Old Town in Vilnius

Vilnius Travel Blog

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Russian Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas. The church is beautiful on the inside as well.

This has to be a pretty quick wander around a new town! We all have to be back in Warsaw tomorrow and don't want to get home too late.  So, we got up before 9 (not that easy since we had the combination of the change to daylight savings time and a time zone change, so it was like two hours earlier than usual) and had breakfast in the hotel. The breakfast buffet at the Holiday Inn in Vilnius was good, just about anything you could want for breakfast - not like one of those enormous breakfast or brunch buffets, but more than sufficient to get us off to a good start.  After breakfast we checked out of the hotel and headed for the car.  We drove to the center of the old town and found a place to park - not too hard, being a Sunday.

Vilnius Cathedral
  Vilnius's Old Town is about 360 ha. large and is one of the biggest in Eastern Europe, so there is a lot to explore.  It is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Our first stop was the Cathedral. It's an impressive building, and according to my guidebook, it's considered a masterpiece of Classicism.  The belltower in front of the cathedral is also a nice sight.  We walked into the Cathedral to take a look.  Mass was going on, so we couldn't really take a lot of pictures and wander around.  We listened to the service a little. No matter what the language, you can always tell more or less what's going on.  After a few minutes we walked out again.  There are some nice statues of three Saints on the Cathedral façade. They are Saints Casimir, Helen and Stanislav.

Bell Tower in front of the Vilnius Cathedral.
  They were removed and destroyed by the Soviets in 1950 but were replaced in 1993.  After the Cathedral we walked by some schools in the Vilnius University.  Many of the streets in the Old Town are paved with bricks set in a herring bone pattern.  It looks great and probably handles extreme changes in temperature better than asphalt.  The day is gray and dismal, but most of the buildings are painted in yellows and other cheerful colors.  The whole area is a pleasant place for a stroll. 

Soon I saw another church I wanted to check out.  The Dominican Church of the Holy Spirit, which is a fine example of late Baroque architecture.  The inside has a million things to see, in Rococo style.  With tons of gold and porcelain sculptures, it is one of the most valuable church interiors in Lithuania.

One of many nice wooden store fronts around the town.
  It was interesting because they were holding Mass in Polish there.  There is a sizeable Polish minority in Vilnius and it was amazing to see how full the church was.  Standing room only!  Michal asked a lady at the church where we could find The Gates of Dawn Chapel "Kaplica Ostrobramska" in Polish.  This is where a highly revered image of the Virgin Mary - Our Lady of Compassion - is located.  This image of the Virgin is also mentioned in "Pan Tadeusz," considered the last European Epic poem.  She is the patroness of Lithuania.

We managed to see a number of churches and historic buildings, including the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas. This was an interesting one for me, I'd never seen a Russian Orthodox service.  The priest was singing the prayers and had an incredible voice.

View of Vilnius from my window at the hotel.
We also happened upon a handicraft fair which looked like it was sponsored by a school. It was fun to check out the goods that were for sale

Eventually, after walking all over and seeing too much to remember, we had to get in the car and head home. 

The drive home was pretty uneventful.  A stop for gasolina and lunch at a roadside inn.  Shortly before reaching the Polish / Lithuanian border I glanced up a knoll and saw a sort of military monument. I'm not too sure what it was about since there weren't any plaques or anything, but it was an interesting stop and a good chance to stretch out after sitting in the car for a while.

MartijnKaspers says:
Looks pretty cool there. I've been thinking about going on a city trip to Vilnius, but somehow I've put it off until now. Guess I'll have to check it out anyway... :)
Posted on: Jan 30, 2009
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Russian Orthodox Church of St. Nic…
Russian Orthodox Church of St. Ni…
Vilnius Cathedral
Vilnius Cathedral
Bell Tower in front of the Vilnius…
Bell Tower in front of the Vilniu…
One of many nice wooden store fron…
One of many nice wooden store fro…
View of Vilnius from my window at …
View of Vilnius from my window at…
View of Vilnius from my window at …
View of Vilnius from my window at…
View of Vilnius from my window at …
View of Vilnius from my window at…
Vilnius Cathedral and Bell Tower
Vilnius Cathedral and Bell Tower
View of the town from the Cathedral
View of the town from the Cathedral
Statue on the Cathedral Facade.  I…
Statue on the Cathedral Facade. …
Under the cathedral eaves!
Under the cathedral eaves!
Cathedral interior
Cathedral interior
Cathedral interior
Cathedral interior
Façade of the Vilnius Cathedral
Façade of the Vilnius Cathedral
Puppets inside a shop window.
Puppets inside a shop window.
We coincided with a little school …
We coincided with a little school…
Little ceramic rabbits in a store …
Little ceramic rabbits in a store…
A bakery
A bakery
Collection of coffee grinders on d…
Collection of coffee grinders on …
Russian Orthodox Church of St. Nic…
Russian Orthodox Church of St. Ni…
Russian Orthodox Church of St. Nic…
Russian Orthodox Church of St. Ni…
Baroque Church of All Saints.  The…
Baroque Church of All Saints. Th…
Baroque Church of All Saints
Baroque Church of All Saints
Baroque Church of All Saints
Baroque Church of All Saints
Baroque Church of All Saints
Baroque Church of All Saints
Baroque Church of All Saints
Baroque Church of All Saints
Entrance to the Holy Trinity Churc…
Entrance to the Holy Trinity Chur…
Gates of Dawn Chapel.  Matki Boski…
Gates of Dawn Chapel. Matki Bosk…
Matki Boskiej Ostrobramskiej.
Matki Boskiej Ostrobramskiej.
Vilnius
photo by: EmyG