As the capital city and major economic center of Lithuania, Vilnius is known for its breathtaking architecture, eclectic culture and undeniable artistic spirit.
Vilnius is located in southeastern Lithuania, a Northern European country bordering the Baltic Sea, Latvia, Belarus, Poland and Russia. Lithuania has nearly eight hundred years of statehood tradition, while its name was first time mentioned over 1000 years ago – on year 1009 – in the Quedlin-burg Annals (Germany). Last century – on year 1940 – Lithuania was occupied by Soviet Union and gained independence in 1991 and has since emerged one of the fastest growing economies in the EU.
As the capital city and major economic center of Lithuania, Vilnius is home to about 560 000 people. The population is comprised of 57.8% Lithuanian, 18.7% Polish, 14% Russian, 4% Belarusian, 0.5% Jewish and 5% of other nationalities.
The city boasts a rich blend of architectural styles, as buildings in Vilnius were built over several centuries, displaying a mix of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and classical styles. There are 65 churches and numerous museums, squares, cemeteries and parks. Key sites include the Gediminas Castle, the Hill of Three Crosses, Cathedral Square and the Royal Palace of Lithuania.
The Vilnius Historic Center was marked a UNESCO World Heritage center in 1994 and the city was then selected as a 2009 European Capital of Culture.
This cosmopolitan city is home to a large arts community, full of music, art, literature, cinema and theatre. Interestingly, in 1995, the world’s first bronze cast of Frank Zappa was installed in the Naujamiestis district of Vilnius.
The with a strong pagan history and rich folklife, Lithuanian culture is also known for its varying mythologies, customs, traditions and artistic styles. Age-old superstitions and traditions are still passed down from generation to generation and countless related festivals, celebrations and open-air events take place all year long.
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