Užupis is the smallest district in Vilnius and is separated from the Old Town by the Vilnelė River. Formerly a troublesome place in the early 1990s, Užupis has grown into a beautiful neighbourhood of artists, intellectuals and entrepreneurs. On 1 April 1997, residents of Užupis decided to somewhat sarcastically declare independence. An independent republic has to have money, power, an anthem and constitution, and above all, a free spirit. You will find all of this in Užupis.
Make your way under the Užupis Bridge to have a go on the Swing of Destiny and make sure to say hello to the Mermaid of Užupis while you’re down there.
In 1996, a group of students from the Vilnius Academy of Arts founded an art community in a house along the Vilnelė River. The initiative received a lot of support, so in 2002 the artists and the Municipality of Vilnius agreed to establish the Užupis Art Incubator together. This place is famous for its open-air sculptures and installations, which are constantly changing. Come get inspired, laugh and step outside of your comfort zone.
Legend has it that the Dalai Lama suggested placing the Angel of Užupis in its current place on one of his visits to Vilnius. But the truth is also very beautiful – residents of Užupis were looking for a place to perpetuate the guardian angel of Užupis, Zenonas Šteinis, an artist and active member of the community. This helped him transform the once calm district into the vibrant Užupis we know today.