Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania and, in terms of area, the largest city in the Baltics. It was never subordinate to the Teutonic Order. Vilnius has always had a very liberal reputation until the Poles were expelled in World War II and the Jews fled or were murdered.
The name of the city originates from the small river Vilnia, which flows near the Gediminas mountain in the Neris. Grand Duke Gediminas founded the city in 1323. He wooed for merchants, scientists, and craftsmen, also with the argument of the two churches. The freedom of religion influenced the liberality of the city for a long time. Nevertheless, the city was repeatedly attacked and devastated by the Teutonic Order. Therefore, the Grand Duke Wladysław II Jagiello entered into an alliance with Poland and married the Polish Queen Hedwig. Then the land was Christianized and one destroyed the pagan temple on the Gediminas mountain.Originally Vilnius was capital of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Abieju Tautu Respublika from 1569 to 1795. After being controlled by Russia, Poland, Sweden, and Germany, Vilnius became the capital of Lithuania again in 1990.
Already in 1579, one founded the University of Vilnius.
City tour by bus
In the morning of the next day, the weather seems to be better again and we decide to make a city tour by bus in Vilnius to get a quick overview of the most important sights.
The bus tour starts in the city center near the Cathedral of St. Stanislaus. It is the oldest church on Lithuanian soil, already built in the 13th century. It received its classical appearance in 1783.
The cathedral was built on the remains of a first Christian church and on the remains of a pagan temple.
Behind the cathedral is the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.
Next station is the Presidential Palace. In an outer arch, the bus travels around the old town to the east and reaches St. Anne’s Church and the Church of St. Francis and St. Bernard.
On the opposite side of the street is the Church of St. Michael the Archangel. A few meters further on is the white Cathedral of the Theotokos.
Right next to it, the bridge leads over the Vilnia River to a special neighborhood, the Republic of Uzupis.
Now the route leads to the vicinity of the train station, where some locomotives are on display. From there it goes past the market hall to the town hall.
A small loop leads to St. Theresa’s Church, next to which one can visit the Gate of the Dawn. Inside the people worship the Black Madonna. Then the bus returns to the city hall.
In a long arc, the route now leads through residential areas in the government district to Parliament. Afterwards, we cross the Neris and the bus drives down the river through a modern office district.
At the Gediminas mountain, the bus crosses the Neris again and you can see the former fortress.
Then it returns to its starting point at the Cathedral of St. Stanislaus.
Please read on > City Walk in Vilnius
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