Vilnius, is the capital and the largest city of Lithuania, with a population of 570,806 in 2019. It is considered as Lithuania’s major economic engine, ranks among the biggest Baltic financial centres and represents the country’s wealthiest region with a reputation of a safe and friendly cosmopolitan.
1. UNESCO World Heritage
Vilnius is classified as a Gamma global city according to Globalization and World Cities Research Network studies. The exquisite architecture in its Old Town has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
2. The Jerusalem of the North
Vilnius was one of the largest Jewish centres in Europe before World War II. Its Jewish influence has led to it being described as the “Jerusalem of Lithuania” and named as “the Jerusalem of the North” by Napoleon.
3. Romuva before Christianity
Lithuania was the last country in Europe to be converted to Christianity. Before Christianity, the country’s religion was ‘Romuva’, a polytheistic pagan faith which asserts the sanctity of nature and ancestor worship.
4. The Second Religion-Basketball
Basketball is usually called in Lithuania a second religion and it is by far the most popular sport in the country. The popularity of basketball grew during Soviet Union oppression because it was seen as a means to fight for independence. There are several famous Lithuanians in NBA, the greatest star has been Arvydas Sabonis.
5. The Famous dish
The national dish of Lithuania is Cepelinai, which is potato dumplings stuffed with meat, curd cheese or mushrooms. Cepelinai are typically around 10–20 cm long. It was named because of its oval shape which resembles a Zeppelin airship.
6. Green River Vilnia
Vilnia is a river in Vilnius. Every year the river is dyed bright emerald green as part of the celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day. The idea originated in Chicago in the sixties, when Irish plumbers discovered an entirely harmless way of dyeing water.
7. Anonymous Swing Foundation
Vilnius has an anonymous swing foundation. It’s a group of people who install swings all around the city, often changing their locations.
8. Flying in the Air
Lithuania is ranked as the 1st in the world by the number of hot air balloons per resident. And Vilnius is one of a few European capitals where you can fly with hot air balloons.
9. Easter Granny
On Easter Sunday, children hunt for Easter eggs left by the Velykų Bobute (Easter Granny). The bunnies help paint the eggs and load the cart. She has a sunbeam whip to urge her small pony forward. Granny distributes the eggs to all good children.
10. Top Smart city of the future
Vilnius was mentioned once again in the latest Financial Times investment expert division FDI Intelligence rating and named among the top five smart cities of the future, by evaluating the strategy to attract and retain smart businesses. Vilnius was the second position in this ranking.
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