Lukiškės Prison

In short

For 115 years, Lukiškės Prison was guarded by high walls and barbed wire, but today the site is open to the public. From prison to artistic venue, a new version – Lukiškės Prison 2.0 ­– is home to 250 creators and artists, and a place where curious spirits can learn and explore. Sit down for a refreshing drink, attend a concert or take a tour to get a glimpse of life in the former prison. This unique space has become a star on the silver screen as well. The location easily transforms to depict various spaces, and has even served as the backdrop for Stranger Things season 4.

Rich history—from confinement facility to cultural venue

Vilnius’ Lukiškės Prison has over one hundred years' worth of history. Once a fully-operational prison, it ceased to function as a confinement facility three years ago and opened its doors to the public and the artists. 

Lukiškės Prison, built right in Vilnius’ center and next to the main streets, was a modern complex compared to the monasteries which typically served as confinement facilities in 19th century Vilnius. It was the only prison to allow Russian-Orthodox, Roman-Catholic, and Jewish worship places. Criminals, political prisoners, and exiles served their sentences from 1904 till 2019. The Prison complex survived both World Wars and the Soviet occupation. 

Lukiškės Prison held many political prisoners of not only Lithuanian, but also Belarussian, Polish, and Jewish backgrounds who were not approved by various changing political regimes. Among the political prisoners, some were well-known social activists, political figures, writers, and signatories of the Act of Independence of Lithuania—people of different ethnic, political, and social standing who were not convenient to the political regimes of that time.  

Some notable figures who served sentences as political prisoners in Lukiškės Prison: Jonas Vileišis (imprisoned in 1916), a Lithuanian lawyer, social activist, and signatory of the Act of Independence; Julija Beniuševičiūtė-Žymantienė, known as Žemaitė, (imprisoned in 1915), a well-known Lithuanian author; Vincas Kudirka (imprisoned in 1895), the author of Lithuanian hymn; Menachem Begin (imprisoned in 1940), the Zionist activist who later became the Prime Minister of Israel; Leopold Tyrmand (imprisoned in 1941), a Polish author and editor; Maksim Harecki (imprisoned in 1922), a Belarussian political activist and author, and others.

Currently, the former confinement facility is called Lukiškės Prison 2.0 which signifies a new era, this time a cultural one. Already 250 artists, musicians, and creators have set up their studios in various areas of the building. The building complex now serves as an alternative venue for musical, cultural, and artistic events. The interior and the exterior of the prison have been carefully preserved to respect the century of history and the many notable political, social, and literary figures once confined in the building complex

Learn more about Lukiškės Prison

Lukiškių skg. 6Google Maps

€15-20 day tour 
€20 night tour 

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