The World Heritage site – the district of Užupis warranted a page of its own on my website. It is a self delcared republic that does not take itself too seriously and is located a little east of the Old Town. Many of the Jewish residents were killed by the Nazis and in the post war years the area was left to decay. Nowadays it has a unique arty and Bohemian feel to it.
The best way to enter is by the Užupis Bridge adorned with lover’s padlocks over the the River Vilnelė [Vilnia] next to the Orthodox Cathedral of the Blessed Mother of God.
Don’t forget to look for the bronze mermaid by the bridge and be wary as it is said if you fall for her charms you are destined to stay in Užupis forever! If you look under the bridge you will see Destiny’s Swing, but you might get wet giving it a try.
You can get your passport stamped at the border control which is on the right hand side over the bridge.
The residents of the area declared the district an independant republic on April 1st 1997. They now have their own flag, currency and National Anthem. They also have their own constitution consisting of 41 articles which you can see etched in several languages onto metal plaques on a wall in Paupio Lane.
It’s a wonderful place to wander around, there are interesting shops, boutiques and cafes as well as some weird and wonderful statues and attractive buildings. The Angel of Užupis is impressive, the bronze pig next to the angel and the The Užupis Cat which is just beyond Uzupio Skeveras Playground are perhaps less so but they sum up the district – purrfectly.
Užupis is also home to the old Bernadine Cemetery, founded in 1810. The Pocket Guide to Vilnius states that Geleda Dzerzhinskaja, the mother of the founder of the KGB is buried here but despite scouring the gravestones Leashia and I could not find her final resting place.