Top 10 Destinations in Lithuania
Once a part of the Soviet Union, this tiny Baltic state – Lithuania – reveals its treasures that have been hidden to many during the Cold War. Tourists can visit the numerous Baroque and Gothic designed structures and art museums while walking the streets that have been constructed since the middle ages.
Vilnius Art Museum
Art lovers would definitely have a great time exploring the Vilnius Museum, which currently holds the biggest art collection in Europe despite the country’s tiny size.
Saint Peter and Paul’s Church
Saint Peter and Paul’s church, which is located at the outskirts of Vilnius by the Neris River, features an elaborate Baroque design both in its interior and exterior that visitors will surely marvel. Many Vilnius couples choose Saint Peter and Paul’s church for their wedding because of its natural beauty and design. Vilnius built the church in commemoration of city’s release from Russian rule more than 300 years ago.
Palanga Amber Museum
The Palanga Amber Museum is located inside the Tiskeviciai Palace which is quite near the Baltic Sea. The Palanga Amber Museum boasts of 15 rooms filled almost 30,000 art collections including more than 4,000 amber collections. The amber contains various fossils which includes spiders and insects as well as various plant. One amber treasure in particular is the Sun Stone, which is the heaviest in the collection that weighs more than 3 kilograms. The coastline of the Baltic Sea is filled with amber that dates back to the prehistoric age. The Palanga Amber Museum also gives lectures on how Amber is formed and its contribution in jewelry making and the arts.
The Vilnius University is Northeastern Europe’s and the Baltic’s most prestigious and also the oldest center of learning. It was originally founded as Jesuit Academy in 1570 and had 160 students during its first school year.
St. Anne’s Church
St. Anne’s Church is one of Lithuania’s known landmark and has also been declared by UNESCO as part of the World’s Heritage. St. Anne’s Church got its name from Lituania’s Grand Duchess Anna. Tourists may not be aware that the St. Anne’s Church is actually a reconstruction that was built around 1500. However, the original was made of wood which was burned down in the year 1419. The current church is now made of stone and bricks.
The Lithuanians reconstructed the Ninth Fort prison as a museum and to serve as a grim memorial for the thousands who died during the Nazi occupation of World War II and subsequent occupation of the Soviet Union. It is estimated that more than 50,000 victims, including 30,000 Jews, were killed by the Nazis in the fort.
Curonian Spit or Kursiu Nerija National Park
The Curonian Spit is actually a sandbar that stretches almost a hundred kilometers that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the waters of the Baltic Sea. Visitors will find sand dunes that could reach up to 60 meters in height. The park is quite popular among the natives and German visitors because it has one of the best beaches in Europe. Numerous varieties of birds live in the area which prompted the government to declare it as protected park.
Lithuania suffered repression throughout its occupation by the Soviet Union. The KGB Museum, otherwise known as the Museum of Genocide Victims, is actually located in the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius. Visitors will get a chilling idea on how Lithuanians undergo interrogation and torture by the KGB.
The Gediminas Tower is the only remnant of the three castles that the Lithuanian capital used for its defense. A series of attacks led by the German Teutonic Order during the 14th and 15th century destroyed most of the structures. The tower is featured in the country’s currency. Visitors who reached the top can see the most of the Old Town down below.
Trakai Castle is situated in an island connected to the town via a causeway. It is located west of Vilnius and will take visitors 40 minutes by car. Both the castle and town features numerous sights to visit. The various nationalities that lived there such as Lithuanians, Jews and Russians as well as Poles clearly indicate the rich history of the area.