Follow the Footsteps of Netflix’s Young Wallander in Vilnius

If you’re a fan of detective novels, get ready to binge watch Young Wallander, Netflix’s prequel to the best-selling novels by Henning Mankell. The six-episode series is set in contemporary Sweden, but … did you know that it was filmed entirely in Vilnius, Lithuania.

That’s right - the most crucial scenes were located and shot in the residential neighbourhood of Šeškinė, built in the late 1970s by the Soviet regime. So get ready to follow the beloved Swedish detective through the streets of Vilnius.

Soviet architecture and ancestral landscapes

Netflix chose to film in Vilnius for its wide variety of urban and natural backdrops. The apartment blocks of the Šeškinė district are incredibly cinematic, with numerous shooting angles and creative options. They are also the epitome of the Soviet architecture that was considered modern when the district was first developed.

However, Šeškinė is also famous for its glacial esker formed 16,000-18,000 years ago, commonly known as the Oz of Šeškinė. The district’s beautiful natural setting, open spaces and vast panoramas are stunning.

Photos by Adas Vasiliauskas, @pabegimas

The curious case of Šeškinė

A number of famous people have lived in Šeškinė, including theatre directors Rimas Tuminas and Eimuntas Nekrošius. Today, the active community of Šeškinė is creating a modern life between the walls of the Soviet apartment blocks. You can join the annual Šeškinė Festival of Innovation and Technologies or watch movies at the district’s open-air cinema in September.

Don’t forget to visit the quirky little Šeškinės Park (entrance from Čiobiškio St.) filled with intriguing contemporary concrete sculptures by Mykolas Sauka. They look like regular park visitors simply going about their usual activities: walking, exercising, thinking. Will you be able to spot them all?

Photos by Andrius Pavelko

From a small village to a large residential area

In historical sources, Šeškinė was first mentioned in 1390 and again in 1545 as a small wooden village belonging to the Lithuanian noble family Radvilos in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The hills of Šeškinė have long been used as a natural barrier for the defence of Vilnius, witnessing Lithuania’s battles with the Crusaders in 1309. Lithuanians fought with the Russian Army on the battlefield of Šeškinė in 1721 during the Great Northern War between Russia and Sweden.

During the war in 1812, both the French and Russian armies lined up there. But Vilnius was growing and the Šeškinė village became a part of the city in 1955. Only 84 people lived in the village in 1905; today, it is one of the largest residential areas, home to some 35,000 people.

Photos by Andrius Pavelko and Saulius Žiūra

Vilnius’ residential areas in the spotlight

Quite a lot of people have already discovered the beauty of Vilnius Old Town thanks to the UNESCO World Heritage List. However, the city’s residential areas are less explored. If you visit Šeškinė or any other district, you might get the feeling that you’ve already seen them somewhere. And you might be right!

Several parts of the city were used as filming locations for other renowned series, like Chernobyl, Stranger Things, Tokyo Trial and The Last Czars.

Filmmakers have already discovered the many faces of Vilnius. It’s time for you to do the same. Start with Šeškinė and the gripping new Young Wallander show.

See also

Vilnius: Where the Chernobyl HBO Miniseries Came to Life
Vilnius: Where the Chernobyl HBO Miniseries Came to Life

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