The Republic of Lithuania is located in the northern part of Europe. It is famous for its mild climate, comfortable hotels and excellent cuisine. Those who like to soak up the sun can fully enjoy the beautiful beaches and gentle waves of the Baltic Sea, go surfing or find other water activities. Those who prefer city walks – at their service – the old city of Vilnius. Holidays in Lithuania will appeal to many travelers. In this small country, modernity and antiquity are closely intertwined. There you can see beautiful landscapes, castles, many cafes that serve national cuisine, temples and of course – Vilnius museums.
The city has one of the most beautiful castles in the country – the Radziwill Palace. This is a business card not only of the city, but also of the country. It is built in the style of the late Renaissance. Previously, in its place was a wooden palace, but it was damaged during the fires. In the mid-17th century, it was rebuilt by architect Jan Ulrich.
In 1807, the building was transferred to the Humanitarian Society. Since then, the building has been repaired many times, some parts have been completely destroyed, and new buildings have been built in their place. Today, the northern and eastern buildings and the pavilion have been preserved from the palace ensemble. In 1984, the architect Evaldas Zulonas prepared a project for the restoration of the western pavilion, according to which it was completely restored. In 1990, the building was restored, and after that, a unit of the Lithuanian Art Museum of the Radziwill Palace was placed there.
It stores unique paintings by artists from Germany, Austria, Russia, France, Holland, Poland. In addition, there is an exposition dedicated to the Radziwill family. It consists of patrimonial portraits and photographs, icons, archaeological finds. In one of the buildings the art of the peoples of East Asia is kept.
State Jewish Museum of Vilnius Gaon
The Republic of Lithuania is not rich in single ancient castles. Of great interest is the State Jewish Museum of Vilnius Gaon. It consists of three different organizations, united into one whole cultural space – the Litvak Cultural and Art Center (Jews living in Lithuania), the Tolerance Center and the Holocaust Exposition.
In 1913, its very first branch was opened. Relics of Jews, privileges granted to Jews by local princes, letters were kept there. When the First World War began, the organization was temporarily closed. Her work resumed in 1919, in a new building. The building was destroyed during the Second World War, and they began to rebuild it in 1949. Collections previously stored there were scattered around various institutions, and it was worth a lot of effort to assemble them again.
The institution fully resumed its work only in 1989. In addition to the valuables previously stored in the center, it stores materials, documents, photographs taken during the Holocaust, and miraculous evidence of surviving Jewish witnesses. Also, there is an exposition dedicated to the Jewish life of the late 19th, early 20th century.
National Museum of Lithuania
It belongs to the largest institutions where the cultural heritage of this country is collected. It was founded in 1855, on the initiative of Count Eustathius Tyszkiewicz – a zealous collector of antiquities and the study of antiquity. His efforts brought together unique collections. The institution is located near the Neris River, in the heart of the capital. After opening, this place became a cultural and scientific center.
The intelligentsia and the nobles gathered there, conducting educational and scientific activities. Their goal was the formation of historical identity, the establishment of cultural memory. The activity of the complex was interrupted several times. His full-fledged work was resumed only in 1952. Now, more than a million different exhibits are stored there that demonstrate the centuries-old development of the country and its cultural heritage.
There are departments devoted to numismatics, archeology from the Middle Ages to the present, iconography, and ethnic culture. It intertwines antiquity and new technologies. Systematically, the building hosts virtual thematic exhibitions dedicated to famous figures of the country or documentary photography. And you can get acquainted with the history and culture of the country by attending Thursday meetings held weekly.
Museum of Energy and Technology of Lithuania
It will appeal to everyone who loves history and technology. Its building is located opposite Gediminas Mountain, on the banks of the Viliya River. This place offers a magnificent view of the local landscape. For a long time, the building was abandoned, and only in 2003, the first exposition was opened here.
It was dedicated to the centenary of the opening of the first power station in the country. The exhibits presented in it tell about the history of electricity. Since then, the institution has replenished with new exhibits. For children, a special excursion to a real old power station is offered. They can become active participants in the process. Many parts of the station are replaced by mock-ups that create an imitation of a real workflow.
