You don’t have to be young to be young. Even though Vilnius is turning 700, it is still young at heart and soul. The people of Vilnius live against a backdrop of rich history and architecture – the city’s distinctive face, heart and pulse. Vilnius is full of youthful energy that prompts action, inspires change, leads forward, and encourages limitless ideas.
January 2023 will be a special month. On the morning of 25 January, Vilnius will wake up 700 years old. The events that take place in January will therefore be like the icing on the cake, and the Vilnius Light Festival will be like the candles on that cake, compliments of Lithuanian and foreign light artists. This is a gift for everyone – the most unexpected places in Vilnius will shine anew, and interactive installations will allow you to create unique compositions yourself. But the gifts won’t end with the light installations; Vilnius will be inviting you to other impressive birthday events and surprises as well.More information
The feast day of St. Christopher, the patron saint of Vilnius, also needs to be celebrated. After all, he’s the one who protects Vilnius from adversity and keeps it on the right path. The free music performances at Vingis Park will delight you all day long. Classical and popular contemporary music, well-known performers, special audio-visual solutions and a summery mood promises fun for everyone! Vilnius will resound louder than the howl of the Iron Wolf in Grand Duke Gediminas’s dream throughout the festival. Long live Vilnius’ birthday!More information
Capture Vilnius as you see it. Whether you’re watching the sun set over the city, having a coffee on a tiny street in the Old Town, splashing around in a fountain, or attending an event, be sure not to miss memorable moments and share them with others on the Once in Vilnius platform.
Become part of the Loftas Art Factory’s project and show Vilnius to the world through your own eyes. The images you capture might even be included in Once in a City Called Vilnius, a full-length film that will be released at the end of 2023. Or create a unique short film using the moments of all the project participants you liked most. The project will prove once again that Vilnius has thousands of faces, and everyone sees it differently.
Project partner – Loftas Art FactoryMore information
Experience Vilnius through the prism of Ricardas Gavelis’ iconic novel, Vilnius Poker. This book, penned during the collapse of the Soviet system and inspired by the thoughts of a free man, is one of the first Lithuanian novels to examine the city and its dwellers. Now, director Oskaras Koršunovas and scenographer Gintaras Makarevičius will invite MO Museum visitors to explore a familiar or undiscovered Vilnius by wandering around a city-labyrinth constructed by text, images and sound.
Works of visual art reflecting one of the most famous Lithuanian novels will ask us what kind of character Vilnius is today, and how we envision it to be in the future. However, the exhibition makes no promises of offering one correct answer, because it doesn’t exist. Your version is part of the Vilnius puzzle.
Project partner – MO Museum.More information
For Vilnius’ 700th anniversary, a new exhibition space will be opened in the capital – the Vilnius 200 Years Ago Pavilion. Here, visitors will have a chance to get acquainted with the people of 19th-century Vilnius and their city. At the heart of the exhibition is a model of the city created using unique archival material, showing the totality of the city as a living organism.
The pavilion will serve as a unique meeting place, and inclusive activities will allow visitors to experience the Vilnius of 200 years ago and strengthen their connection to this contemporary city. Embark on a journey through Vilnius as it was then and discover the many places, buildings and streets that have since been lost, as well as your favourite contemporary places. Would you choose to live in Vilnius at that time?
Project partner – National Museum of LithuaniaMore information
What does Vilnius sound like? It probably depends on where you are. Close your eyes and listen – it may be church bells, a rippling river, leaves rustling in the wind, laughter, or the honking of car horns. Seven world-famous composers will do just that: they’ll come to Vilnius, choose a place they like in the city, and create a 5 to 10-minute composition for it. The seven pieces will be presented to Vilnius in different spaces, but the compositions will not only be heard at the presentation concerts.
Modern technologies will help spread the sounds of Vilnius all over the world, and if you’re in Vilnius, you’ll be able to set out on a route to the different places. These Music for Vilnius compositions are like short-term sculptures of modern Vilnius.
