on a regular basis. You can also see the statue of the Grand Duke at eye level here as well.DSC00132

 

DSC00119DSC00150From there on up it’s by well-crafted wooden steps.

DSC00130 DSC00128These take you up to the big bells and great views across the city.DSC00136

Also you are now high enough to look down on the statue of the Grand Duke, not something I thought I would do without going up in a hot-air balloon!

DSC00123 DSC00121DSC00147At the highest level the public can access you can see the workings of the bell mechanism

You are also looking across at the top of the cathedral and can see close-ups of the statues with the castle in the background.DSC00138

 Did I mention you need a head for heights? Well having gone up so high you have to come back down again which gives you a chance to admire the heavy wooden beams which are supporting the floors and the bells as you navigate the wooden steps.

DSC00148DSC00153You can also see the intricate woodwork through a viewing tube on one of the lower floors.

DSC00154Then one last set of steep stone steps and you are back at the lobby area.DSC00155

 

 

A great experience  at a reasonable price and if you are a photographer some great photo opportunities.

 


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Where’s the evidence?

Lithuania underwent a transformation after independence in 1991 and wanted to shake off its former soviet image.

They removed much evidence of the former soviet times but some they kept.

P1000342The statues on the green bridge in Vilnius, fine examples of socialist realism, were kept but other statuary was removed and many pieces ended up in the Grutas Park.

P1000793 P1000801The original three crosses on the hill were pulled down by the soviets and buried but new ones were made and the old ones uncovered and left there with the chains to show the world what had happened.

At the parliament building they have kept part of the barricade they set up to stop tanks entering the parliament building. There are also smaller replicas set out around the building to show the extent of the original barricade.

And not far from the statue of Grand Duke Gediminas in a corner of  the cathedral square is a stone monument celebrating 650 years of Vilnius’s role as capital of Lithuania. If you look closely you can see an oblong recess where they removed the  cyrillic script.

P1000885And while you are in the area look for the the Stebuklas or miracle tile which marks the end of the human wall that stretched from Tallinn to Vilnius in 1989. If you find it stand on it, turn clockwise three times and make a wish!P1000501


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Gediminas by Night………………….

Still casting a shadow over the city the Great Duke himself

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

IMG_0414I have been visiting Lithuania for the best part of seven years and have taken hundreds (my colleague would argue thousands) of photographs of the White Cathedral and the statue of Gediminas in cathedral square. Gediminas (c.1275 – December 1341) was Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1315 or 1316 until his death.

He is credited with founding this political entity and expanding its territory which, at the time of his death, spanned the area ranging from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. Also seen as one of the most significant individuals in early Lithuanian history, he was responsible for both erecting the capital of Lithuania, and the establishment of a dynasty that can be traced to other European monarchies such as Poland, Hungary and Bohemia.

Most of the photographs I have taken were done so during the day but one night (about midnight) I was making my way back to my hotel when I saw…

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Statue of Grand Duke Gediminas, Vilnius.

Another great photo from my fellow traveller to Lithuania

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

Photo of the Day*

Image

* All photographs of Lithuania featured on this blog site were either taken by myself or my colleague (Mikethepsych) on visits between 2006 and 2013.

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