On one of the floors there is a collection of rare cars and motorcycles. There are models of almost a hundred years ago and instances of the 60-70s. In a separate exhibition hall, samples of items made in workshops from the Middle Ages and the Soviet period are exhibited. All exhibits are allowed to be touched, and for lovers of modern technology there is an interactive exhibition.
Church Heritage Museum
Initially, it was a monastery with a church, built by order of the Lithuanian hetman Sapega. The crypt of the temple was to be used as a family crypt. The best Lithuanian and Polish architects worked on the construction and decoration of the church. Under the monastery, Leo Sapega gave one of his palaces. The temple was rebuilt several times.
It has distinguishable features, both Gothic and Renaissance. Of interest is not only the building, but also the unique church items stored inside it. Church services ceased to rule in the last century. In 1970, a museum was opened inside, which presents real masterpieces of church art. Many objects are made by famous masters of Western Europe of the 18-19th centuries.
There are relics for storing relics, church utensils, pectoral crosses, gold and silver containers for holy water, precious portiers and salaries, icons. In the courtyard, you can see a large collection of bells. The altars of the church are made of alabaster and multi-colored marble. Each thing has its own, by and large, tragic story.
Initially, immediately after construction, the Lower Castle was part of the complex, including the Lower Castle, the Cathedral, the services of the palace, and utility rooms. The complex was built at the foot of Castle Hill. The construction of the castle began in the first half of the 14th century. And already in the middle of this century the palace became the residence of the Lithuanian prince.
In the 16th century, the Grand Palace was built, in which at one time the Lithuanian princes lived. It was built in the Renaissance style. The palace complex was significantly damaged during the war with the Moscow state, and with the expansion of the city, in the 18th century it was almost completely destroyed. The palace was recreated again only in 2002. Now, in the new castle is a museum where historical artifacts are stored. From the old complex, only the western tower remained.
At its base, a bell tower was erected with a height of 57 m with an observation deck for tourists. It offers magnificent views of local attractions and beautiful landscape. The institution was visited by leaders from 15 countries during its opening. Various events are often held there. It is noteworthy that in this palace, for the first time in Europe, the opera was performed.
Museum of Applied Arts
The building of the old Arsenal was built on the ruins of an old defensive complex of the 14th century. From it, at the time of the construction of a new building, from the old buildings there were only walls and a foundation. They were taken as a basis during the construction of the Arsenal. For two centuries, the building was used to store weapons and ammunition. After the reconstruction of the city, the building turned out to be on the central city street. They did not begin to demolish it, but called the best architects from Italy to rebuild.
So the warehouse turned into a real palace, which the Queen of Vilnius used as her residence. After the country was divided, part of it became part of the Russian Empire, they forgot about the Arsenal. The building was partially restored only in the 19th century. It was completely restored only in 1972. Now, there is a museum of applied art. In 1987, it hosted thematic exhibitions dedicated to Lithuanian applied and sacred art.
From time to time there are exhibits from Europe and the USA. At the moment, there you can see various old household items, furniture, jewelry, ballpoint notebooks, jewelry boxes, clothes. Collected artifacts were made in the period from 13 to 20 tbsp. A workshop has been preserved on the territory of the Arsenal, which everyone can visit.
Museum of Modern Art of the MO
The opening took place in 2018. And the building was erected a year earlier. A private institution was built instead of the cinema, which was here before. The institution is financed by businessmen Victor Butkus and Danguole. The planning of the building was carried out by the architect Daniel Libeskind. In total, the house has three floors.
On the ground floor there are lockers, a bookstore, a universal hall and a cafe. The second consists of several rooms – a small exhibition hall, administration rooms and a reading room. The top floor is occupied by a large exhibition hall. There is an open terrace on the roof of the building, and there is a square near the building itself. The institution often organizes exhibitions, cultural, artistic and educational events.
Employees of the MO are engaged in the implementation of various creative projects in the capital. Over 100 contemporary artists collaborate with the organization. Through the efforts of the MO, a guide to the sculptures of Vilnius was prepared. This is the only traveling museum that travels around the country’s schools. The institution belongs to the ten best museums of our time, which must be visited.
