The Official Development Agency of the City of Vilnius

Former Prison Becomes a Space for Creative Ideas in Vilnius

The 117-year-old Lukiškės prison turned a new page in 2019 when the last inmates were moved and the historic empty building was filled with dreams and action. The prison transformed itself into a new version of Lukiškės prison 2.0 inviting creators and artists to reimagine the territory and open it up to the public. It has been a hit since the first day - curiosity to take a peek behind the fenced walls takes over the crowds. 

Stardom on screen

The architecture of the now-defunct prison attracted worldwide attention. The unique place is a perfect location for films and commercials. If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, keep an eye for Lukiškės prison in season 4. Wait for a Polish movie "How I Fell in Love With a Gangster". Or try to spot it in a Gucci commercial.

Impressive architecture 

Walking through the territory the eye catches The Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker - at that time when the prison was built the road to rehabilitation was faith-based, so the church was spacious, decorated with paintings, carpets, icons of famous painters. The prison itself was designed with a panopticon in mind but was transformed following Russian prison reform. However, Lukiškės prison has kept original design elements, tiles, and decorations to this day.  

A space for art and culture

Recently Lukiškės prison opened its doors once again. And while a couple of years ago you wouldn’t have wanted to enter the prison building surrounded by a guarded fence, today the territory has reinvented itself into Lukiškės prison 2.0 and become a place filled with art and creativity. It offers spaces and studios for 250 artists, musicians, and creators. But it has also become an inviting place for the public. You can unwind at a bar with a refreshing drink in your hand, listen to one of the many concerts happening at an open-air stage, or enjoy light installations when the sunsets. For the whole summer, you can listen to the most famous Lithuanian musicians or dance till dawn in the courtyard! Stay up to date with events here.

An exciting walk between the walls  

It’s difficult to imagine the daily life behind the fence of Lukiškės prison, but guided tours will take you on a walk to the past. Explore the architecture, take a peek inside the cells, learn more about life and rules in prison, and find out some interesting facts on a regular day tour. Or choose something different -  check the darkest corners, find out the best-kept secrets, and be prepared to get scared on a night tour to Lukiškės prison. Lithuanian tours are happening daily - check out their schedule: English, Russian, and Polish tours can be booked via email pasivaiksciojimai@lukiskiukalejimas.lt.

A century-old history

In 19th-century Vilnius, prisons in Vilnius were set up in former monasteries. However, there was a shortage of space and the city needed a new prison. The answer was the Lukiškės prison complex, a modern building that allowed inmates to serve their punishment, work, pray, and get healthcare. The first prisoners were transferred to Lukiškės prison on June 26, 1904. The prison never ceased to function - it held prisoners during both World Wars, the Soviet period, and after regaining independence - the last prisoners were evicted only in 2019. Criminals, political prisoners, and exiles were detained in prison for more than a century.

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