Lithuania now enjoys its 100 years of independence, when on February 16, 1918 it shook off more than a century of tsarist rule, it was reoccupied at the end of the second world war to regain its freedom only in 1990.
It therefore seems an opportune time to examine what this Baltic nation has to offer travellers.
Lithuania’s capital Vilnius regularly ranks among the cheapest cities in Europe. Spend time wandering the wonderful cobbled streets of the largest medieval old town in Central and Eastern Europe. Immerse yourself in an architectural heritage that blends elements of Baroque, Renaissance and Russian Gothic and join the young locals in party mode all night.
Experience this unique place in an unforgettable way. Unesco World Heritage Site, it houses the highest sand dunes in Europe, with an average height of 35 meters and others that extend for 60 meters. Huge expanses of pine trees cover this strip of sand dunes – a rare natural wonder, preserved in an almost perfect state by the former Soviet rulers of the region, who forbade any foreigner to set foot on it.
The other sites protected by UNESCO are the evocative historical center of Vilnius; the archaeological site of Kernavė, which boasts a testimony of about 10,000 years of human settlements; and the Struve Geodetic Arc, a marker chain linking 10 countries across Europe.
His university is equally impressive. It is one of the oldest institutions in Northern Europe, founded in 1579. Another surprising fact given its modern dimension, but Lithuania, as the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, was the largest nation in Europe, part of present-day Belarus, Ukraine, Poland and Russia.
Another important visit not to be missed, its National Art Museum is quite special. It is a block complex of striking modern architecture, full of equally modern works by Lithuanian artists. It is in Vilnius, of course, that it houses one of the most improbable statues in Europe
A figure of the legendary guitarist and musician of the seventies, Frank Zappa, to be precise. This self-taught and shining American has always been seen in Lithuania as a figure of freedom – and his bust was inaugurated in 1995 as “a symbol that would mark the end of communism”. The bust lies on the residential street of K. Kalinausko Gatve.