Lithuanian Museum of Theater, Music and Cinema
Located in one of the old Radziwill mansions. The building, in its time, has seen many luxurious balls, receptions arranged there. In its architecture traces of several styles have survived – Renaissance, Baroque, Classicism. The first Lithuanian private theater, which belonged to local tycoons, found refuge here. For a while, the palace was empty, and then it was divided into apartments and rented out. After the end of World War II, there was a back room of the capital’s theater. The Radzivils mansion was completely restored only in 1996.
Now, in this magnificent mansion is a museum of theater, music and cinematography. It contains unique artifacts that shed light on the development of cinema in the country. The exhibits were kept in wartime in the former capital of Lithuania – Kaunas. Some of these artifacts were reassembled, but some were lost forever. The exposition consists of four parts. This unique collection has tickets, scenery layouts, costumes, posters, play scripts. Of great interest is the collection of old dolls, collected from all over the country, through the efforts of enthusiasts. Here you can collection of paintings and even old musical instruments.
Lithuanian Railway Museum
Each country has its own history of the development of railways. The idea to create a place that will acquaint visitors with the life of railroad workers appeared in 1966. Then the museum was opened. A large photo archive was collected in it, demonstrating the everyday life of the railway employees of that time, layouts. Institution, in 2010 it was closed for reconstruction. Now, the exposition occupies a space of 800 sq.m. It was divided into three separate zones.
In the first, various events are held, train models are demonstrated. For visitors with children organized a children’s corner. In the open air there is another exposure covering an area of about 1 hectare. There are models of steam locomotives, electric locomotives, diesel locomotives, maintenance equipment. Here you can see the first Soviet train “Sergo Ordzhonikidze”. Such was the first model of a special train that arrived in the post-war time in Germany (1945).
Here you can see the first German locomotives of the TE-52 series. In these locomotives everything was thought out to the smallest detail. Near the exhibits there is a retro display, which was used in the old days to notify the arrival or departure of trains. This line is rarely used. The last time it was opened in 2017 for commercial purposes – a fashion show and a design exhibition.
Museum of Genocide Victims
In wartime, crimes against individual nations were common. After several decades, evidence of this by the miracle of eyewitnesses surviving in those days, archives of photographs, documents still remind of this. The walls of the building managed to see many terrible crimes. The building was built in the 19th century. for the court of justice.
Then, there was a recruiting station. A few years later, the Bolshevik prison of the revolutionary tribunal was located within these walls. Owners changed only in 1920. The building, after the division of Lithuania, went to the courts of the Polish government. In 1940, this house belonged to the NKVD, and in wartime it was occupied by the GESTAPO. After the war, for a long time, the building was occupied by the KGB. Such a long history made this building the most sinister in the history of this country.
Genocide displays are located in the basement. Many exhibits tell the history of the country at different time periods. On the second floor, the exhibits acquaint visitors with the period of the deportation of Lithuanians in 43-55, the activities of the KGB, and civil resistance. Here you can see samples of listening equipment. Nearby is the premises that the KGB used as a prison.
It was founded in 1933 and consists of several branches. It exhibits many cultural and historical values. There you can see the work of both Lithuanian and foreign masters. The institution includes a branch of applied art, the Gallery of the artist Pranas Domšaitis, watch museums and miniature arts.
The first branch exhibits such exhibits: tombs and crayfish made by goldsmiths, woven belts, clothes with embroidery, tapestries, porcelain from Sevre, Vienna, Meissen, amber items, metal objects, furniture, Czech glass. The gallery fund is constantly updated with new collections of local and foreign artists of Lithuanian origin. In addition to paintings, there are exhibits introducing visitors to the development of graphics, sculpture, and painting in the country.
The room contains parts of the interior of the palace. The next branch presents a collection of watches manufactured at different times (from the 16th to the 20th century). A fragment of the park, which was here in the 19th century, is located near the institution. In the branch of miniature arts you can see fans of antiquity, bead embroidery, wallets, elegant boxes. Nearby is the gallery of Pranas Domšaitis. It exhibited the work of artists, sculptors, graphic artists from Western Europe, more than 500 works of Pranas Domsaitis himself.
House of Signatories
House of Signatories in 1917-1918 belonged to the Council of Lithuania. It was there that the historical document on the restoration of independence of Lithuania was signed. Signatures that became diplomats are stored there. The exposition is in a separate room. The items stored there acquaint visitors with the beginning of the national revival in the 20th century. and the formation of statehood.
