After walking all morning through Vilnius, I decided to spend some time in a museum. Vilnius has two museums which I really wanted to see and both are close together. Maybe take that into account when you go see them. One is the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights and the other the Holocaust Museum aka the Green House. I started with the Holocaust museum and spent such a long time there that the second museum was already closed.
As you can see on the map below Jewish residences were all over Lithuania. The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania willing allowed Jewish people to settle, so no wonder the Nazis later built most of their extermination camps here. This was were the people were. And the managed to do an ‘outstanding job’, killing over 90% of the Lithuanian Jewish population. That’s such an outrageous number that I can’t really think about it.
The next morning I walked back for the Resistance museum, some five minutes away from the Holocaust museum. It has a small memorial site in front of the entrance.
It’s not an easy museum visit since so many Lithuanians have been deported, relocated, or tortured in the cells below. But the fight for independence from the Soviet Union never really stopped.
Besides the two museums I made time to stroll through the Hall Market. Unfortunately compared with the Central Market in Riga this one was a disappointment. It might be the oldest and largest in Vilnius but looked rather abandoned.
Another site, which is not to be missed when in Vilnius, is the Gate of Dawn. This major Christian pilgrimage site is not only a city gate but also an important religious and historical monument. From the old town side it was at moment under construction, so this picture is the best I could do.
Of course I also had to hike up to the Gediminas Castle Tower. I mean how often do you have the chance to climb a mountain which is in reality only a puny hill?
The view from the top is worth the power walk even though there were a lot of steps to take. And the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania looks grand indeed. It houses the National Museum and is probably worth to see. Maybe next time, I couldn’t do it all in one and half days.
I am glad this was not my first time in Vilnius, so I didn’t rush. The city is full of backyards hidden places for which you need enough leisure to discover them. In brief, it was wonderful being back here. Yours, Pollybert