April 1st is an important date for the Republic of Uzupis. In 1997, seriously determined people of Uzupis declared independence.
Uzupis is one of the oldest districts of Vilnius, which was first mentioned as early as in the 15th century. People who lived in Uzupis were mostly craftsmen and weavers. Uzupis, as well as the entire city of Vilnius, was a cosmopolitical area densely inhabited by people of various ethnicities, such as Lithuanians, Russians and Jews.
We have selected 5 interesting places for you to visit in Uzupis once the quarantine is over:
A wooden house with a unique architecture
Polocko st. 52
The house was built in 1876. This unique wooden building decorated with artistic carving has a very special architectural value that you cannot compare to any other wooden monumental house in Vilnius. During the interwar period, a number of people prominent in social and cultural fields have lived in the house. For example, artists Konstantin Markovskis and Jadvyga Minska, Sofija Bykova, a writer, Ferdinandas Ruschicas, a painter, and Janas Bulhakas, a photographer.
Since 2006 the building has been included in the Register of Cultural Heritage. Currently, the house is under restoration.
Bernardines – Tertiary monastery house
Malunu st. 3
The former Bernardine-Tretininkai monastery’s history is connected with the Bernardines Church which is located on the other side of the river Vilnia (Uzupis). It is the oldest women’s monastery in Vilnius.
The monastery was founded in 1495 by Petras Radvila’s wife Barbora and Ona, the wife of Aleknavicius, the voivode of Vilnius. The nuns did not have their own church to pray in, therefore they prayed on the other side of the river Vilnia in the Bernardines Church.
In 1692, the bridge to the gallery was built which made the route to the church easier for the nuns. The nuns had easy access directly to the second floor of the church annexe.
St. Bartholomew’s Church
Uzupio st. 17, +370 5 272 3340
This is one of the smallest churches in Vilnius, which is hidden in one of the cross streets of Uzupis. The very first wooden church was built here back in the 17th century.
During the Soviet era, sculptors’ workshops were held in the church. Today St. Bartholomew’s Church belongs to a small Belarusian Catholic community of Vilnius. The mass is being held in Belarusian and Polish languages. The church stands on a hill, from which there is a great view of the city of Vilnius below.
Kriviu st. 18
It is one of the highest hills in Vilnius. Unique name of the mountain comes from the Italian word “altano”, which means a terrace with the roof or a summerhouse. In 1933, the summerhouse was built by Melanija Dulska from Vilnius and her husband, who grew exotic plants there. The city council did not permit to build the summerhouse because they thought it will ruin the view of the park from the side of the Bernardine’s garden. However, the building was still built and some parts of it have stayed here till now.
The hill is located on the right-hand side of the river Vilnia, southeast from the Bekesas and the hill of the Three Crosses. There is a spectacular view of Vilnius from the hill. In order to get there without much climbing, you may go up the stairs next to Uzupis Gymnasium and go down the path.
Zvirgzdyno st. 3
Even though it looks like a cemetery is not the usual place to go for a walk, it is worth visiting the Bernardines Cemetery. This cemetery looks a lot like a park, that is why it was a popular place for walks in the 19th century. The cemetery was opened in 1810, and many well-known people such as painters Kanutas Ruseckas and Vytautas Kairiukstis, Professor Leonas Borovskis rest there. It is the second oldest cemetery in Vilnius.
The cemetery is unique for its distinctive style. Over the centuries, various styles and material symbols have interlaced there. The main buildings of the Bernardines cemetery have remained unchanged and they show that the Bernardines cemetery has many characteristics of classicism.
The main chapel of the Bernardines Cemetery also has features of classicism style, it divides the columbarium in the cemetery wall into two parts. One of them was restored at the end of the 20th century and it is the only building of such kind that has remained in Lithuania.
See you in Uzupis! 🙂