Saturday 10 October 2020

Vilnius-Interesting Capital of Lithuania




History in Brief 

Vilnius has an interesting history and in the 14th century under the rule of Grand Duke Gediminas, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania had extended its influence as far east as Belarus, Ukraine, and some parts of Russia and Poland. In September 1939 Lithuania the Lithuanian Consulate was opened in Vilnius and the first to grant Visa’s for life for the Jewish people and in so doing saved many Polish Jews. 

At the outset of World War 11, Vilnius was occupied the Russians and all of Lithuania was annexed by the Russians in August 1940 and a Soviet Government installed and subsequently 20,000 to 30,000 of the Lithuanian population were arrested and sent to gulags in far eastern Soviet Union. The Nazi’s captured Vilnius in June 1941 and two ghettos were established in the old town for the large Jewish population. During the occupation some 250,000 Jews (95% of the population) were murdered by the German’s. In July 1944 Vilnius the Russians took over from the Germans and incorporated Lithuania  into the Soviet Union and the NKVD began repressions against Lithuanians and many were deported to Siberia.

 In March 1990 Lithuania announced its succession from the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union sent in troops with a number of people killed an injured. In September 1991, the Soviet Union finally recognised the independence of Lithuania.

                         Gediminas Hill and the remains of the castle of the Grand Duke Gediminas. Most of thr castle which was built in the 13th century was destroyed by the russians in the 19th century and only the watch tower remains. It is worthwhile walking upo the hill as you get agreat view of the old town and th new city.

The Palace of the Grand Dukes adjacent to Cathedral Square and a stattue of Gediminas.This sits just below Gedimanas Hill.

The vilnius Cathedral and 57 M 13th century bell tower in Cathedral Square.

In a city of many churches St Anne's is one of the more interesting. St Anne's Roman Catholic Church was built around 1500 on the banks of the Vilnius river  and features interesting Gothic architecture.

The Old Town is a city with uinteresting streets and many small cafes .

The Gates of Dawn is one of five 16th century entry points into the city. This one has a cahpel over the entrance.

A Town with interesting Markets. This is one of the major markets in Vilnius.

And a darker side as well. Make sure you visit the KGB building and museum to understand what happened back then.

The interesting arty district of Uzupis on th other side of the Vilnius River, It declated independent and has an interesting constitution piblihsed in detail as you enter.

Vilnius is a city of many and diverse churches many that were used by the germans in WW2 as places for storage.

We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard in the newer part of the city but only a short walk to Cathedral Square. Great locations, very good hotel and an excellent restaurant.

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