Man patinka Lietuva

I like Lithuania – a visitor's point of view


Baltic Way Memorial Wall in Vilnius

P1000720Walk along Konstitucijos pr. from the city centre heading towards the Panorama shopping centre. As you come to the end of the road which you have to cross to get to the shops you see this wonderful memorial wall.

P1000501It has human shapes cut out of it and represents the Baltic Way, the unbroken line of 2 million people from Vilnius to Tallinn who protested about soviet occupation on August 23 1989.

DSCF1361Although the colours represent the Lithuanian flag, and each brick has the name of the person who contributed 25-50 Litas for it carved on it, if you look carefully you will also find bricks representing the flags of Latvia and Estonia.

P1000218It was officially unveiled on 24 August 2010

Additional material

Digging out my old video camera to take on holiday I found this piece of video I recorded in the castle where they display material about the wall and to which I referred in one of my blogs about the castle.

It looks like an amateur film but it could be a newsreel at the time.

Quality is not great as I’m copying an old film but I hope it’s of interest and you can see the original in the castle.

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Happy seats lose sponsorship

When I first saw these seats on Gedimino Avenue they were bright yellow; then they were covered in sponsors’ labels and painted a mix of bright colours. Now they are just bright red. Are they happier now?DSC00200

And then a couple of days later I saw these brightly covered seats on the lower terrace at the VCup shopping centre on Konstitucijos pr.. Vilnius seems to like happy seats.DSC00341


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Business District in Vilnius

P1000375This is my favourite view of the new business district taken on one of my earlier visits in 2009.

Walking across the white pedestrian bridge (Baltasis tiltas) over the River Neris to Upes see the VCUP (Vilnius Central Department Store) on the right (the old cooperative store in soviet times) and Hotel Lietuva (now a Radisson hotel) famous for its Sky Bar, casino and Riverside restaurant centre left. (Rumour has it that it was a favourite meeting place for soviet big-wigs, local mafya, and call girls before independence).

P1000377You can see the Europa Centre in the centre background further back on Konstitucijos pr.and various office blocks housing banks and IT centres. Halfway across the bridge is Mambo Pizza close to the Summer sports areas and the skateboard park.

P1000378You can also see to the left a sculpture of the logo for European Capital of Culture.

P1000233New buildings have sprung up since then to add to the skyline and there is now the Ray-Spear sculpture (Spindulys-ietis) piercing the bridge.

This was created by K. Vildžiūnas and M. Lukošius in 2010 and is part of the project ‘Signs of Vilnius’ (Vilniaus Zenklai) dedicated to the capital city.


The First Swallows in Vilnius

P1000228The sculpture First Swallows (Pirmosios kregzdes) was designed by the Lithuanian sculptor Juozas Mikenas and erected in 1964. At first I thought it symbolised something new, or a fresh start, but it predates independence by almost 30 years. It’s a good example of socialist realism and is one of the few sculptures from Soviet times which still exists in Vilnius.

The sculpture is located between Konstitucijos pr. and the right bank of the Neris river, just inbetween the two bridges Baltasis tiltas and Gelezinio Vilko tiltas.

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Vilnius, European Capital of Culture 2009

Vilnius, along with Linz in Austria, was chosen as an EU Capital of Culture in 2009, partly to celebrate its 1,000 years of recorded existence.

I only visited twice that year and seemed to miss any special events but this sign was prominently placed on Konstitucijos Pr.and they officially commemorated Vincas Kudirka, the composer of the national Anthem, by unveiling his statue.


A city of contrasts

DSCF1355 - Version 2Old and new, side by side on Konstitucijos pr. in Vilnius.

Not sure who lives in the wooden house but they have a nice car!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd the one below I took on one of my first visits and it’s opposite the former Lukiškes prison (the one that was built in Tsarist times as a gift from France based on La Sante jail in Paris; it looks like a church).

It’s next to modern office blocks in Lukiškiu square and not far from the parliament building.