In 1795, most of the country went to the Russian Empire. There was no longer a country like Lithuania on world maps. The country gained independence only during the occupation of territory by Kaiser Germany. The central and most important exhibit is historical material, demonstrating the long way of Lithuanians to independence.
The building is now attributed to the architectural and cultural monuments of the state. It was built in 1645. The owners of the house were constantly changing, and the building was being renovated. At first, the house consisted of two floors, but after the fires, during its restoration, another floor was completed. In the 19th century, after restoration, in the exterior of the house, the Neo-Renaissance style began to be seen. The house is of great architectural value. On the main facade you can see beautiful sculptures in niches, busts of men.
The expositions of the institution include many exhibits obtained by archaeologists, private collections of collectors and visitors donated. In this place, both children and adult visitors will find a lot of interesting and informative for themselves. Of great interest are toys of the Stone Age and the Middle Ages. They were found by archaeologists during excavations.
Children can touch quality copies of these items. There are different models of dolls, balls, board games of nobles. The exhibition has a section that introduces visitors to children’s toys and games of the 14-18th century, found in the country. Near most exhibits there are fragments of paintings by famous artists, which depict a toy in action. The funs found in Lithuania can be seen in the works of Jan Vann Eyck, Bosch, Peter Bruegel.
In addition to old exhibits, there are samples of modern, high-tech fun. There are collections of soldiers, dolls, gaming machines of the 70-80s. In a separate room (workshop), events are often held where employees of the institution introduce everyone to the history of wax, the first toys. All this is accompanied by a master class.
Art Museum of Vytautas Kasiulis
Vytautas Kasiulis is a well-known artist in Lithuania. His works are known far beyond the borders of the country. They adorn the galleries of the best museums in the world. Many critics consider him one of the best representatives of modern art belonging to the French school of painting. Over the entire life period, Kasyulis painted about 1,500 oil paintings, 50 lithographs, completed 950 works with pastel and 200 with gouache. All works are of great value to the entire world community.
The gallery has 950 paintings by the artist. All of them are written in a different period, which is displayed in a variety of colors, the nature of the plots. The peculiarity of the paintings is the brightness of the colors. They have everything – a riot of colors, interesting storylines, both real and absolutely fantastic. The institution has collected works from different periods of Kasyulis’s life.
In addition to paintings, the artist’s personal belongings are transferred here, transferred to the fund of his widow. It is located in a historical place – a palace of the neoclassicism period, built at the beginning of the 20th century. In addition to the gallery, the palace has a library, archive and meeting rooms for members of society. In 2012, the building was reconstructed with funds from the European Regional Development Fund.
Bank of Lithuania Money Museum
The exposition belongs to the Lithuanian state bank. The exhibits are located in five rooms, on two floors. The exhibits exhibited there tell the story of the origin of the money of this country. There are means of payment that were used to pay for goods when money had not yet been invented. Such products include sable skins, pieces of silver and bronze.
Each of the collections shows how money evolved, from the time when it was not, ending with modern means of payment. Several rare coins of great value to numismatists are stored here. The most valuable exhibit is 10 gold ducats.
They were minted back in the days of the great Lithuanian prince Sigismund Vasa. The coin was previously in a private collection, and was purchased by the bank for 134 thousand euros. In addition to coins, there are many interesting copies of paper bills – 1 thousand trillion Zimbabwean dollars, household items decorated with coins, treasures found in the country, machines for counting bills of different periods of issue, documents telling about the establishment of banking.
It is difficult to find a better place than Castle Hill for the construction of a defensive complex. The mountain is surrounded by rivers on all sides. The first settlements on its territory appeared in the Neolithic period. Then, around the 11th-13th centuries, the first defensive structures were erected here and a wooden castle was built. A little later, the Upper Castle was erected in its place.
When the Gediminas dynasty came to power, the Upper Castle became the main political center of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The defensive complex included Krivoy, Lower and Upper castles. He repeatedly repelled the attacks of the Teutonic Order. In 1419 the castle was destroyed by fire. It was restored, but instead of wood, stone and brick were already used for construction. To date, only the West Tower has remained of the complex of structures.
