Since I didn’t remember where I stayed the first time I was in Vilnius, I booked a hotel right downtown. There is nothing better than being smack dab in the middle of things. So when I arrived quite late, I got a taxi to my hotel only to learn that it had overbooked. My new hotel was right around the corner, plus I got an upgrade to a 5* star. Not too bad when starting a vacation. The hotel Narutis is in a beautiful old building with the reception in a covered courtyard.
From there it was just a short walk in the morning to the Cathedral Square where the Free Walking Tours in Vilnius met in front of the Gediminas‘ Monument. The Cathedral Square has monumental dimensions. It’s awe inspiring standing on such a large square which looks completely empty in the morning.
Passing the presidential palace, which doesn’t really look like much, the town hall,
and an old church with a really big tower, we entered the Republic of Užupis. Yes, you read that correctly. Vilnius hosts the independent Republic of Užupis, with it’s own constitution. It is proclaimed in dozens of languages along a wall within the Republic.
The Republic enchants the visitor with a variety of art installations and a Bohemian flair. Personally I liked best the idea that one has to cross a bridge to enter it.
Leaving over another bridge we arrived at the place from which the revolution of the Baltics against the Soviet Union started. At least according to our guide at the monument to Adam Mickiewicz, right next to Gothic St. Anne’s and St. Francis of Assisi churches, the Lithuanian flag was first shown in 1988. This was the start to the Singing Revolution.
Although both churches are Gothic the St. Anne’s in front looks so much more delicate, especially with the separate clock tower on the right hand side.
The guide lead us through an artistic alley, not only the Republic of Užupis has those, back to the main tourist street and we said our goodbyes after a good two hour long tour. Yours, Pollybert