On August 23, 1989, two million people in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia decided to join the 600-kilometre Baltic Way, a chain of people that connected the three countries in their joint pursuit of freedom.
The Baltic Way was a response to the 50th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that caused the loss of independence for the three Baltic States. The pact allowed the Soviet Union to expand its sphere of influence in Central and Eastern Europe, and to occupy entire nations. During the 1980s, mass demonstrations against the Soviet occupation emerged in the Baltic States, gathering crowds of thousands in the three capitals of Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn. One of the results of these demonstrations was the Baltic Way.
The Baltic Way attracted the attention of the whole world, causing astonishment due to its massive scale and peaceful nature. Not only did it demonstrate the common struggle of the three states internationally, it also provided an impetus to democratic reform movements in other parts of the world. The strong sense of unity and common purpose between the three nations became an important political factor in the restoration of freedom and independence. A collection of documents attesting to the historical importance of the demonstration has been entered into UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.
Memorial signs commemorating the Baltic Way as it stretched across Lithuania via Vilnius, Širvintos, Ukmergė, Panevėžys and Pasvalys towards Latvia can still be found today.
- 1. Gediminas Castle Tower
Arsenalo 5, Vilnius
1. Gediminas Castle Tower
Next to Vilnius’ Cathedral Square Gediminas Castle Tower is the place where people gathered to join the living chain stretching from Vilnius to Tallinn.
The interactive installation created here allows everyone to become a part of this phenomenon, even if it’s just for a short moment. For some, it will revive memories, and for those who weren’t there, to feel the spirit that prevailed at the time and to hear the authentic songs of the time. All you need to do is hold hands, and become part of the installation.
Historical material reinforces experience, and helps convey the story of the event. Here you’ll find a map of the Baltic Way, photographs, a special documentary and a virtual story co-produced by museums from all three Baltic countries, featuring documentary and photographic testimonials that reflect the strength, confidence and the place in European history of the countries that fought for their independence.MORE INFORMATIONAuthor: Vilmantas BrikasAuthor: Kęstutis Stoškus
- 2. Footprint of Baltic Way participant
Katedros a., Vilnius
2. Footprint of Baltic Way participant
In Cathedral Square, you can stand on a paving tile dedicated specifically to the Baltic Way. Created by artist Gitenis Umbrasas, on it are the marks of footprints belonging to an unknown participant in the Baltic Way. Underneath is a memorial capsule with an email written for future generations. Such tiles have also been installed in Riga and Tallinn.MORE INFORMATION Author: Saulius ŽiūraAuthor: Saulius Žiūra
- 3. Freedom Way sculpture
intersection of Konstitucijos and Geležinio Vilko, Vilnius
3. Freedom Way sculpture
The symbol of the Baltic Way—the tricolour sculpture Freedom Way created by the sculptor Tadas Gutauskas—was created from more than 20,000 bricks embossed with the names of the participants who took part in the event. At 63 metres wide and 3.5 metres tall, each brick is painted in the three colours of the Lithuanian flag and embossed with the name of a person who supported the sculpture.MORE INFORMATION Author: Eglė BurbaitėAuthor: Saulius Žiūra
- 4. Signs along the road
Vilnius-Panevėžys and Panevėžys-Riga highways
4. Signs along the road
In order to commemorate the Baltic Way, the largest and most important campaign that took place in the Soviet Union in 1989 which expressed the aspirations of the Baltic States to regain their independence, it was decided at the beginning of 2020 to rename the sections of the A2 Vilnius–Panevėžys A10 Panevėžys–Pasvalys–Riga highways the Baltic Way.
Five memorial signs in the form of information stands dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Baltic Way were unveiled in the resting areas along the Vilnius–Panevėžys highway (32.1 kilometres and 80.1 kilometres on the left, and 38.5 kilometres, 55.6 kilometres and 99.9 kilometres on the right). Four more information stands were built on the Panevėžys–Pasvalys–Riga highway, which leads to the Lithuanian-Latvian border (19.5 kilometres and 62.9 kilometres on the left, and 27.8 kilometres and 47.5 kilometres on the right).MORE INFORMATION Author: Keliauk LietuvojeAuthor: Keliauk Lietuvoje
- 5. Aircraft carrying flowers
Lithuanian Aviation Museum, Veiverių g. 132, Kaunas
5. Aircraft carrying flowers
An AN-2 aircraft which has become one of the symbols of the Baltic Way and that greeted its participants with flowers, is kept in Kaunas. Today, its can be found at the Lithuanian Aviation Museum.
