Thursday, 6 August 2015

Republic of Uzupis

Today I arrived in Vilnius and got some time to discover the inner city. I will write about the city seperately when I saw all of it but today I really want to share a part of the city I discovered and really enjoyed: the Republic of Uzupis.

It is a small district in the center of Vilnius, directly next to the old town, just seperated by the Vilnia river, so you have to cross the bridge to get there. In 1997 one person living there decided they should be independent from Vilnius as well as Lithuania and therefore became president. I read they even established a military force consisting of 12 soldiers, but when nobody feared them they became obsolete. And by now, they are still independent.

To make their republic official, they also have a parliament, which is the first building after the bridge on the left - the "Uzupis Kavine", the café next to the river. And on their national holiday, the first of April, they place guides on the bridge so people who enter have to apply for visa. Which they get by a stamp on their hands. Also there are parades where people who participate borrow costumes from the circus. But since the district is really not that big, the parade does not take long.

In the middle of the district, there is the landmark of the republic: the liberty angel. When I first heard about the republic, I thought it to be like Cristiania, the freetown in Copenhagen - but while Cristiania is more like a hippie town with its main focus on weed, the focus of Uzupis seems to be celebrating life.

They also have a constitution, it is written in about ten different languages on one of the streets in the center of the district. The constitution consists of 41 articles, which all make pretty a lot of sense. So just to show you an abstract:

1. Everybody has the right to live by the River Vilnelé, and the River Vilnelé has the right to flow by everyone.
10. Everybody has the right to love and take care of the cat.
12. A dog has the right to be a dog.
13. A cat is not obliged to love its owner, but must help in times of need.
14. Sometimes everybody has the right to be unaware of their duties.
16. Everybody has the right to be happy.
17. Everybody has the right to be unhappy.
20. No one has the right to violence.
37. Everyone has the right to be individual.
39. Do not defeat.
40. Do not fight back.
41. Do not surrender.

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