From its founding in 1323, Vilnius has survived successive attacks by Crusaders, Crimean Tatars, Russians, Napoleon’s armies, Poles and Germans. Nevertheless, structures in Gothic, baroque, Renaissance and neoclassical styles are still standing today in Vilnius’ Old Town, one of the largest in Eastern Europe. Highlights include the Town Hall Square, bordered by the town hall, which dates back to the 15th century. Pilies Street, the main artery of the Old Town, is lined with shops and artisans selling traditional wares.
The neoclassical Vilnius Cathedral’s separate bell tower is partially constructed from the medieval ruins of the lower castle that occupied this area. The large Vilnius Castle complex, developed during the 10th to 18th centuries, contains the Gediminas Tower – the only remaining functional part of the Upper Castle, and the symbol of the city of Vilnius. Also of note is the KGB Museum, in the basement of the former District Court Building on Lukiskiu Square, where thousands of Lithuanians underwent interrogations before their deportation to Siberia.
PUBLISHED: July 19, 2013