Exploring Užupis

By | Category: Travel destinations

Every city or town has an area that locals know and tourists only find out about by either ploughing through guidebooks or asking locals.

In the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, one of the more Bohemian areas is called Užupis.

Užupis. Image © Go Vilnius

For a start this area is a republic within the country – or that is how it describes itself.  It declared independence on April Fool’s Day some 21 years ago. Deemed to be independently minded within the city, the area is scenic and intriguing.

Užupis has a distinct atmosphere and history, but it is also exceptionally open and draws visitors into its playful ambience almost effortlessly. “You can play the piano along the river, take a turn on the Destiny’s Swing, which hangs from the district’s main bridge, or read the Užupis Constitution in your own language. ( it includes things like the rights of dogs and the right to be lazy.). The district has its own president, constitution, currency, anthem, border crossing, and honorary citizens. Visitors can take a snack under the famous angel sculpture guarding the district or send a postcard with a special stamp at Magnets & Miracles, which serves as the Užupis Information centre and post office. there are art installations in the Užupis Art Incubator, there is Jewish heritage trail reminding visitors of the influence that Jews have had on the city over the centuries and unique wooden architecture.

If seeing all that out has worn you out then a saunter along the riverbank  stopping off at the riverside cafes may help revive you.

The “consitution” of Užupis. It gives dogs rights and lets you be lazy! Image (© Go Vilnius

Bear in mind though that all the suggestions I have made are just in one district of the city so walking is the best way to see it. There can be few places where so much can be seen in such a small geographic area.

Now a free route guide to Užupis has been produced. Available in English as well as German, Italian, Polish, and Russian which you can download from https://bit.ly/2QVeL6a or collect it when you arrive in Vilnius.

Vilnius is a popular city break destination for UK holidaymakers, partly because of good local connections provided by the low-cost airlines and partly because it is a relatively cheap place to visit.

Whatever you visit in Lithuania, it appears that you are more likely to remember eccentric Užupis than some other places you might visit.

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