Shopping pleasures in 19th-century Vilnius

Welcome to a shoppers’ heaven! Advertisements, noise, a lot of toing and froing, big showcases – Vilnius in the 19th century was as active as it is today. In the late 19th century, Vilnius had a population of 154,200 that belonged to various social strata and needed plenty of daily necessities or luxury goods, starting with tatters, lamp oil and salt, and finishing with crayfish tails, mouth-watering chocolate, gilded bows and even cubes of broth. There were around 5,000 shops on the streets of Vilnius that could satisfy even the weirdest customer’s desires.

Just imagine that you are in then Vilnius. Most importantly, don’t forget your wallet and prepare for new discoveries. Merchants, craftsmen and industrialists fought for the attention of shoppers, thus shops in the 19th century took care not only of goods but also of their distinctness. However, be careful – try not to buy fake tea or sausage with strange findings in it. If you feel unwell after such surprises and have digestive problems, a pharmacist will kindly sell you the latest medicine – kefir. So, leave your horses near the hotel, take some Russian rubles and head to Vilnius’ streets and courtyards where trade was packed into every possible space.

What souvenir could you get from a 19th-century shop?

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