If you’re looking for a literary tour of Vilnius, Lithuania, you’re in for a treat! Vilnius has a rich literary history, with numerous famous authors, poets, and intellectuals associated with the city. Here’s a recommended literary tour itinerary to explore some of the literary landmarks and inspirations in Vilnius.
Why is Vilnius famous for its literary culture?
Vilnius was designated as a UNESCO City of Literature in 2015, making it part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. The designation recognises the city’s rich literary heritage, vibrant contemporary literary scene, and its efforts to promote literature and foster cultural exchange.
The city has a long and storied literary tradition. It has been home to numerous prominent Lithuanian writers and intellectuals, and it has played a significant role in the development of Lithuanian literature. The city’s literary history dates back to the 14th century, with notable figures such as Kristijonas Donelaitis, who is considered the father of Lithuanian literature.
As a UNESCO City of Literature, Vilnius participates in various initiatives to promote literature, encourage reading, and support writers. It organizes literary events, festivals, workshops, and initiatives that bring together local and international writers, translators, and literary professionals. Vilnius also fosters literary education and collaboration with other UNESCO Cities of Literature worldwide.
The UNESCO City of Literature designation is a testament to Vilnius’ commitment to nurturing its literary heritage, promoting cultural exchange through literature, and stimulating the creation and dissemination of literature within the city and beyond.
Here are some of the best literary spots in Vilnius:
- 📚 Museum of Genocide Victims. Start your tour at the Museum of Genocide Victims (Aukų g. 2a). While not specifically literary, this museum provides valuable insight into Lithuania’s tumultuous history and the experiences of its people, which have often influenced literary works. Gain a deeper understanding of the country’s past and its impact on literature. This is not a wheelchair accessible venue.
- 📚 Vilnius University Library. Next head to the Vilnius University Library (Universiteto g. 3). This historic library houses a vast collection of books, including many rare and valuable literary works. Explore the library’s halls and soak in the atmosphere of knowledge and creativity. This is not a wheelchair accessible venue.
- 📚 Church of St. Johns. Church of Saint Johns was a centre of spiritual public, and academic life in Vilnius. Hence there are a number of panegyrics featured – literary expression of praise – which often took a significant part in the theses. It is within the university campus.
- 📚 Literatų Street. Make your way to Literatų Street (Literatų g.). This charming street is known as the “Street of Books,” and it’s lined with quaint bookstores, cozy cafes, and artistic installations. Take your time strolling along the street, browsing through bookshelves, and perhaps finding a hidden gem to add to your own collection.
- 📚 Užupis district. Explore the Užupis district, often referred to as the “Republic of Užupis.” This bohemian neighbourhood is known for its artistic atmosphere and is home to numerous writers, artists, and musicians. Walk across the Užupis Bridge adorned with artistic installations and visit the Užupis Constitution, a playful document emphasizing creativity and freedom. The republic was established in 1998.
- 📚 Keistoteka. Homey independent bookstore of new and old books, artist works and pretty things. Based in the heart of Užupis. There’s also Eureka, which reportedly has one of the best selections of new books in English in the entire country in the form of one large shelf of fiction and two smaller ones of non-fiction.
- 📚 Bernardine Cemetery. Visit the Bernardine Cemetery (Bernardinų sodas) located at the end of Literatų Street. This cemetery is the final resting place of many renowned Lithuanian writers, poets, and intellectuals. Look for the graves of prominent figures such as Salomėja Nėris, Juliusz Słowacki, and Bernardas Brazdžionis.
- 📚 Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania has been actively running in Vilnius for more than 100 years, and the International Vilnius Book Fair, the largest book fair in the Baltic States, will be held for the 24th time in 2024.
Remember to check the opening hours, accessibility and availability of any specific locations or museums you plan to visit, as they may vary. Enjoy your literary tour of Vilnius!
Don’t forget to check out…
We travelled to Paris for an amazing literary tour, from Pere La Chaise to Cemetery to the American Library. Not to mention check out the Brussels literary tour, where we visited Bronte, Bozar, as well as the Boutique Tintin.
With this in mind, remember to check out The Beautiful Book Company subscription review. Furthermore, get 10% off with the code: SUSWATIBASU. Moreover, the subscription allows you to get one handpicked book of your choice by literary specialists.