Monday, 10 August 2015

Vilnius



I spent three days in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, and it was really pleasant. Vilnius is known to have the biggest old town of Europe, which is quite nice to look at. They have a huge university with several courtyards, lots of small parks and churches everywhere. 



Besides the Repubic of Uzupis there are severall other things I found that are nice to see. So for example the tile with the star on the cathedral square. It marks one end of the human chain going from Vilnius to Tallinn to peacefully protest for independence from Russia. It was 650 km or 2 million people long. After the start of the second world war, first the Sovjets then the Nazis and then the Sovjets again deported or killed loads of Lithuanians. I saw the genocide museum that focussed on crimes to surpress lithuanian independence through Stalin and afterwards. And while it surely was a harsh time for jews there when the Nazis had Lithuania, it was still a better time for everyone else than when Stalin had the country. It got better after he died but most of the deported people (about a tenth of them were children) never saw Lithuania again. Good to know: one big player in reaching independence in Lithuania was the church fighting for their right to believe. So when they made this human chain and it finally lead to independence of the baltic states, they placed the tile and wrote "stebukla" around which means "wish" and they say if you spin once on that tile your wish comes true.



Of course I tried it – but first I had to figure out what to wish for. Love, money, success? Way too ordinary and boring. I won’t tell you what I wished for but I will tell you if it comes true.



Another great thing was the hill of the three crosses – another memorial for the resistance against the Sovjets. In the 17th century three missionaries were cruzified there, and the crosses where kept in shape by the population. But the Sovjets destroyed them as well as all other crosses anywhere. So the people of Vilnius just put up new ones and left the destroyed ones there to see. Nevertheless, you have a great sight over all the city from up there.



I even went up once in the late evening to get some pictures of the skyline. It turned out afterwards that I forgot my SD-card, therefore I only have one picture in bad phone quality. But at least I could enjoy the great sight up there. Also, it was the same day when while walking through the old town of Vilnius and all ist parks I saw in total ten different brides, mostly shooting photos or on their way to their wedding party. But on the three crosses hill in front of the skyline of Vilnius, while enjoying the warm evening, I could even see a guy proposing to his girlfriend. Of course she said yes and then they were both so happy, it was really heartwarming to see. Who says Paris is the city of love? Come to Vilnius!



Some of you may have heard about the urban knitting thend – in Vilnius I found, as I would call it, urban sewing! Found in front of the St. Annes church.



And of course, for one day I went to Trakai, a village on a peninsula of a lake with a really beautiful castle on an island (but connected to the peninsula with a bridge). The village was originally inhabitated by the Karaites („Karäer“), a turkspeaking jewish community. They had a quite original style of houses, with the gables facing the street and having exactly three windows there. I only have a photo in bad phone quality as well because I forgot my SD-card, but it is totally worth to google for pictures of „Trakai“, because it is really beautiful there! Still, I had a wonderful hot day on the castle island. The water of the lake was cristal clear, you could see every fish, and the temperature was just right for swimming. And besides, it was just half an hour from Vilnius.