#tbt Vilnius part 5: Tower

This year I decided it was time to have a look at all the drafts I have kept. There seems to be a lot of posts that I have started writing and never finished. With a bit of work some of these are publishable, but most of them I have deleted. Those I kept and that I still want to publish I will finish and share with you. I decided that most of them will be good for Throwback Thursday. Here is a post I never finished from my trip to Vilnius August 2017.

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The flag at the top of the tower was put up in 1988 during Lithuania’s independence movement

Even if it was quite warm in Vilnius when we visited it was still nice to have a little look around the town. There is a tower up on a hill that looked like it would be a good place to view the town from above and the tower itself also looked like it was worth a visit. The walk up the hill is a bit steep, but nothing too bad. There is a funicular cart going up, but it was not running the day we decided to go up and have a look. But with all the good food we had on the trip there was some movement required.

My knight in shiny armour

The tower is called Gedimina’s tower and it is what remains of the Upper Castle in Vilnius. The first brick castle was built here in 1409, but this three story tower is a rebuild from 1933. Some of the old structures can still be seen up there today as they have been restored by archaeologists.

The tower has a legend:

Long ago, the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas was hunting in the woods of Šventaragis valley. The hunting was a success, but very tiring. The duke stayed there and spent a night. Gediminas had a dream that on top of the hill, where he had hunted down a taurus that day: a large iron wolf was standing and howling hard and loud, like a hundred wolves.

The Duke asked the mage Lizdeika to explain the dream. He explained that this was an omen indicating that he should build a city in this place, which would later become known around the world and would become the magnificent capital city of Lithuania.

Gediminas, obeying the will of the gods, began to build the future capital city, and a castle in the center of it. The city was named Vilnius after the nearby river Vilnia. Gediminas’ Tower is one part of the castle, which was built by Gediminas.

Source: Wikipedia

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A great view over the river and new part of the Vilnius where we stayed the first few days.

The view from the top turned out to be as good, or maybe even better, than we thought to begin with. from up there you got a really good view around both the new part of Vilnius and the old.

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Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania

The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania is just at the base of the hill where Gediminas’ tower is. The palace was originally built in the 1500’s, destroyed around 1800 and they started rebuilding it in 2002.

View of the three crosses

We decided not to go up to the hill with the three crosses, when we visited as we had to prioritize. But we had a view of them from the city and from the tower. According to the legend seven Fransiscan friars we’re beheaded on top of this hill. Wooden crosses were built here in this location since the late 17th century. But the three crosses that are there now was put up in 1989.

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Vilnius part 4: The town

Vilnius Cathedral

The Cathedral has a spot where you can stand, spinn three times and make a wish. I found it quite lovely at dusk. The Cathedral square is the Main square og the old town. It is a key location in the city’ s public life. And they have nice places for getting a beer.

Presidential palace

Vilnius is the second largest city in the baltic states. It’s the seat of the main government institutions of Lithuania. The presidential palace is the official office and recidence of the President of Lithuania. It rates back to the 14th century and has undergone various reconstructions.

The gate of Dawn. Gateway built in the wall that surrounds Vilnius

The gate of Dawn is a city gate of Vilnius and one of the most important religious, historisk and cultural monuments. It was built between 1503 and 1522 as part of the defensive fortification of Vilnius. Of the nine city gates this is the only one left.

Rebuilding old wall outside the city gates

Neris river that separate the old part of town from the new

A cute street in the old town

Statue

Vilnius part 3: Churches

Vilnius has a lot of churches I didn’t get photos of all of them. For the most they are Catholic churches, but there some orthodox churches today.

The Gate of Dawn, the chapel of Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn, contains the painting with the same name. The legend tells that on 1702 when Vilnius was captured by the Swedish army the came to her people’s rescue

Church of St. Anne roman Catholic church. A prominent exemple of gothic styles. And it helped enable the district to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. There was amazing and wonderful architecture inside.

The Cathedral of Vilnius is the main Roman Catholic Cathedral of Lithuania. It’s dedicated to Saints Stanislaus and Ladislaus.

Churc of all Saints is a Baroque style church. Was built between 1620 and 1630 and was a Carmelite monastary

Church of St. Paraskeva orthodox church

Church of St. Peter and St. Paul Roman Catholic church

Vilnius

The previous weekend I went for a long weekend in Vilnius, Lithuania to attend a friends wedding. I had a lovely time over there and got to see some of the sights the town has to offer, tasted some good food and one of the perks about going was that the weather actually acted like it was summer.

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This lucky belly was in a wall close to the 3rd hotel we stayed at!

It wasn’t a relaxing trip, there was a lot to see and do, and not to much time to do everything. But I think I managed to squeeze in quite a lot in the short while and I got to spend some time in the company of good friends.

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View from the room of our first hotel

 Vilnius was a lovely city. Getting there is usually not to difficult, but unfortunantly for us the airport in Vilnius was closed for the time we were there, so we had to fly to the city of Kaunas an hour away. This was quite a set-back and made the travel a lot more stressfull.

View from the sky bar at the first hotel

We used a car service to drive us to the airport and back, if we we hadn’t it would have been even worse.

Vilnius was a very clean city and there was a lot fewer tourists around due to the fact that the airport was closed. There was also more casinos and strip clubs around than I am used to seing in other cities I’ve been to.

Luggage handling in Kaunas airport