Vilnius & the Republic of Užupis – an art gallery

Europe

  1. Everyone has the right to live by the river Vilnele, and the River Vilnele has the right to flow by everyone
  2. Everyone has the right to hot water, heating in winter and a tiled roof.
  3. Everyone has the right to die, but this is not an obligation.
  4. Everyone has the right to make mistakes.
  5. Everyone has the right to be unique.
  6. Everyone has the right to love.
  7. Everyone has the right to not be loved, but that is not necessarily.
  8. Everyone has the right to be undistinguished and unknown.
  9. Everyone has the right to be idle.
  10. Everyone has the right to love and take care of the cat.
  11. Everyone has the right to look after the dog until one of them dies.
  12. A dog has a right to be a dog.
  13. A cat is not obliged to love its owner, but must help out in times of need.
  14. Sometimes everyone has the right to be unaware of their duties.
  15. Everyone has the right to be in doubt, but this is not an obligation.
  16. Everyone has the right to be happy.
  17. Everyone has the right to be unhappy.
  18. Everyone has the right to be silent.
  19. Everyone has the right to have faith.
  20. No one has the right to violence.
  21. Everyone has the right to appreciate their unimportance.
  22. No one has a right to have a design on eternity.
  23. Everyone has the right to understand.
  24. Everyone has the right to understand nothing.
  25. Everyone has the right to be any nationality.
  26. Everyone has the right to celebrate of not celebrate their birthday.
  27. Everyone shall remember their name.
  28. Everyone may share what they possess.
  29. No one can share what they don’t possess.
  30. Everyone has the right to have brothers, sisters, parents.
  31. Everyone may be independent.
  32. Everyone is responsible for their freedom.
  33. Everyone has the right to cry.
  34. Everyone has the right to be misunderstood.
  35. No one has the right to make another person guilty.
  36. Everyone has the right to be an individual.
  37. Everyone has the right to have no rights.
  38. Everyone has the right to not be afraid.
  39. Do not defeat.
  40. Do not fight back.
  41. Do not surrender.

Welcome to the Republic of Užupis, a cluster of creative energy and free spirits besides the river Vilnele where artists and art lovers gather to create greater things. This district is a potpourri of curiosities just like its constitution (see above), and probably the only Republic who greets you with this lovely fellow:

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backpacker Jesus awaits you in Uzupis

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my favorite installation on Literatu street in Užupis

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But other artworks can easily be found throughout the entire city of Vilnius, just look around you and it will be hard to miss.

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a restaurant we had lunch at, reasonably priced Lithuanian food

My favorite spot in Vilnius is its Alma Mater, the university. When I visited, graduations were going on which meant lots of people in suits with flowers tugged under their arms were flocking in and out of campus. The bookstore is really beautiful and the old library showcases their book curiosity collection.

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The university’s guardian angel, maybe?

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university bookstore

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the old library

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I did squeeze in two museums: the Victims of Genocide Museum in the old KGB headquarter which explains Lithuania’s history of occupation (mainly 1930s onward). Again, it’s 50% off with an ISIC student card. The House of Signatories is the place where Lithuanian independence was proclaimed in 1918. It only makes sense to visit with a tour guide, as the things on display are mostly furniture and personal belongings of the signatories or pictures, so not very interesting without the guide’s explanation (and also all the labels are in Lithuanian). I was the only visitor so it was a great private history lesson. Other than that, I mostly just enjoyed walking around in the old town or the view from one of the hills.

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view from the tower

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Three Crosses Hill

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walk along the river

It was Culture Night in Vilnius during my stay, which meant a festival of art, dance and music throughout the entire city. Courtyards and public places came alive with galleries, light installations and pop-up stages. The city was overflowing with people and spirits were high, making it the perfect way to spend my last evening in Vilnius.

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the hanging man

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the Green Bridge at sunset

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there were hammocks spanned across the river

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