Zuiderdam MegaVoyage 2018-2019, Vilinius, Lithuania, Part 1 of 2

Before crossing the Polish border, we made a brief stop in the lakeside resort of Augustow. Arrived in Vilnius in one piece with time to do our routine walk about. First on our list was the St. John’s Cathedral Belfry at Vilnius University, the observation deck of this tower had great panoramic views of the city…we made our way down to Cathedral Square to see the Vilnius Cathedral Belfry, Vilnius Cathedral and The Palace of Grand Dukes of Lithuania…what gorgeous structures! From a distance we could see the Gediminas Castle Tower above the Square, we decided to climb up to the tower…the views from the top were worth the climb. The following morning on the hunt for wall art we did a walking tour of the Uzupis the self-proclaimed Republic, is Vilnius’ Bohemian and artistic district. It has its own anthem, constitution, president, bishop, two churches, cemetery, seven bridges, and its own guardian called The Bronze Angel of Užupis. Dating back to the 16th century, Užupis is one of Vilnius’ oldest districts and currently one of the most expensive areas in Vilnius.  It was formerly the city’s poorest area. During the Soviet era, the authorities let Užupis go to ruin, since Lithuania regained its independence in 1991, artists came and took advantage of the cheap accommodation now and is now a thriving creative community. Crossing the river, we went to St. Anne’s and Bernardine Churches complex… a stunning renaissance gothic facade that is a church and was also used for defense. Adjacent to the church was the Bernardine Gardens…this park dates back to 1469. In the afternoon we accompanied our guide Ianna for a walking tour to Town Hall Square, the Gate of Dawn, a 16th century shrine to the Virgin Mary and the only remaining entrance gate to the original city of Vilnius, St. Nicholas Church, Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit and making our way to the Bastion of the Defensive Wall. We were about churched out but did make our way back to Cathedral Square for a visit to the inside of the Vilnius Cathedral known as the Cathedral of St Stanislav and St Vladislav, this columned neoclassical style cathedral is the city’s most recognizable building. We ended our tour here had a late lunch waiting for our hot air balloon ride over Vilnius later in the evening…stay tuned…We were really impressed Vilnius and its Old Town.

* This article was originally published here

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