It doesn’t matter if you’re a history buff or more of a contemporary soul; Vilnius will feed your curiosity either way. The city is celebrating its 700th anniversary in 2023, but you don’t have to wait for the official celebrations to start. Celebrate every day! The past blends in harmony with the present here, and Vilnius remains a vibrant and modern city that’s always curious to share and test new ideas. So travel through time in Vilnius and enjoy every bit of it.
Different cultures, religions and lifestyles are in the DNA of the city. After all, the city’s name was first mentioned almost 700 years ago in letters written by Grand Duke Gediminas inviting merchants and craftsmen from all over Europe to the city. Germans, Jews, Russians, Polish, French and other nationalities and cultures found a home in Vilnius, bringing their traditions and cultural practices to the table. Over time, skilled craftsmen created a unique face for Vilnius, which is now protected by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Today, the city is called a pearl of Baroque and boasts one of the most beautiful churches in the world – the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul – as well as the rich Vilnius University complex. But if you look even closer, you'll see the various architectural styles as well as spires and prayer houses of different religions. Over the centuries, every generation has added something beautiful worth cherishing.
Lithuania's five-decade-long Soviet occupation (1940-1990) left a visible footprint in everyday life – from architecture and historic sites, to food and culture. Vilnius offers visitors a chance to safely and freely discover Soviet history. Western ideas were banned, so Soviet architecture is a normal sight. Probably the most famous examples of Soviet architecture are the micro-districts just a 15-minute ride from the Old Town. Plus, you might have already seen them on screen – the HBO mini-series Chernobyl and Netflix’s The Young Wallander are among the few productions filmed amid the grey background of Soviet buildings.
The past and present live in harmony in Vilnius. The city is driven by a startup mind set and is always filled with new ideas and projects. Lithuanian contemporary theatre, art and music are famous all over the world. A new stage for modern art has emerged at the Sapiegos Tech Park, a place for startups and entrepreneurs. To feel the buzz of local creativity, explore the new Paupys district – a vibrant setting where art, food and ideas meet. Vilnius is also all about sharing and being together; for example, you can eat at different restaurants but at the same table at Downtown Food Hall. Or get on one of the hundred scooters or shared bikes to move about Vilnius.