[2020] Alternative Christmas in the Capital Will Come to the Old Prison Yard

Festive Vilnius surprises us once again with its unconventional Christmas solutions – this year, an “Alternative Christmas Yard” will open from December 20th to January 5th! For those looking to experience a unique Christmas this year, the country’s capital will be offering winter festivities in the former Lukiškės prison yard (Lukiškių Str. 6). Light installations, an alternative Christmas tree, a sculpture of running water and interactive swings will await the open-minded individuals who make this unusual trip.

“This year, Christmas shall also come to this once-restricted area. The city sees this yard as an open cultural space for events, conducting business, and urban projects: initiatives like the Alternative Christmas Yard will be the driving force behind this part of the city finally becoming an attraction for the people,” says Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius.

Designed for those seeking an alternative approach to Christmas, the organizers of the initiative promise that the festive yard will encourage new experiences, loads of creative ideas and experimental approaches within this intriguing space.

“We are pleased that the prison complex, established in the center of Vilnius, is finally attracting various cultural events and encouraging artists to implement original projects. The entire Lukiškės quarter is already full of creativity, providing new ways for our capital Vilnius to express itself,” says Minister of Justice Elvinas Jankevičius. “Now Lukiškės is open to Alternative Christmas. I hope that the residents and guests of Vilnius who come here will carry some bright emotions into the new year, encouraged to do only good things.”

"This will be the happiest Christmas in Lukiškės this century," said Viktoras Davidenko, a former prison director and the current director of the Vilnius Correction House.

According to one of the authors of the idea, project coordinator Darius Kupliauskas, the concept of an Alternative Christmas Yard as a space for artistic light installations was inspired by his previous work on creative projects. “Residents of Vilnius have wanted to see light installations in unusual places for quite some time, and it became possible when the Lukiškės Prison territory appeared. I believe this can be the beginning of a great tradition."

The Municipality of Vilnius, together with the Ministry of Justice and Vilnius Correction House, invites all residents and guests of Vilnius to include the Alternative Christmas Yard in their Christmas routine. The yard will be open from 16:00 to 22:00 until the 5th of January. The Alternative Yard will be closed only on 23-24 December and 30-31 December, and the lighting ceremony for the alternative Christmas tree will be held on the 20th of December.

Alternative Christmas is being organized for the second time in Vilnius. Last year, an Alternative Christmas Town was also located on a railroad track in the Stotis District.