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Bookending the Vilnius experience are the historical neighborhoods of Uzupis and Zverynas,. Uzupis is to the east of the historic old town, and nestled by the lesser of the two rivers that traverse the city, the Vilnele. Famous for its bohemian flavor and rebellious spirit, it is a self declared republic.
Bookending the Vilnius experience are the historical neighborhoods of Uzupis and Zverynas,. Uzupis is to the east of the historic old town, and nestled by the lesser of the two rivers that traverse the city, the Vilnele. Famous for its bohemian flavor and rebellious spirit, it is a self declared republic. It even has its own (decidedly tongue in cheek) constitution, which contains such jewels as “A cat is not obliged to love its owner, but must help in time of need,” and “Everyone has the right to understand nothing.” These days, most of the artistic activity in the “republic” is focused along the banks of the Vilnele. There you’ll find sculptures, and all manner of art, as well as quite a few performers. And suspended from the bridge over the river that is the focal point of it all is the Swing of Destiny, where you can have a swing and make a wish. A little further up the bank you’ll find the first of Uzupis’ two most famous sculptures, the Mermaid. Placed in a niche facing the famous Užupis Cafe, she welcomes visitors to the “republic”. Further up, in the main square, you’ll see the Angel of Užupis - the protector of this most unique corner of the city. Very much spiritual sisters, both of these sculptures were create by Užupis local, Romas Vilčiauskas, one of the bohemians that give this small pocket of quirkiness its singular spirit.Meanwhile, if you head on over to the west of the city centre, you’ll find, nestled on the banks of the Neris, the beautiful district of Zverynas. Now very much a prestigious neighborhood, it still retains a lot of the charm of Vilnius’ past. It’s the rows of quaint wooden houses, festooned with beautiful traditional folk stylings, in their bright and appealing colors, which most impress. Of equal note is the way that you’ll find these treasures of folk architecture right next door to imposing examples of 21st century minimalist design - making Zverynas a real neighborhood of contrasts.

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