A mere speck on the world map to an outsider, it is much more to a Lithuanian – a country that was built over thousands of years. It is a place that intertwines the experiences of our ancestors, the battles that were fought, and the love that was shared. So what is Lithuania? Lithuania is mostly about its people. The people who built the state and the cities, who engendered cultural enrichment and knowledge, and who searched for their true identity. Although Lithuania was first recorded as a country in 1009, the first people are thought to have settled in the territory as far back as the 10th millennium BC. The first Baltic tribes arrived some 7,000 years later and settled near the Baltic Sea. Lithuanians are proud to have been brought up in a country with such a rich historical past, and they try to accentuate their national heritage by doing their best on stages and in sports arenas, by being great painters and authors, by singing their hearts out to thousands of people, and by making their presence known with the tricolor flag.
Vilnius – Lithuania’s capital, has been quietly charming tourists and conference delegates for years, drawing in visitors with the largest baroque Old Town in eastern Europe, then wowing them with an offbeat elegance, a complex history and a cultural scene that’s uniquely Lithuanian. Vilnius under-promises and over-delivers.
Dating back to the 14th century, Vilnius has quite the historical pedigree. While the city’s Unesco-listed Old Town is primarily known for its baroque buildings (of which the meticulously restored Palace of the Grand Dukes is one), a variety of styles are crammed onto its diminutive medieval footprint, from the Gothic St Anne’s Church to the classical exterior of the gargantuan Vilnius Cathedral. Aside from its architectural clout, the Old Town’s jumbled cobbled streets are simply a delight to wander through; perfect for getting lost and ‘finding’ yourself in one of the many cafe-bars ferreted away in its alleyways or courtyards.
Today Vilnius is a modern, homely and welcoming city full of culture and creation. It is a place where you can see talking statues, hear music being played, smell good food and have adventures. You can get to the centre of Vilnius by boat, take to the sky in a hot-air balloon, pick some beautiful liverleaves from the forest in the middle of town, or count stars from the top of Gediminas hill.
In 2023, Lithuania will celebrate a historic event – the 700th anniversary of Vilnius! The entire city will be enveloped in lights, music, art and entertainment! Do not miss this opportunity to be a part of celebration! Full programme can be found here: https://www.700vilnius.lt/en/