Vilnius is the capital of the Republic of Lithuania and the largest administrative centre in Lithuania with all major political, economic, social and cultural centres.
A ccording to the data of 2007 the population of Vilnius is approximately 554,400. Of them 57.8% are Lithuanians, 18.7% Poles, 14% Russians, 4% Byelorussians, 0.5% Jews and the remaining 5% comprising some other nationalities.
Current area of Vilnius is about 400 square kilometres. Buildings cover 20.2% of the city and the remaining area is prevailed with the greenery (43.9%) and waters (2.1%). The County of Vilnius covers the regions of Vilnius, Elektrėnai, Šalčininkai, Širvintos, Švenčionys, Trakai, and Ukmergė totalling to 965,000 ha.
Mayor: Juozas Imbrasas (2007)
Where: 54°41" N. 25°17" E.
Time: GMT+2 (DST GMT+3)
Currency: Litas LTL, 1 LTL = 100 centas
Airport: Vilnius International Airport VNO (Vilniaus oro uostas)
Main Railway Station: Vilnius Railway Station is located at Gele ž inkelio Stotis, Gele ž inkelio Str. 16
Climate: In-between continental and maritime climate the average temperature in January is -4.9°C and in July +17°C
Today, Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is one of the most frequently visited cities of Eastern Europe. It draws attention, not only because of its unique architectural character, but also by its cultural events and attractions. A variety of business, political and cultural meetings are held there. Vilnius is attractively presented at international tourism exhibitions and co-operation between many capitals of Europe is promoted. In 2009, Vilnius, as the first of the new cities of the EU Member States, will become the European Capital of Culture. It will share this honour with the Austrian city of Linz. During the first ten years of independence the city has become a tourist attraction centre. It is, therefore, not surprising that during these ten years the number of tourists has consistently increased and at the same time tourist infrastructure and services have been developed.
The Old Town, historical centre of Vilnius, is one of the largest in Eastern Europe (360 ha). The most valuable historic and cultural heritage is concentrated here. The buildings in the old town – there are about 1.5 thousand of them – were built in a number of different centuries, therefore, it is a mixture of all European architectural styles. Although Vilnius is often called a baroque city, here you will find some buildings of gothic, renaissance and other styles. The main sights of the city are the Gediminas Castle and the Cathedral Square, symbols of the capital. Their combination is also a gateway to the historic centre of the capital.
The highest building in Vilnius is the television tower. It has a total height of 326.5 metres, and at 165 metres the tower’s restaurant is the highest observation point in the city. The circular floor of the restaurant does a complete revolution once per hour, giving people sitting at the tables by the windows an excellent bird’s eye view of the whole city.
The first fortifications were built of wood by the Duke of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Gediminas(1316 – 1341) . First the castle was built of brick in 1409 by Duke Vytautas the Great , (1392 – 1430). There are some fragments of the old castle, which are now restored according to numerous archeological researches on the Gediminas Hill.
The National Museum of Lithuania is the largest depository of the Lithuanian historical heritage, where museum valuables reflecting the cultural history of the country are collected, preserved, studied and popularised on a systematic basis. At the same time it is the oldest museum of Lithuania, with its roots in the Vilnius Museum of Antiquities established in 1855 on the initiative of culture historian Count Eustache Tyszkiewicz. The Museum and the main expositions of the National Museum of Lithuania are located in the historical centre of Vilnius, in the buildings within the territory of Vilnius Castles .