The building is considered a valuable heritage of the country. Gothic style prevails in architecture. The tower rises 142 m above sea level. It has the shape of an octagon, and consists of three floors. On the premises of the tower is a museum. In it you can see models of Vilnius castles, archaeological finds, knightly armor, weapons. In the territory where the tower is located, there is still a preserved part of the walls of the Upper Castle.
Vilnius University Museum of Science
Vilnius University has a very long history. Its founder was the Polish king Stefan Batory, in the 16th century. In the Republic of Lithuania, it is one of the main higher education institutions in the country. It is not only of historical value. The university is part of the architectural ensemble, which is located on the territory of the old city.
The institution consists of 13 buildings and 13 courtyards. It is noteworthy that during visits by the heads of foreign states to this country, the university is an obligatory place for visiting by the delegation. On the territory of the institution there is a church, several museums, which display expositions of paintings, sculptures, numismatics, rare books on philosophy, ancient editions of the Bible. The buildings were erected at different times, and this was reflected in their appearance. There you can see Gothic, Baroque style.
In the Gothic style, the church of St. Ioanov – Baptist and Evangelist, included in the architectural ensemble of the university. Then, after restoration, in a later period he acquired all the signs of Baroque. This is especially pronounced in the chapel of St. Anna, which currently houses the science museum. It contains many valuable samples, and the interior is striking in grace and luxury.
Literary Museum of A.S. Pushkin
The great poet never visited this country, and despite this fact, there are more than enough reasons for opening the complex. The institution is located in the former mansion of General Melnikov, who became famous in the wars of the early 19th century. This estate was inherited by the daughter of the general, who, after the collapse of her previous marriage, moved to live in St. Petersburg.
There, a woman met with the poet’s younger son, and soon the couple got married. After marriage, the newly-married couple spent some time in Markuchai, then settled in the family estate Mikhailovskoye. They lived there a little more than 5 years. In 1899, the estate was sold to the treasury of the Academy of Sciences. So, the couple again ended up in Markuchai. The son of the great poet, Grigory Alexandrovich, devoted the rest of his life to the study of the inheritance inherited from his father.
At his disposal were transferred personal belongings of the poet, manuscripts, family heirlooms, and even drawings. After the death of Grigory Alexandrovich, his widow began to arrange poetry evenings in the house, was engaged in educational activities. Before her death, the mistress bequeathed her estate to the Vilnius authorities. After her death, in 1940 the literary museum of A.S. Pushkin. It has three different expositions – one is dedicated to the life of the poet, the second consists of his personal belongings, and the third includes drawings.
Museum of Illusions
This is a place to have fun. The rooms occupy about 400 sq. M. There is a fun and good-natured atmosphere created by the staff of the institution. There are several different programs – for children of different age categories, adolescents and adults. The permanent exhibition is represented by a number of scientific inventions, physics, optics.
You can see mysterious works of art and various kinds of puzzles. Thanks to interactive technologies, you can paint with light, create shadows and turn familiar things upside down. The visitors are presented with an original collection of ridiculous and unnecessary things, called “Absurdity.” They appeared almost simultaneously with useful things and objects. The second collection of an interactive exhibition immerses everyone in a world where inventions are shown, without which it is impossible to imagine the life of a modern person.
During excursions it is allowed to take pictures, and guides will tell stories about a particular subject, art. Annually, new exhibits replenish collections. A friendly team is working on new artistic solutions, engaged in research of the world of science and art. In the institution, each visitor will find something interesting and informative for himself, and modern technology will help in this process.
The Baltic Sea gave the country a unique treasure – amber. This transparent, sun-colored stone has been valued for centuries. There is evidence that he was delivered by sea to the court of the Roman emperors. The building is a small-sized house that was built around the 17th century. At first, it was the mansion of a wealthy Lithuanian merchant.
When the Baroque style came into fashion, the house was slightly rebuilt. The facade has preserved Gothic elements, although it has more baroque details. The guides at the institution introduce visitors to interesting legends of this region, tales related to amber, and funny stories. The largest stone that has been found in the country weighs almost 4 kg. There are stones with various inclusions – a prehistoric mosquito, various flies, a grasshopper’s foot.
