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If you imagine the city as a whole structured mechanism or even better, like a vivid body, the streets of this creation will stand as veins - pulsive and alive, full of talks, smells and laugh. Maybe because of this never-ending vitality, the streets of a city, for me, are the most important part of the whole city’s architecture. I love Vilnius city the most because of its charming architecture and artistic, vivid streets. In every part of the city - the downtown, the Old Town or other neighborhoods, you can find the street that you have never visited before. And there, you can discover the eye-catching street art or old abandoned church. The streets of Vilnius are surprising, but especially the streets of the Old Town hide something that you need to look for. I will not talk about the most popular streets of Vilnius, which are full of tourist attractions. Today, I will reveal you the most artistic and vivid streets of Vilnius, where the poets have lived, where the most lovely courtyards are hidden and where you will always be surprised by something.
“Whoever comes to me, will be free and equal, because I am FREEDOM” - Adam Mickiewicz (The Books and the Pilgrimage of the Polish Nation, 1833)
Adam Mickiewicz was both a Polish and Lithuanian poet, dramatist, essayist, and political activist. He was born in 1798 at the very edge of Lithuania, in a small nobleman family. This poet is one of the most valuable Polish and Lithuanian creators, with the poems such as “Pan Tadeusz” or “Gražyna” that became an integral part of the Lithuanian literature heritage. Adam was studying at the Vilnius University, thus, he lived in Vilnius. A small street where the famous poet had lived, in his honor nowadays is called Literatai Street.
With the name “Literatai” (writers, poets), this street was named after many years of Adam Mickiewicz death, in the second half of the 19th century. Besides a traditional sign “In this building was living Adam Mickiewicz” (actually in Lithuanian is Adomas Mickevičius), this tiny street is full of various artworks related to literature. In 2008, a group of Lithuanian artists had an idea to revive the street and decorate one wall of it with the plates and small objects made of wood, glass, metal and other materials, all this in honor of literature. Literatai street is a significant place for all literature lovers.
“Seek the insignificant small but essential qualities, essential to life.” ― Jonas Mekas
It is not a surprise that a street full of avant-garde spirit in Vilnius can be found in Užupis district. Užupis is like a big house for all free souls, artists, and creators. That’s why the JONAS MEKAS Visual Arts Center is established in the small Malūnai Street of Vilnius. Jonas Mekas (1922-2019) is, as everyone calls him, the godfather of an American avant-garde cinema. Jonas Mekas was a Lithuanian-American filmmaker, poet, and artist, and the very loved person among all Lithuanians.
Malūnai Street has the JONAS MEKAS Visual Arts Center in the middle of it, a famous Užupis Angel statue at one end of the street and relaxing Tibetas Square on other. Also, Malūnai Street is one of the entrances to the Užupis artistic district. Furthermore, make sure to stop by Tibetas Square and enjoy the colorful views of this square, together with the sound of wind bells.
For the end, I will reveal you one of my favorite parts of the city for perfect views - near the Artillery bastion of Vilnius, all the streets - Bokštas Street, Subačius Street, and Šv. Dvasia Street have many courtyards, and as it is a bit above the regular city level, the perfect Old Town views. This area is amazing for exploring. From the Artillery bastion of Vilnius, you can see Vilnius Northern Part. In the Subačius and Šv. Dvasia Street, you can find small courtyards with amazing views of the Old Town churches domes or abandoned Church of Ascension. Take some time to walk there, and you will be surprised by what you can find there.
Streets dedicated to the greatest poets or filmmakers, streets full of arts or surprisingly great views - these are the artistic and vivid streets of Vilnius. As Jonas Mekas once said “The deeper I went into the culture, the more confused I got. So, I needed something more real. I said: Okay, from now on, my country will be a cinema." So, explore this cinema, and maybe you will find a place that you have always been looking for.
Cover picture © Credits to iStock/encrier
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