On our first full day in Vilnius we hit the ground running. We managed to see the Gate of Dawn (which was just outside of our AirBnb), Cathedral Square (Vilnius Cathedral and Palace of the Dukes) Gediminas Tower (which provided great views of Old Town Vilnius and the New Town area), the National Museum of Lithuania, St. Anne's Church, Bernardus Park, and The Bastion. We also managed to walk through Užupis, which is a Bohemian, artsy area of Vilnius.
But before we get to all of that, we ate breakfast at Gusto Blynine, which was right outside of our AirBnb and specialized in pancakes and crepes. It was a really cute restaurant, take a look at the fun decor!
Walking right outside of our AirBnb was The Gate of Dawn. It was built between 1503 and 1522 as a part of defensive fortifications for the city of Vilnius, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Of ten city gates, only the Gate of Dawn remains, today. The Chapel in the Gate of Dawn contains an icon of The Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of Mercy, believed to have miraculous powers. For centuries the picture has been one of the symbols of the city and an object of veneration for both Roman Catholic and Orthodox inhabitants.
We took a stroll through Town Hall Square and made our way to Cathedral Square, where we went to Vilnius Cathedral, Gediminas' Tower, the National Museum of Lithuania, and the Palace of the Dukes. Cathedral Square was very cool and laid out quite well.
Vilnius Cathedral, the Cathedral Basilica of St Stanislaus and St Ladislaus of Vilnius, is the main Roman Catholic Cathedral of Lithuania. The coronations of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania took place within the church and many famous people from Lithuanian and Polish history are buried inside its crypts and catacombs.
From the Cathedral, we did a short hike up the hill next to the church to reach Gediminas' Tower. The Tower is the remaining part of the Upper Castle in Vilnius. The first wooden fortifications were built by Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania. The first brick castle was completed in 1409 by Grand Duke Vytautas. The three-floor tower was rebuilt in 1933 by Polish architect Jan Borowski. There are spectacular views of Old Town Vilnius and New Town Vilnius from the tower.
These are some views from the tower of Old Town and New Town which are separated by Neris River.
Next, we looped around to the National Museum of Lithuania. This was a fantastic museum and the docents were really friendly. There were some great displays and artifacts here. The museum also had great information on this history of the Lithuanian people.
Museum website: http://www.lnm.lt/en/
After the National Museum of Lithuania we stopped at a really cute bagel shop for a quick bite before walking to St. Anne's Church, which is a beautiful red brick church.
St. Anne's Church is a Roman Catholic church in Vilnius' Old Town, on the right bank of the Vilnia River established around 1495-1500.
St. Francis of Assisi (Bernardine) Roman Catholic Church is co-located next to St. Anne's Church. The Church of St. Francis and St. Bernard is a Roman Catholic church in the Old Town of Vilnius.
After touring Bernadine Church, we took a casual stroll through Bernadine Park, near the church.
We rounded out the day by strolling through Uzupis, the Bohemian part, of Vilnius and finding The Bastion.
The Bastion is part of the Vilnius Defensive Wall, often called “barbican”. It is a Renaissance-style fortification characterized by its original construction. It consists of a tower installed in the city defence wall, underground gun ports and a connecting corridor, which turns into a 48-metre long tunnel. The Bastion was built in the first half of the 17th century by the German military engineer, Friedrich Getkant.
Onto Vilnius Day 2...