Vilnius informationVilnius is the capital of the Baltic state of Lithuania and relatively unknown in Europe. However Vilnius is a complete and attractive European capital. The historic center of the city belongs to the World Heritage List of UNESCO. In addition, the city has a rich history and Vilnius has much to offer for culture lovers.
Vilnius locationVilnius is located at 54°:41' Latitude North and 25°:17' Longitude East. You will find Vilnius in the southeast of Lithuania, the southernmost country of the Baltic states. The city has an area of 9,760 km² and about 543,000 inhabitants, making it the largest city of Lithuania. The Neris and Vilnia Rivers are flowing through the city.
Vilnius weatherLithuania has a temperate climate. The average annual temperature of the city amounts to about 6 degrees above zero. The winters are cold in Vilnius and tend to be quite long, regularly the temperature drops below -25 degrees Celsius. In the winter the city is often hidden under a thick layer of snow. In the historic center it looks like a picture in a fairytale book. In the summer the weather is usually pleasant. The average summer temperature is around 17 degrees, but occasionally there are days with temperatures rising to 30 degrees. There are occasional downpours in the summer. The average precipitation is about 661 millimeters per year.
Vilnius historyVilnius was founded in the fourteenth century by the Grand Duke Gediminas. Vilnius flourished in the sixteenth and early seventeenth century, when Lithuania belonged to Poland. Lithuania at that time attracted many immigrants and a large proportion of the population was Jewish. In 1579 Vilnius University was founded, one of the oldest universities in Europe.
From 1772 to 1793 part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was claimed by Russia and Austria. In 1918 Lithuania declared its independence. This was only accepted in 1920 by Russia in the Treaty of Moscow. But after that acceptation the position of Vilnius became a point of disagreement between Poland and Lithuania.
Immediately after the start of World War II in 1939 the Soviet Army occupied Vilnius. In October of that year Stalin decided to give back the occupied territory to Lithuania under the condition that a number of bases of the Red Army would be permitted. In practice Russia ruled and had the upper hand. After the war Vilnius stayed under influence of the Soviet Union until on 11 March 1990, the Supreme Council of the Lithuanian SSR announced its secession from the Soviet Union. This happened during an uprising of the population with many dead and wounded, but finally the Lithuanian people were victorious. The Soviet Union finally recognised Lithuanian independence in August 1991.
Vilnius tourist attractionsVilnius Old Town, the historical centre of Vilnius, is one of the largest in Europe (3.6 km²). The most valuable historic and cultural sites are concentrated here. Vilnius is full of beautiful buildings . A very beautiful church is the St. Kazimero church. The ornate building is literally crowned with a golden crown on the spire.
Another impressive building is the ancient Gediminas castle. This is a historical museum. You can also climb to the top of the tower and enjoy a panoramic view of Vilnius.
In the KGB museum you can learn a lot about the dark history of Soviet Vilnius. You can visit the cells where Lithuanians were detained pending deportation to Siberia. You can also book a tour led by an expert an impressive experience!
During a visit to Vilnius, you should definitely eat once koldunai, this typical Lithuanian dish is very tasteful. The ingredients are potato dumplings stuffed with cheese, mushrooms or meat. Most of the authentic dishes are very high in calories and you'll burst of energy after eating in Vilnius.