Vilnius’ 700th anniversary celebration approved

In 2023, Vilnius will be marking its milestone 700th anniversary, which will be a celebration for the entire country. Residents of Vilnius and guests are already preparing for the city’s upcoming birthday – a multifaceted programme is being developed, which includes various initiatives in fields such as professional art, popular culture and education, to name a few.

The anniversary events aim to bring communities together, create lasting initiatives, promote the active exchange of knowledge, and cultivate a festive mood in Lithuania and elsewhere. The 700th birthday programme events have already begun and are scheduled to culminate in 2023.

A birthday to celebrate twice a year

The Lithuanian capital is actively preparing for its 700th anniversary celebrations in 2023. To commemorate it, Go Vilnius – the official development agency for the City of Vilnius – has prepared an action plan for the next two years. It is expected to encourage both locals and guests to celebrate the city’s rich history and pave the way for an open future while creating a stronger emotional connection with the capital for all Lithuanians, actualising Vilnius’ rich heritage, strengthening its historical traditions and increasing its visibility worldwide.

“Today, Vilnius can be called a city of opportunities that is walking hand in hand with other progressive capitals in Europe and around the world. The fact that Vilnius is a western city today is not only the merit of inspiration from abroad, but also the merit of the history that has remained in the memory of the capital, which is important to commemorate on such a distinguished occasion,” says Vilnius’ Mayor Remigijus Šimašius. “The anniversary celebration programme is designed to make every resident of Lithuania proud of their capital, and for as many foreigners as possible to hear about Vilnius and its opportunities and to be inspired to visit Lithuania and its capital.”

Vilnius will start the tradition of celebrating the city’s birthday not once, but twice a year: in winter, on 25 January, with the traditional festival of lights, and in summer, on 25 July – the feast day of St Christopher, the patron saint of Vilnius – with a festival of quality music. The hope is that both events will create an unforgettable spectacle and broaden the potential of the capital’s technological innovation and creative and cultural industries.

Cultural initiatives: Seven ideas for the capital

The capital has already started preparing for the impressive anniversary this year. The seven cultural organisations that won the idea competition organised by the City of Vilnius and Go Vilnius will become an important part of the three-year programme of events. The organisations that won the competitions will not only seek to present their ideas, but also actively involve the city’s residents in the process.

With the Once in Vilnius project, Loftas Art Factory will invite locals to share their experiences in the capital and become co-authors of a unique film about Vilnius. With the Pavilion: Vilnius 200 Years Ago project, the National Museum of Lithuania will leave the traditional museum space, organise educational workshops and tell the history of the city in a new way.

The Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre will reconstruct the first opera performed in Vilnius in the 17th century with the help of artificial intelligence. Meno Genas will be inviting internationally renowned composers to create musical works for specific public spaces in Vilnius. For the capital’s anniversary, the Meno Niša Art Gallery will present a biennial performance in the squares, parks and buildings of Vilnius featuring local and international performance art stars, thus creating a new performance tradition in Vilnius.

Ričardas Gavelis’s Vilnius Poker has garnered the attention of many creators. Film director Donatas Ulvydas intends to make a film based on this novel while initiating new jazz, painting and sculpture events. Meanwhile, the MO Museum will present a mass installation inviting guests to see Vilnius through the prism of Vilnius Poker. This interpretation of Ričardas Gavelis’s famous novel will be created by theatre director Oskaras Koršunovas and scenographer and documentary filmmaker Gintaras Makarevičius.

The list of partners who would like to dedicate their planned initiatives and activities to Vilnius’ upcoming birthday is growing, and dozens of different partners are already dedicating their activities to the anniversary, including public sector and non-governmental organisations, well-known festival organisers, private businesses and urban communities.

An anniversary to celebrate outside Lithuania as well

Vilnius is a modern city – a hearth of nations, cultures, art, science and innovation. In celebrating its anniversary, the goal is for all of Lithuania to become better acquainted with the capital and strengthen its emotional connection to it, and for the world to hear about Vilnius as a youthful, ardent, innovative and energetic city.

“Vilnius’ international positions are consistently and unstoppably getting stronger – we have overstepped the borders of our region. In many areas, we compete for investment, talent and attention as equals at the highest global level, and Vilnius’ ideas are discussed worldwide,” says Go Vilnius Director Inga Romanovskienė. “All this provides a great foundation to usher in the city’s upcoming anniversary with pride and provides even more inspiration to build a proud future. Vilnius’ anniversary is a national celebration that will allow us to remind the world of ourselves once again, increase awareness of the country and the city, and increase the number of tourists visiting Lithuania.”

Altogether, the celebratory programme launched at the beginning of this year will include initiatives lasting until the end of 2023. This year, it is promoting the involvement of local and national communities, while next year it will focus on the presentation of anniversary activities in Lithuania and abroad, and in 2023 it will concentrate on the implementation of impressive activities created by the city’s guests and partners.

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