Vilnius, the hear t of Europe.

I am here to invite you to my wonderful city Vilnius. It is wonderful, not because it is mine, but because most of the people who visited and knew how to approach this mysterious place have told me so.

Vilnius reveals most of its beauty if visited from early May to mid October; nevertheless, Christmas time is also extremely bright in the capital of Lithuania. It is particularly great place to go if you love history and its fascinating stories: on each corner of the city you will find something amazing and unique. For this reason Vilnius old town is included in UNESCO world heritage list.

However, I would advise to visit the city with someone who knows it well, because there are many hidden places, inner yards, narrow streets, parks and exotic places which might be difficult (but not impossible) to find on your own.

Vilnius is of a moderate size, but is a very vivid and vibrant city. Even if the Baltic countries have been traditionally called “Eastern Europe”, the geographical center of Europe is just beside Vilnius. Vilnius has medieval vaults with cozy restaurants and crazy modern open-air museums; you will find groundbreaking nightlife and enormous numbers of art galleries, churches, and high-level cultural events. We also have the Republic of Užupis – the area in the old town famous for its artist community with a funny constitution where everyone can give the oath with their left hand! Every June we have the Night of Arts which is growing more and more international every year and John’s Day celebrated in traditional pagan way when river Neris turns into the floating stream of candles on the flower crowns.

Early spring we ‘scare’ the winter with the festival of Užgavėnės wearing frightening masks of witches and devils and baking pancakes, which resemble the sun. Huge shopping malls are almost in the center of the city. There you will find skating-rinks, cinemas, bowling and other entertainment. Try Lithuanian beer Švyturys (white beer might be particularly interesting for you) as well as some national specialties – Cepelinai, Plokštainis (Kugelis), Šaltibarščiai, black bread, Lithuanian chocolate and other national beverages like Gira, Čepkelių trauktinė or Midus.

Don’t miss Trakai Island Castle in the middle of the gorgeous lake and don’t forget to make a wish before you leave on the “miracle’s stone-block” in front of the main cathedral. Let’s hope your wish will be to come back to Vilnius!

Aušrinė Šilenskytė