suffered a similar fate to Latvia, however the capital Vilnius was controlled
by Poland and most of their history was imposed on them from that end
of Europe. Russia played its part and imposed its building regulations
on the country but left much of the medieval buildings intact. Vilnius
claims to have the largest number of medieval buildings in Europe - many
have been renovated with modern materials. The "feel" of the
place is modern - many of the streets are wide boulevards which were created
by the Germans and Soviets by demolishing entire intermediate streets.
The transfer of population was not as dramatic as Latvia. The walking
tour was a little more interesting as a consequence and we felt that the
Lithuanians were a little more playful.
A group of artists went as far as setting up their own Republic on an island in the centre of Vilnius - all tongue-in-cheek but embraced by the locals. The Republic of Uzupis has its own constitution and National day - on the 1st of April, naturally. Their motto is "Don't fight, don't win, don't surrender". On National Day the borders are patrolled, passports stamped and visas checked. A Uzupis visa is a smile. It has even been known for the village pump to flow with free beer on this day.
We thoroughly endorsed the Constitution of Uzupis:
The food and beer was good in this lively city - the only downside was a graffiti problem. It was so bad that Vilnius' UNESCO world heritage status was under threat