Vilnius is an outstanding example of a medieval foundation which exercised a profound influence on architectural and cultural developments in a wide area of Eastern Europe over several centuries.
Legend has it that the city started with a dream Grand Duke Gediminas had on a hunting trip. In his dream, Gediminas saw a huge iron wolf standing on a hill howling as if hundreds of wolves were trapped inside it. When the Grand Duke consulted the court magician Lizdeika, he was told that the wolf was a symbol of a great capital that would one day stand atop that hill. By 1323, Gediminas was already sending letters to European cities inviting merchants and craftspeople to visit the city.
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania and thus home to the country’s President, Seimas, Government and Supreme Court. Diplomatic missions, as well as educational, cultural, financial, research, and healthcare institutions are based here.
The magical Old Town of Vilnius holds many secrets and a long history. The cobblestone streets lead you on a romantic walk through the UNESCO World Heritage site. But Vilnius has more tricks up its sleeve. Vilnius is home to many talented contemporary artists, which means you can attend a play or a film by a world-famous Lithuanian director, listen to the best opera singer in the world, or visit the exhibition of an acclaimed contemporary artist.
Dozens of free events take place daily in Vilnius, and every month there’s a theatre, film, dance, or a culture festival going on. Vilnius is also a hot destination for touring artists, so plan ahead and you might get to see them up close and personal while in town. At night, Vilnius turns into a different city where people dance until sunrise amid a booming club and bar culture.