Vilnius sightseeing attractions
If you are planning on some Vilnius sightseeing, then
Vilnius is the city with a long history and it has more than
Its share of exciting historical sites,.....
medieval royal residences, museums, some relics from the Soviet times
and fine examples of Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture.
It was Founded in 1320 by Duke Gediminas.
I found Vilnius very pleasant to explore as most of Vilnius sightseeing attractions are within easy walking distance.
Some extra knowledge that I got from Lija about Vilnius history and architecture made my experience even more enjoyable.
A bit of imagination brings those historical places to life and you can easily envisage yourself wandering through medieval Vilnius at the time when it was one of the largest cities in Eastern Europe.
Here is a list of must see Vilnius sightseeing attractions:
Vilnius Cathedral and its Bell Tower is one of the main landmarks of Lithuania. It is also the most popular spot to start Vilnius sightseeing.
The Cathedral deeply impressed me for its remarkable architecture and magnificent frescoes and chapels inside.
The original building dates back to 1387 and was built in the place where a pagan temple used to stand.
Later, the grand dukes of Lithuania used to be crowned here.You can also arrange an excursion to explore the crypts of the Cathedral underground.
More to come.
Address: Katedros 1, Tel. 261 11 27
Higher Castle Museum (Gediminas Castle) is another symbol of the city and one of the main Vilnius sightseeing attractions.
To get some medieval flavour of those times you should visit the museum inside the tower.
There is a display of ancient armours, swords, coins and other archaeological finds dating from the 13th century.
Lija and I enjoyed the winding uphill path to the tower. It’s worth climbing to the very top to be
rewarded by splendid panoramic views of the city.
More to come.
Address: Arsenalo 5, Tel. 261 74 53
Open Daily: 10:00 - 19:00
Lower Castle Museum
Lower castle is the remains of the 16th century Royal Palace, which was the main residence of Lithuania's grand dukes.The lower castle is also the most active archaeological site in Lithuania.
Address: Katedros 3a.
(Tours only by appointment, Tel. 261 40 63)
Genocide Victims Museum is set in the former KGB headquarters and the prison.
Some former prisoners of the KGB guide the excursions around the museum.
Prisoners’ cells, torture rooms, solitary confinement rooms, interrogation rooms are among its more spine-chilling exhibits.
Also there is a library of confiscated literature. The museum is located in the city centre, facing Lukiskiu Square.
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I was intrigued by St. Anne's Church which is a beautiful Vilnius landmark that is often seen on postcards.
St.Anne's church is also considered one of the most unique churches in Europe.The church traces its origins to the 16th century and is overwhelming with its splendid late Gothic architecture.
I loved its narrow windows, intricate towers and the elegant facade made out of different types of bricks.
It is often quoted that Napoleon fell under the spell of this charming church and said he wished he could carry it back to Paris on the palm of his hand.
Address: Maironio 8.
Don’t pass by the Church of Saints Francis and Bernadine, which stands just behind St. Anne’s church.
Dating back to the 15th century the church was the victim of fires and war and during the Soviet period it was used as the Vilnius Art Academy.
Being not fully restored yet, it has a unique, mystical atmosphere inside.
Its old dilapidated walls and a massive dome gives a sense of the former grandeur of the past (which was very appealing to me).
Address: Maironio 8.
The Gate of Dawn is a famous Vilnius sightseeing attraction and is the only remaining out of nine city gates.
It is mostly famous for its gold and silver icon of The Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of Mercy displayed in the chapel.
As I found from Lija the painting is believed to have power to cure and create miracles.You can look at the painting from the street, or you may wish to climb the chapel and experience powerfully mystical atmosphere inside.
More to come.
Address: Aušros Vartų 12, Tel. 212 35 13
Artillery Bastion was built at the beginning of the 17th century as a defence fortification and now it provides an atmospheric setting for rare exhibits from ancient times to the end of the 18th century with medieval armor and cannons among them.
After visiting this atmospheric museum it is well worth wandering around it as the location offers some beautiful panoramic views of the Old Town and Uzupis district below.
Address: Bokšto 20/18, Tel. 261 21 49
Open Daily: 10:00-17:00, Monday: Closed.
Hill of Three Crosses
East of Gediminas Hill you can see three white crosses overlooking the city.
The crosses are old Vilnius landmarks and a popular Vilnius sightseeing attraction. The monument stands in Kalnu Park on the Hill of Three Crosses.
I am glad I went to the top of the hill and had a
chance to observe one of the most spectacular panoramas of the Vilnius Old Town.
Lija told me the legend that explains the origins of the three crosses.
Apparently they were erected in memory of seven Franciscan monks who were tortured to death, crucified and thrown into the Vilnia River.
Now these crosses symbolize Lithuania’ s hope.
If you have some extra time in Vilnius, here's some more of Vilnius sightseeing attractions
I admired fine examples of outstanding architecture wondering among the quaint courtyards of Vilnius University.
It has 12 linked courtyards and can be entered by several passages.
Vilnius University was founded in 1579 and is one of the oldest and most famous establishments of higher education in Eastern and Central Europe.
The Grand Courtyard of Vilnius University with the Church of St. John (famous for its 18th century baroque facade) are very popular with visitors.
Address: Universiteto 3, tel. 268 70 01
Openening times: 10:00 - 17:30, Sun: Closed
Located in Vilnius Old Town it is the official residence of the President of Lithuania.
The original palace was built in the 14th century. During different times the palace was used as a residence for emperors, kings and other noblemen.
Russian Tsar Alexander I and the French Emperor Napoleon were among them.
Address: Daukanto aikštė 3/8, tel. 266 40 25
Looking for an adventure? It is worth visiting the statue Uzupis Angel in the bohemian Uzupis district.
The statue of an angel blowing a trumpet stands in the main square and symbolizes the artistic freedom of the district.
Uzupis is interesting to visit not just for the statue, it is very picturesque district that is often compared to Montmartre in Paris.
At the end of Gediminas Avenue before it crosses the river stands The Parliament Building.
Go around the building and you will find some concrete slabs, which are reminders of the January 1991 barricades.
This place brought some sad memories to Lija as this is where Lithuania’s people with her father among them erected the barricades for a feared attack by the Soviet tanks.
I headed for Zaliasis tiltas (Lithuanian for green bridge) going across the river Neris as I was very curious to see a relic from the communist constructions.
It is famous for its four groups of extraordinary sculptures, representing agriculture, construction, peace and youth.
The statues are interesting, somewhat amusing, but making the bridge unique in its own way.
Another interesting and moving Vilnius sightseeing attraction is Vilnius TV Tower, a 326.5 metre-high building in Karoliniškės district of Vilnius.
Lithuanian Radio and Television Centre is established there.
It is worth going to the top of the TV Tower. High-speed elevators will take you to the café Paukščių takas, (Lithuanian for Milky Way) established on the observation deck at 160 metres high.
A rotating platform, which revolves once
every 45 minutes, offers a picturesque view
of the city and its surroundings.
During each Christmas the TV Tower
is decorated with lights as a huge Christmas tree.
The TV tower also has some moving history:
on the night of 13 January 1991 Soviet troops
stormed the tower.
They killed 13 unarmed
civilians and injured many more. In the memory
of those killed, carved wooden crosses were
erected outside and a small museum was established
on the ground
floor of the TV Tower.
Address: Sausio 13 - osios 10
Tel. 252 53
Entrance to the top 6 € for adults, € 3 for children.
Open: 10 am. - 10 pm.
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