Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Church in the Castle

Inside the Trakai Island Castle is this little church, lighted by both little windows and great chandeliers.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Keep

The insideof Trakai Island Castle is now a museum showing the history of the castle and the town of Trakai.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Trakai Island Castle

Only 28km from Vilnius is the historic town of Trakai, a popular tourist destination with the reconstructed Trakai Island Castle as the main attraction. The castle was built in the 14th Century AD to defend the area from the Teutonic Knights. It was demolished in 1655 during a war with Muscovy with the ruins remaining a historic landmark. Between the World Wars reconstruction of the castle was begun but it wasn't finished until the early 1990's.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lake view

The view from the Uzutrakis manor is magnificent; a large lake and in the background to the left the Trakai Castle, where tomorrow's post will go.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Restoration in progress

That the Uzutrakis Manor House needs a caring hand is obvious, if it's going to rise in its former glory. A big part was already restored but certain areas was still being worked on.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Manor of Uzutrakis

Another Lithuanian manor house that is finding another use; the Manor of Uzutrakis near the old capitol of Trakai. When I visited it thanks to local help, it was in the middle of undergoing serious restoration. It was built in 1896 - 1901 by Polish architect Josef Huss for the Tyszkiewicz family, later annexed by the Soviets and occupied by the German Wehrmacht during WWII. After the war it was used by the KGB as a sanatorium for high ranking officers, later as a rest home and a young pioneer's camp. Until the Lithuanian independence it was finally used by a Soviet tourist enterprise. Now it will rise in its former glory as an art museum, when the restoration is finished.

Monday, October 25, 2010


In front of the church in Kernavé, Lithuania, is this statue of Moses with the Decalogue.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Iron Wolf

Just outside the parish hall in Kernavé is this sculpture of the Iron Wolf. The howling wolf is a symbol of Vilnius, the capitol of Lithuania. Legend says that after a hunting in a beautiful place between the Neris and Vilna rivers, Duke Gediminas had a dream: a huge Iron Wolf on a high hill was howling as a hundred wolfs. In the morning a prophet explained the meaning the meaning of the dream: a strong city would be build in the place of the hunting. So the Duke founded Vilnius at that place.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Wheel

When visiting a place, I often stumble on things, that I simply don't know what is. This wheel on a pole in Kernavé, Lithuania is an example of that. I don't know if it is a monument, a piece of art or something else entirely.

Friday, October 22, 2010


South of Kernavé are five hillforts dating back to the 1st Millennium BC. This defence complex is the biggest one in Lithuania from that period, and even now the hillforts are very dominating in the landscape.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Kernavé was the medieval capitol of the old Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Cultural Reserve of Kernavé is now a UNESCO World Heritage Place and much visited by Lithuanians and tourists. At the place of the old churches a newer one was built in 1920 .

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bird boxes

In Verkai park outside Vilnius I spotted this chopped down tree with a lot of colourful bird boxes. Maybe a local school had a project in wood craft and this is the result?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Conversion of a mansion

The Lithuanian countryside is littered with big, old mansions from before WWII. These mansions were either left to decay or converted into public buildings when the Soviets took over. Now some of the ruined ones are being restored to former glory and used as museums. This one, the Verkiai Palace, was long the residence of the bishops of Vilnius. The first manor here was built in the 13th century by the Grand Duke of Lithuania. After WWII, the remaining palace buildings were used as educational institutions and an art museum. With a nice restaurant and a big park, it's a popular refuge for many citizens from Vilnius.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A poet

Outside the Church of St. Anne in Vilnius is this monument to the Lithuanian/Polish poet Adomas Mickevicius (Adam Mickiewicz in Polish). He was active in the struggle for independence from the Russian Empire in the first half of the 19th century, and is now considered one of the national poets of Poland and of Lithuania, both of whom consider him "their" poet. His national epic Pan Tadeusz, which was written in Polish, starts with:

Lithuania, my fatherland! You are like health;
How much you must be valued, will only discover
The one who has lost you.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


When abroad I often find the local posters interesting motives, mainly because they show something about the local culture. This poster took me back to my own childhood as it was about the Lithuanian theatre version of Pippi Longstocking, which I saw as a kid on TV.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Looking for some art?

Are you looking for a piece of art to hang on the wall? Vilnius is not a bad place to look, if you want something original and cheap. But don't expect to find the next Rembrandt here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Yellow and Grey

Walking around in Vilnius at night is very cosy, as there's a lot of people out, lots of lights and a nice atmosphere. And then you turn a corner and see a scene like this.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bell Tower

Beside the Vilnius Cathedral is a free-standing bell tower that was constructed as part of the defences in the 14th century. Only later did it become a bell tower for the cathedral.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Three Muses

This sculpture of the Three Muses crown the main entrance to the National Drama Theater in Vilnius. It represents the three classic plays, Drama (Calliope), Comedy (Thalia) and Tragedy (Melpomene).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Memorial Bell

In front of the Vilnius TV Tower there's a memorial to the 13 people who lost their lives on 13 January 1991 when Soviet troops seized the tower. The monument called Aukojimas (Sacrifice) was made by D. Braziunas and unveiled in 2005.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Landmark

One of the most prominent landmarks in Vilnius is the TV Tower. With a height of 326.5 m it can be seen from anywhere in Vilnius and it's observation deck at 160m is a popular stop on any trip to the city. The café here do have a nice Lithuanian champagne btw.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

City of Angels

Vilnius is the City of Angels so they can be found almost anywhere, like here on an otherwise anonymous wall.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


On the banks of the Vilnia River in Vlinius, the Uzupis Mermaid sits in a little cove overlooking the water. Just a shame that someone thought that it would enhance its beauty to paint graffiti around it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Uzupis Angel

The guardian of the Uzupis Republic in Vilnius is the Uzupis Angel, made by Romas Valciauskas. It was erected in 2002 to symbolize the revival and artistic freedom of this district, which has been a common haunt of artists and bohemians since Soviet times, and even today many young artists are squatting in abandoned buildings near the river. The Angel is also a popular place for newly-wed to be photographed.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Locks of Love

On the bridges across the river Neris in Vilnius, Lithuania, visitors will notice the huge amount of locks put there, all with two names attached or engraved. These locks are put there by couples to seal their love and make it unbreakable.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Hill of the Three Crosses

These next days I'll show some of the photos I took while visiting Vilnius in Lithuania this summer. The first one is of one of the city's landmarks, The Hill of the Three Crosses. These white concrete crosses were erected in 1989 to replace the ones blown up by the Soviets in 1950. They are a memorial to seven Franciscan friars killed here by pagans during the crusades in the area.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Falconry 11

The last post from the Møn's Cliffs Falconry show for now. The Barbary falcon is swooping in low, trying to "kill" the lure. You can see more of my photos from this event at my Picasaweb album and read more at the web site for the show. From tomorrow the post will be about photos from one of the countries I've visited lately, Lithuania.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Falconry 10

The smallest of the falcons at the show coming in for the "kill" of the lure.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Falconry 9

The owl at the falconry show at Møn's Cliffs was full of personality. While the spectators chatted with the falconers, it kept "chatting" too.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Falconry 8

The spectators at the falconry show at Møn's Cliffs also get the chance of holding some of the birds. But be warned, they do have sharp beaks and might like to take a bite of the nearest finger, if you're not careful.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Falconry 7

When back in the hands of the falconer, the falcon gets its reward; raw meat.