October 12, 2023

Vilnius beyond sight: an immersive journey

To commemorate White Cane Safety Day, a day focused on promoting the independence and mobility of individuals with visual impairments, Vilnius extends an invitation to experience the city rather than merely observe it.  

The latest video, spearheaded by Go Vilnius, has been crafted around the narratives and insights shared by visually impaired residents about their beloved city. This endeavor is a product of an international partership, forged in collaboration with the “Wolfstreet” creative agency based in the Netherlands, under the leadership of director Jasper Vierboom.  

In a departure from typical tourist imagery, this video is characterized by deliberately blurred shots, guiding viewers toward an immersive emotional journey. The storytelling isn’t solely centered on the featured individuals but embraces the primary sensory realm that visually impaired individuals depend on sound. Consequently, the original soundtrack, skillfully crafted by movie composer Thomas Goralski, enhances the video’s overall ambiance, enriching the sensory experience. 

In addition, the accessible website www.neakivaizdinisvilnius.lt and the mobile app offer more than 100 thematic routes around Vilnius, as well as recommendations for culture, shopping, restaurants, leisure destinations, green spaces, and interesting and regularly updated information on alternative ways to explore the capital for the visually impaired. 

Furthermore, during the video’s unveiling, a unique route named “Touch and Hear Vilnius” was introduced, catering specifically to the visually impaired while remaining accessible to sighted visitors. This innovative audio guide for Vilnius Old Town goes beyond recounting the city’s rich history; it also offers intricate portrayals of landmarks and comprehensive step-by-step directions to help visitors pinpoint their exact locations. 

Vilnius is currently home to around 1,000 visually impaired citizens. To make the city attractive and accessible for people with different needs, the Universal Design Strategy includes tactile maps (e.g. in Vingis Park), Braille billboards, accessible walkways, public transport stops and other infrastructure.