Man patinka Lietuva

I like Lithuania – a visitor's point of view

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Flag Day at the Presidential Palace

One of the few advantages of a wet windy day is that flags are well displayed. Here at the Lithuanian Presidential Palace next to Vilnius university you can see a full set. The Presidential standard on the building itself with the EU flag, the national flag, and the NATO flag in front of the building.

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Imperial in Vilnius

I spotted this unusual car parked nonchalantly outside the Presidential Palace. The only name on it was Imperial.

P1010291P1010292P1010293I did some internet research and discovered that this was the luxury brand introduced by Chrysler cars in 1926  and was the company’s top of the range vehicle for much of its history.

The company tried to position the Imperial as a prestige marque that would rival Cadillac and Lincoln but failed to achieve that as they didn’t have a separate distributor channel. Chrysler cars were the first to have transistor radios and air conditioning was standard.

This model is probably a 1963 Imperial.

P1010294Parked just round the corner was the most popular mode of wedding transport these days – a stretch limo. It was parked round the corner between the Presidential Palace and Vilnius University, a very popular place  for wedding photographs.

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Day of Mourning and Hope in Vilnius

P1010184One of the first things I saw on my last visit as I made my way up past the Presidential Palace (Prezidentura) was a military flag party. They were raising and  lowering the national flags accompanied by the sound of a single side drum.

DSC01105DSC01112It was only the following day that I realised that all the  flags in the city were at half-staff (or half-mast if the flags are on ships) so I thought someone famous had died in Lithuania.

Then a Lithuanian colleague told me that it was for the Day of Mourning and Hope (Gedulo ir Vilties Diena).

This commemorates the date – 14 June 1941 – when the soviets started deporting Lithuanian families to the Gulags in Siberia. 

So Lithuanians remember and mourn an event from their recent past and hope it will never happen again.

Background: In 1998 the then President set up The International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania. (For statistical details of the deportations click here).