Another collection consists of rare colored stones. There are more than 500 stones found by archaeologists during excavations. In addition to amber, the vaults of the basement, with ancient masonry and a medieval oven, designed for firing ceramic tiles, are of value. On the top floor there is a shop selling natural amber souvenirs. Each product is provided with a quality certificate that protects it from fakes.
Adam Mickiewicz Museum
Included in the architectural complex of Vilnius University. It is a unique architectural monument of the 17-18 centuries. Initially, it was a merchant’s house. In the 19th century, Zhitsky became the owner of the building. At that time, Adam Mickiewicz lived in an apartment on the ground floor. It was here that the great poet worked on the famous poem Grazhina. This house also housed the Society of Friends of Science, and in 1911, one of its members bought the building. The mansion was restored, and a museum was organized in the rooms where Miscavige lived.
In the late 30s of the 20th century, the building was transferred to the ownership of the Department of Classical Philology of Stephen Batory University. The complex worked until the outbreak of World War II. When the occupation began, part of the exhibits was irretrievably lost. In 1955, Miscavige’s memorial apartment was restored and opened to visitors. The opening was timed to the centenary of the death of the poet. The exposition consists of some of Mitskevich’s personal belongings, the chair on which he liked to sit, a table and about 200 other exhibits — manuscripts, medals, lifetime editions of his works, letters of philomats, sculptures and portraits.
Samuel Buck Museum
Samuel Buck was born in 1933 in Vilnius. Artistic talent began to manifest in him from early childhood. His very first works saw the light in the Vilnius ghetto when he was only 9 years old. After the execution of his father, the boy and his mother found refuge in the Benedictine monastery. In this they were helped by one of the nuns – Maria Mikulskaya.
In 1944, the Soviets freed the Jews in the camps. After which, Samuel and his mother, along with other Jews, left the Soviet Union. Until 1948, they were in Germany, in camps for the displaced. During this period, the painting “Mother and Son” was painted. In Munich, he had the opportunity to study painting. A little later, the family was repatriated to Israel, where the young artist graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Arts.
The Samuel Buck Museum is the only place that is completely dedicated to the work of this great contemporary artist. The exhibition of works was opened in 2017. The artist himself, who currently lives in the United States, also arrived at this event. The complex was transferred 54 works. After the gallery opened, Buck held a painting workshop. In the near future it is planned to create another space for expositions.
Vilnius picture gallery
A collection of works covering a period of more than 450 years will surprise visitors. The gallery is located in the old estate of the Khodkevich family – one of the oldest aristocratic clans in Europe. Among the family members there were many military leaders, cultural figures, diplomats, scientists.
Their estates and palaces could be found in many European countries. Vilnius residence was considered the most beautiful, in architectural terms. It was built in the style of late classicism. Today, an art gallery is located within the walls of the residence. The exhibits were paintings by Lithuanian artists. The exposition occupies four floors of the palace. In many rooms the stucco molding adorning the ceilings, expensive art parquet, famous masters, and a tiled stove were preserved intact. All paintings exhibited in the halls are divided into themes.
Separately exhibited portraits of aristocrats, in a separate room are landscapes and genre painting. Many masterpieces of Lithuanian painting were scattered in private collections of local nobles, and only recently they were able to collect and place them in a gallery. Many of the paintings belong to the masters who studied painting in Germany, Italy, performed church orders.
Artillery Bastion of the City Defensive Wall
The artillery bastion was built by the Lithuanian prince Alexander, after numerous requests from citizens. In 1506, the construction of the wall was completely completed. The need for construction was dictated by a large number of external enemies and the threat of invasion.
In the 17th century, the wall was reinforced with a bastei, which was a brick and ground fortification. In fact, it was a fortification consisting of an observation tower, artillery unit and tunnels. During the war with the Principality of Moscow, the bastion was badly destroyed. In the 19th century, it was covered with earth, and the area around it was turned into a city dump. The artillery bastion was rebuilt by the Germans during the First World War.
The arches were strengthened, the floor was concreted, ventilation was made. When the Second World War began, the structure served as a bomb shelter and an armory. The walls were completely reconstructed and rebuilt in 1965-1970. An exposition of weapons and parts of fortifications were placed on the premises of the bastion. There are exhibits from ancient times to the 18th century. The complex now consists of an original tower built in the 16th century, a wall, rooms for guns and a corridor connecting the buildings to each other.