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Special Vilnius route: Artistic and Romantic Vilnius

Artistic and Romantic Vilnius

While strolling the streets, squares and plazas of the city, you will feel its artistic spirit, discover the most romantic places, and become familiar with a “different” Vilnius.
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Artistic and Romantic Vilnius
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1. “Apple” Tile (“Obuoliukas”) (S. Moniuškos Square)
The “Apple” tile is a paving tile in S. Moniuška Square created by artist Gitenis Umbrasas and represents the square as a rendezvous point. S. Moniuškos Square is a favourite place for both residents and visitors of Vilnius and it hosts a variety of cultural events.

2. Monument to Frank Zappa
This monument is dedicated to eminent American composer, guitarist and singer Frank Zappa (sculptor Konstantinas Bogdanas). This performer, distinguished for the peculiar style of his creative work, is referred to as the father of modern music. Frank Zappa’s music is characterised by its psychedelic style and elements of parody, which combine rock, jazz, avant-garde and electronic music.

3. Monument to Romain Gary
This small statue by sculptor R. Kvintas was made in remembrance of renowned writer Romain Gary, a famous French writer of the 20th century as well as a pilot, diplomat and director. The small and frail figure of a boy, positioned next to the house where the writer once lived, quaintly stands out against the busy crossing. The story of the statue stems from the autobiographic story of the writer in his book Promise at Dawn (La promesse de l’aube), in which he tells of his childhood in Vilnius and his admiration for a girl named Valentina. Struggling to win her attention the writer would cut and eat a gumshoe.

4. Sculpture “Easter Egg” (“Margutis”)
In 2003 the hand of artist and designer Lijana Turskytė turned the gypsum 300 kg egg, which is erected on the granite column, into an Easter egg, bringing a touch of spring to the capital city and brightening the view for the passerby. Today the Easter egg signifies the restoration and revival of this part of the Old Town.

5. Monument to Tsemakh Shabad (C. Šabadas)
This monument, created by Romualdas Kvintas, is dedicated to Doctor Tsemakh Shabad (1864–1935) who once lived in Vilnius and was called Doctor Aiskauda (Dr. Doolittle). The doctor paid special attention to children’s health problems; therefore the sculpture portrays an image of him talking to a child. The monument is harmoniously and simply merged into the surroundings, altogether bringing a feeling of comfort and kindness.

6. Sculpture “Annalist” (“Metraštininkas”)
Erected in 1973, this sculpture by V. Krutinis is in harmony with the cosy surroundings of the old town courtyard. The sculpture seems to invite you to stay and ponder over the thoughts of the Annalist.

7. Republic of Užupis
Užupis is a unique state within a state—a colourful and living island detached from the city by the river Vilnelė. It is more than just a place for artists and a mysterious and romantic area; it has its own president, anthem, constitution and guardian—the bronze Užupis Angel (sculptor Romas Vilčiauskas). The constitution of the Republic of Užupis is available for public viewing on the fence at the beginning of Paupio Street. The wall in Paupio Street features an open palm, which symbolises the openness of this special area to everyone, and at all times. While taking a walk along the riverside of the Vilnia, one might chance upon artists at their work. Užupis also has its own holidays—Užupis Independence Day, the Fish Day, etc.
The Bronze Mermaid, also called the Maiden of Užupis, (sculptor R. Vilčiauskas) is another symbol of Užupis. The mermaid is sitting in a niche in the embankment of the Vilnia. They say that she allures people from all over the world to come to Užupis; and those who fail to resist her charms will stay in Užupis forever.
The Užupis Art Incubator (Užupio St. 2/11) is an extraordinary cultural organisation which is also open to the public. It is noted for its gallery and exhibitions of diverse styles, as well as the novel painting of its walls which are intertwined with the riverside sculptures. The Užupis Art Incubator is the place where artistic, communal and cultural ideas of young people are born and developed.

8. Bernardinai Bridge
Užupis has a number of bridges connecting it with the rest of the city. During holidays in the Republic of Užupis, especially Independence Day, the Paplaujos, Užupio and Bernardinų Bridges are transformed into imaginary frontier gates which lead to the Republic, with its own customs and frontier officers. The guardrails of the bridges have locks hanging on them, symbolising the fidelity of two lovers. The Fluxus Bridge, located in the vicinity of the Bernardinai Bridge and connecting the “rest of Vilnius” to the Užupis Art Incubator, is an integral part of the artistic surroundings and often hosts various installations, events and presentations.

9. “Miracle” Tile (“Stebuklas”)
One of the pavement tiles in the Cathedral Square (between the Cathedral and the belfry) is decorated with the word “stebuklas” (“miracle”) in coloured letters (by G. Umbrasas). Should you want to make a wish come true then you must stand on the tile, make your wish and turn round 360 degrees.

10. Sculpture “Three Muses” (“Trys mūzos”)
The “Three Muses” by sculptor Stanislovas Kuzma, which crown the main entrance to the National Drama Theatre, have already become its symbol. The muses of Drama (Calliope), Comedy (Thalia) and Tragedy (Melpomene) patronise the wide and diverse genres in the theatre’s repertoire.

11. Sculpture of St. George
Erected in 1895 in the heart of Vilnius, the building was known as St. George Hotel until 1940, while the sculpture positioned on the roof was always associated with the present Gedimino Avenue. The sculpture of St. George was pulled down in 1944 after the hotel was damaged by fire. The author of the recently reproduced sculpture is K. Balčiūnas.

12. Green Bridge
This is the oldest bridge over the Neris in Vilnius, and was built in 1536 by an eminent Vilnius engineer of German origin—Ulrichas Hozijus (Ulrich Hosius). In 1739 the bridge was painted green and thus the name of the Green Bridge became associated with it. Decorated by groups of sculptures portraying socialistic realism (sculptors J. Mikėnas, B. Pundzius, etc.), its images relate to agriculture, industry, education and the army. It remains one of the few bridges in the country to be decorated with sculptures. The bridge represents a part of the soviet heritage. In spring “Love Banks” bloom in vividly coloured blossoms on the embankment of the Neris between the Green Bridge and King Mindaugas Bridge. The idea for this ingenious project—to make the lettering in flowers “Aš tave myliu”( “I love you”) and “Ir aš tave” (“I do too”)—was the brainchild of artist G. Umbrasas.

13. Sculpture “Twins” (“Dvyniai”)
The modern construction of the 7.5 metre high sculpture “Twins” (author T. Gutauskas) embellishes the Business Triangle located on the bank of the river Neris in Vilnius. The colour of the polychromed and stained sculpture imparts modernity and unconventionality.

14. Monument to Basketball
This is the first sculpture dedicated to basketball, not only in Lithuania, but also across all of Europe (author T. Gutauskas). The composition, featuring a stainless steel mirror ball lifted up on five columns, symbolises a hand holding a basketball. The sculpture has impressive dimensions—it is nearly 6 metres in height and 30 tons in weight.

15. Scenic Viewpoint in Subačiaus St.
A view overlooking the magnificent panorama of the Old Town opens up from this scenic viewpoint.
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