As the political centre of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the 13th to the end of the 18th century, Vilnius has had a profound influence on the cultural and architectural development of much of eastern Europe. The historic centre includes buildings in the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical styles which have been well preserved over time. It is also home to one of the greatest love stories in Baltic history.
At the height of its power in the 15th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest country in Europe. Appropriately, its capital of Vilnius became a city of grandeur and harmony. The architecture of the historic centre left the deepest and most impressive mark as the city flourished during the peaceful period of the late 17th and 18th centuries.
Vilnius is an excellent example of a European city that grew with influences from multiple cultures, religions, and languages—and has been well preserved. In turn, it also influenced the cultural and architectural development of much of Eastern Europe.
For visitors and locals alike, one of the most important vehicles for discovery here—and throughout the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth—is the royal love story between the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, Žygimantas Augustas, and Barbora.
The Old Town of Vilnius follows the medieval layout and it’s easy to walk the streets and see the stunning collection of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical buildings. Up on a grassy hill near the river, visit Gediminas tower- a reminder of the first castle built here in the 15th century. On the ground below are royal palace buildings and the cathedral where Lithuania’s beloved Grand Duchess Barbara Radziwill was buried. If you are looking to visit Vilnius’ more alternative side, you can take a tour through the self-proclaimed ‘Republic’ of Užupis – the city’s Bohemian and artistic district. In the warmer months , festivals, music, art and theatre fill the streets, theatres and galleries of Vilnius.