100 years of statehood is a very special celebration. If you happen to be in town on the exact day of this event – 16 February – here are five things you can do:
Start your trip at the Gates of Dawn – Vilnius’ only surviving city gate. As you make your way down Aušros Vartų Street, don’t miss the building of the Lithuanian Philharmonic (Aušros Vartų St. 5). This is where the idea of Lithuanian independence was first proposed in 1905 at the Great Seimas of Vilnius. Then, head down Pilies Street to house number 26 – the very place where the Act of Independence of Lithuania was signed in 1918.
The 100th birthday of a country also calls for a little fun. During the days of 9-18 February, the streets of old Vilnius will be decked out to look much like they did a century ago. You can join one of the free guided tours or visit them on your own – be sure to pop into an Old Town cafe to see if they’re serving some early 20th century specials.
It’s a tradition that on 16 February, anyone in town can attend a free concert at Cathedral Square. The list of performers hasn’t been announced yet, but you certainly won’t regret dropping by just because of the festive atmosphere: lots of Lithuanian flags waving and some of the best local singers on stage.
There’s really no better time than winter to feast on some traditional Lithuanian dishes, which are known to be heavy and filling. For something simple, try Forto Dvaras or Bernelių Užeiga. And if you’d like to tickle your taste buds – make a reservation at Sweet Root or Ertlio Namas.
Every year, bonfires are lit on Gediminas Avenue to mark the Day of Restoration of the State of Lithuania. For the Centennial, their number will be 100 – well over the usual and a sight that’s not to be missed.