Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is the largest and one of the oldest cities of the country.
History. Its name was first mentioned in 1323 in the letters of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas inviting craftsmen, merchants and monks from Western Europe to come and stay here. In 1387, after Lithuania adopted Christianity, the city was awarded the Magdeburg Rights, i.e. self-governing.
Vilnius boasts the most wonderful architectural styles of Southern and Western Europe, Gothic and Renaissance, as well as the original “Lithuanian” Baroque, also called the last vivid flash of Baroque in Europe. During these periods the dynamic silhouettes of the majority of very elegant churches and belfry towers emerged above the city panorama. The end of the 18th century enriched the capital with beautiful buildings in the Classicist style. The capital of Lithuania is the biggest northernmost and easternmost city of Europe with especially evident influence of Western cultures in its architectural harmony. In 1994 the Old Town of Vilnius was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Contemporary Vilnius is the fastest growing and advancing capital in the Baltic States, aspiring to be the most attractive centre for business, political and cultural meetings and events in the region of the neighbouring countries. The city enjoys a well-developed infrastructure of services and entertainments–it has plenty of accommodation, catering and leisure places of various levels. Vilnius is home to the majority of national art and cultural institutions and companies as well as artists. Eimuntas Nekrošius, Oskaras Koršunovas, Rimas Tuminas and other Lithuanian artistic directors, the best in Europe, are working here. During summertime the city hosts international and national cultural events, including Vilnius Festival (classics and of the virtuosi of the world music), Christopher’s festival of traditional and modern music, several jazz, folklore and modern dance festivals along with other inventive festivities.
Vilnius Old Town is among the largest and loveliest old towns in the Central and Easter Europe: the capital of Lithuania is among the top twenty most attractive must-see cities of the world. Vilnius, as the capital of Lithuania, is the home of the President, the Seimas, the Government and the Supreme Court. Diplomatic missions, educational, cultural, financial, research, and health care institutions are based there. The multi-storey business centre on the northern bank of the Neris River is a symbol of the dynamic development of the city. The capital of Lithuania is the leading city in the region by the sheer volume of construction of business offices and residential houses; it boasts a high level of infrastructure and services and a rapidly improving quality of life. In total, more than 40 per cent of the region of Vilnius is given over to parks and other green areas. Lithuanians have a powerful, almost spiritual bond with nature. Perhaps it stems from their Pagan roots. After all, Lithuania was the last country in Europe to be converted to Christianity. In any case, it’s impossible not to be affected by this deep respect for nature, its spirit of tolerance. Since its founding, Vilnius has been known as a city open to the people of various nations and beliefs. The diverse ethnic composition of the city is testified by the street names in the Old Town, such as the Vokiečių Street (Germans’ Street), Žydų Street (Jews’ Street), Totorių Street (Tartars’ Street), Rusų Street (Russians’ Street), as well as by the houses of worship belonging to nine different religions. Whatever your faith, Vilnius will make you feel right at home.
Come to Vilnius! Enjoy its beauty, mystery and magic!