Before departing from Kaunas aerodrome, the plane was loaded with about one and a half tonnes of flowers brought by people and tied together in bouquets. Some of them came with postcards. Whilst it might seem like a lot of flowers, it was no more than a load taken from one of the three trucks holding flowers. It completely filled the fuselage of the aircraft however, and, according to Petras Bėta, who participated in the flight, ‘As the plane took off, there was no space left on the floor due to the load of flowers, so the passengers had to lay on the flowers themselves. Not only that, the door of the plane wouldn’t open properly, so the pilot, Vytautas Tamošiūnas, upon completing the flight permit formalities, boarded the plane via ... the ventilation pane...’MORE INFORMATION Author: Mindaugas KavaliauskasAuthor: Saulius Žiūra
- 6. Baltic Way Cross Valley
6. Baltic Way Cross Valley
This creation in a valley was inspired by the Baltic Way campaign, when representatives of several Lithuanian districts left various signs signifying their participation in the event. Eventually, the valley was filled with crosses dedicated to the memory of the events significant to the entire country.MORE INFORMATION Author: Gražvydas BalčiūnaitisAuthor: Gražvydas Balčiūnaitis
- 7. Signs along the Baltic Way
7. Signs along the Baltic Way
The district of Ukmergė is rich in signs commemorating the Baltic Way, mostly in the form of crosses built by residents from other districts who took part in the historical event, including Utena (57.4 kilometres), Švenčionys (61 kilometres), Ignalina (62.8 kilometres), Kalvarija (64.4 kilometres), Marijampolė (64.4 kilometres), Kazlų Rūda (64.4 kilometres), Vilkaviškis (67.5 kilometres), Šakiai (69.1 kilometres), Ukmergė (75.9 kilometres), Jurbarkas (78.2 kilometres), Raseiniai (80.9 kilometres), Kėdainiai (83.6 kilometres) and Jonava (90.1 kilometres).MORE INFORMATION Author: Ukmergės TICAuthor: Keliauk Lietuvoje
- 8. Photographs
Kupiškis Ethnographic Museum, Gedimino 2, Kupiškis
Photographs from the Baltic Way are stored in the archives of the Kupiškis Ethnographic Museum. They were taken on August 23, 1989 by the photographer Juozas Kraujūnas and can be seen by prior arrangement with the museum.MORE INFORMATION Author: Kupiškis Ethnographic MuseumAuthor: Kupiškis Ethnographic Museum
- 9. Baltic Way oak wood
next to the Iki supermarket at Smėlynės/Piniavos, Panevėžys
9. Baltic Way oak wood
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Baltic Way, the planting of a commemorative oak wood began in Panevėžys. In 2019, during the 30th anniversary commemorations, this beautiful tradition was continued, and some more oak trees were planted. This wood-like park with beautiful oak trees sits near the Baltic Way, which stretches across Panevėžys and connects Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
According to some people, representatives from the three Baltic countries secretly gathered in St. Peter and Paul’s Church in Panevėžys to discuss the original idea of organising the Baltic Way demonstration.MORE INFORMATION Author: Violeta MažeikienėAuthor: Kupiškio etnografijos muziejus
- 10. Baltic Way oak
Birutės g., Alytus
10. Baltic Way oak
Whilst commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact in Alytus in 2009, an event which meant the loss of independence for all three Baltic States, and the 20th anniversary of the Baltic Way, a Baltic Way oak was planted on Birutės Street.MORE INFORMATION Author: Alytaus TICAuthor: Alytaus TIC
- 11. White Angel
Pravieniškės, Kaišiadorys district
11. White Angel
In 2009, a monument entitled Guardian Angel by the artists Rūta Blaževičiūtė, Audronė Skarbaliūtė-Glinskienė and Deimantė Kuconytė was created and dedicated to the memory of the Lithuanian millennium and the 20th anniversary of the Baltic Way. Baltic Way commemorations take place near the monument every year.MORE INFORMATION Author: Giedrė StreikauskaitėAuthor: Giedrė Streikauskaitė
- 12. Radio receiver and other relics from the event
Biržai Sela Regional Museum, Radvilos 3, Biržai
12. Radio receiver and other relics from the event
Located inside Biržai Castle, the Biržai Sela Regional Museum contains an exposition dedicated to the Lithuanian independence revival movement, where among other things you can see the VEF-216 radio receiver that was used to coordinate the flow of participants in the Baltic Way demonstration. The exposition also holds a Lithuanian tricolour flag preserved by a group of people from Biržai who took part in the Baltic Way event, as well as the flags of the three Baltic nations, and various related photographs.
The museum’s archives house a ‘Baltic Way 23/08/1989’ remembrance medal, a special ‘1 litas. The Baltic Way is 10’ anniversary coin from 1999 and a rare ‘The Baltic Way: 1989–2004. Tallinn–Riga–Vilnius’ poster.MORE INFORMATION Author: Irmantas GelūnasAuthor: Biržų krašto muziejus
- 13. Baltic Way angel
Būda village, Trakai district
13. Baltic Way angel
Dozens of wooden angels landed on the so-called Hill of Angels on the occasion of the Lithuanian millennium. Among them is the Baltic Way Angel, or, more precisely, three angels who invite all nations to sit together on the bench of unity. In 2011, a wooden sculpture created by the Lithuanian sculptor Algimantas Sakalauskas and the Latvian twin brothers Aigars and Yvars Rūran can be found on the edge of the Hill of Angels, next to the angels of Lithuanian Unity and Revival.MORE INFORMATION Author: Trakų TICAuthor: Algimantas Sakalauskas
- 14. Monument on the border with Latvia
Saločiai eldership, Pasvalys
14. Monument on the border with Latvia
On August 23, 2014, the Speakers of the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian Parliaments gathered at the Lithuanian-Latvian border to solemnly unveil a monument dedicated to the Baltic Way. Using all three languages of the countries, the monument is called Baltijos Celias, Baltijas Ceļš, Balti Kett.MORE INFORMATION Author: Gražvydas BalčiūnaitisAuthor: Kupiškio etnografijos muziejus
Select the desired route object on the left and find out more.
This information has been prepared according to the material of the National Tourism Promotion Agency 'Travel in Lithuania', Lithuanian tourism information centres, the Lithuanian Aviation Museum, the National Museum of Lithuania, Kupiškis Ethnographic Museum, the Lithuanian Road Administration and the Lithuanian Central State Archive.