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Location - Baltic, Eastern Europe; Capital - Vilnius; Population - 3million; Currency - Euro MORE LITHUANIA

Vilnius, capital of the former Soviet republic of Lithuania, is only a 2½hr flight from London, and my first port of call on the way to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad - April 2015.

euroOn 1 January 2015 Lithuania switched currencies from the Lita to the Euro








lithuania76Aside from the Old Town, Cathedral Square is the centrepiece of Vilnius


lithuania81On the left is a statue of Gediminas; the central tower is the belfry; while on the right are the pillared columns of the Cathedral - Vilnius


lithuania82Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania in the 14th century, surveys Cathedral Square - Vilnius













lithuania75The Royal Palace originally dates to the 15th century but was demolished in 1801. The reconstructed palace, now a museum, finally opened its doors in 2009.
Behind Gediminas is his namesake, Gediminas Hill - Vilnius












lithuania72'Stebuklas' (miracle) marks the end of the human chain of two million people who linked hands across Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in 1989, to protest against Soviet occupation - Vilnius


lithuania71A full moon shines over the belfry and Cathedral - Vilnius


lithuania79At the top of Gediminas Hill is the Upper Castle Museum - Vilnius













lithuania80aThe Royal Palace at the foot of Gediminas Hill - Vilnius















lithuania90The original structure of the Upper Castle Museum dates back to the 13th century - Vilnius


lithuania93Vilnius was founded on Gediminas Hill, behind which is the summit of Three Crosses Hill (top right)


lithuania85Three Crosses Hill is lit up at night - Vilnius













lithuania95Take in great views of the Old Town from Gediminas Hill - Vilnius













lithuania96Just in frame on the left is the red brick St Anne's Church. I'm still trying to work out what the big central building is... Vilnius


lithuania92The weather was pretty bad when I was in Vilnius and the TV Tower was usually shrouded in mist. Until this shot! In January 1991 Soviet forces killed 14 people here, but broadcasting continued until the troops entered the Tower


lithuania109Mindaugas stands in front of the National Museum of Lithuania, with the Upper Castle Museum above - Vilnius













lithuania20The Three Muses stand impressively outside the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre - Vilnius














lithuania135The main streets in the Old Town are the cobbled Pilies Gatve leading to Didzioji Gatve - Vilnius


lithuania121There's several cafes and restaurants along Pilies Gatve, but when night falls activity switches further south - Vilnius


lithuania1Along Pilies Gatve is the House of Signatories, where independence was declared in 1918, only to be reoccupied by Poland soon after - Vilnius













lithuania113Chickens escape from a shop window on Pilies Gatve - Vilnius














lithuania13Just off Pilies Gatve is Vilnius University, a gated area which contains churches and several courtyards. Plus lots of students - Vilnius


lithuania4The 16th century Gates of Dawn is the last surviving original tower gate - Vilnius


lithuania117The end of Pilies Gatve brings you to the spacious surrounds of Town Hall Square - Vilnius













lithuania118In the evening the streets off Town Hall Square come to life - Vilnius













lithuania116And she has prime position to take it all in - Vilnius


lithuania120The Town Hall naturally takes centre stage in Town Hall Square. It houses the main tourist office - Vilnius


lithuania122In the day time there's a small market in front of this church on Town Hall Square - Vilnius












lithuania123Opposite the Town Hall on Didzioji Gatve is St Casimir's Church - Vilnius













lithuania7On the wall to the left is a plaque displaying a map of the Large Ghetto, a ghetto neighbourhood created by Nazi Germany to house Jews between 1941 and 1943. It was disbanded on the orders of Heinrich Himmler - Vilnius


lithuania125Except for the curtains and lamp, all this display in a Old Town cafe is made of chocolate. Wow! - Vilnius


lithuania127Katedros is an excellent IPA beer brewed on-site at this bar on Gedimino Prospektas - Vilnius












lithuania128The mighty red brick of the 15th century St Anne's Church - Vilnius












lithuania131Keeping the trees warm - Vilnius


lithuania133Street art in the Old Town - Vilnius


lithuania145I don't know the exact translation but this Putin message is definitely not an endearing one! Antipathy to Russia is rife in Lithuania - Vilnius












lithuania146An artistic display along an Old Town side street - Vilnius













lithuania148Denture art? Vilnius


lithuania23Walk up Gedimino Prospektas to the Museum of Genocide Victims - Vilnius


lithuania32The museum is housed in a former Soviet KGB building where thousands of Lithuanians were killed, deported and imprisoned - Vilnius













lithuania46A straitjacket in a soundproofed padded cell - Museum of Genocide Victims, Vilnius












lithuania57Surveillance and bugging devices played a key role in monitoring 'suspects' - Vilnius


lithuania64Outside Parliament House, on Gedimino Prospektas, are the remnants of barricades erected in January 1991 to protect parliament from Soviet troops - Vilnius


lithuania67Across the Neris River from Gedimino Prospketas is a kenesa, a prayer house for the tiny Karaite community - Vilnius













lithuania201 Looking back at the Romanov Church, an onion-domed Russian Orthodox church - Vilnius












lithuania202Crosses stand outside the TV and Radio Centre, remembering those who died when Soviet troops stormed the building in January 1991 - Vilnius


lithuania198How random is this?! A statue honouring American musician Frank Zappa, who has no connection with Vilnius or Lithuania whatsoever, which makes it far more enigmatic and interesting - Vilnius



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LINKS - Coach travel to/from Lithuania - Lithuania tourist board - Lithuania trains


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