Project partner – Art Gene Cultural Innovation Agency and LENsemble Vilnius.More information
To mark the city’s 700th anniversary, celebrations will be taking place all over Vilnius, and not only on its official birthday. In July-August 2023, the historical and new parts of the city, parks, streets and enclosed spaces will be filled with temporary but unique works of art – performances making up the first Vilnius International Biennial. See international stars as well as Lithuanian works that are making the country famous worldwide.
During the first biennial, creators will examine Vilnius’ historical and modern achievements, as well as its most important dates, events, places and people. The Vilnius Performance Art Biennial’s long-term gift to the city is that the festival will take place every two years and become a permanent part of the city’s array of cultural traditions.
Project partner – Meno Niša Art GalleryMore information
Vilnius is constantly changing, but the city’s DNA remains the same. Ricardas Gavelis’ novel Vilnius Poker is a timeless ode to Vilnius that still hasn’t lost its relevance now, more than three decades later. For the capital’s anniversary, Vilnius Poker is coming back to life on the big screen and in exhibition and concert halls. Film director Donatas Ulvydas has taken on the impressive feat of giving the legendary work of literature a visual body.
Project partners – UAB ,,Ulvyds”, VšĮ ,,Vilnius JJAZZ Ensemble“ and Artbox.More information
Residents of Vilnius have long loved opera – it took to the stages here before making its way to Paris, and today the voices of Lithuanian opera soloists can be heard all over the world. That’s why for its 700th anniversary, Opera.Connect: Vilnius, a City of Opera will be giving the gift of opera, taking it out of the concert halls and spreading it all over the city. This “opera on wheels” will bring pieces of opera to the most unexpected spaces, and at the Baltic Opera Awards being held for Vilnius’ anniversary, opera composers from all three Baltic States will be honoured.
Opera is more than just classic costumes – it’s also about modern technologies. In September 2023, artificial intelligence will blow the dust off one of the first operas performed at the Palace of the Grand Dukes in the 17th century and recreate its sound for the ears of the modern listener. AIopera is a synthesis of history and modernity that is a must for all music lovers.
Project partner – Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre.More information
The National Museum of Lithuania is partnering with the Lithuanian National Museum of Art to bring an authentic transcript of Gediminas’s letter to Lithuania. None of Gediminas’s original letters have survived to this day, so the transcript made in Riga shortly after the letter was received is the most authentic document testifying to the birth of the city of Vilnius. The viewing of the letter will be accompanied by an interactive exhibition presenting the meaning and importance of these letters.
Implemented by the National Museum of Lithuania.More information
15 December 2022 – 27 August 2023
Exhibition: I am a Vilnian
It’s hard to imagine Vilnius without Kaziukas Fair, but did you know that St Casimir was not a permanent resident of Vilnius? We’re so proud of the Vilnius Baroque school, but do you know that it was created by immigrants? Do we consider the multiculturalism programmed by Gediminas’s letters to be the essence of Vilnius identity? And did you know that these letters dictated by the grand duke were transcribed by visiting Franciscan monks?
As Vilnius’s 700th anniversary approaches, the National Museum of Lithuania invites you to immerse yourself in the telling of 50 stories spanning a period of 700 years that will revolve around Vilnius and its people. Like Vilnius itself, this exhibition will be rich and extremely diverse, but all of the stories will testify to the same thing – that we are all Vilnians and we all create Vilnius, regardless of whether we were born here or just found a home here.
Implemented by the National Museum of Lithuania.More information
January 2023 – January 2024
Palace of the Grand Dukes exhibitions
The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania is preparing a special gift as Vilnius enters a new century. Visitors will have the rare opportunity to see a 3D virtual recreation of the Tower of Gediminas, and one of the exhibitions will feature the oldest wooden building in Vilnius along with its unique finds.
The Palace of the Grand Dukes will be displaying the tapestries of Sigismund II Augustus that have returned to Vilnius. In addition, a triumphal arch will be erected as a highlight of the anniversary celebration. Similar arches were erected in the streets of Vilnius in anticipation of Sigismund III Vasa’s victorious march into the city. We also invite you to get acquainted with the historical subtleties of the residences of the grand dukes of Lithuania.
After all, the Palace of the Grand Dukes, which emits a special energy, is one of the most important cultural, educational, museum, informational, tourist and representative objects in the capital, so don’t miss it!
Implemented by the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania