On the day I arrived in Vilnius, my cousins Liliana and Aidas met me at the airport, brought me to Aidas’ apartment in Vilnius where I stayed the entire week, and then took me on a brief tour of the Old Town in Vilnius. We stopped for dinner in Užupis, a section of Vilnius known for its artistic and creative bent.
The Vilnia River
SOURCE: The Vilnia River. Photographed by Stephen J. Danko, 26 October 2007.
Užupis literally means “the other side of the river”, the river in this case being the Vilnia River. In 1998, the residents declared the area the breakaway republic of Užupis with its own flag, constitution, president, and customs officer. The president and customs officer always seem to be off duty.
Locks on the Bridge to Užupis
SOURCE: Locks on the Bridge to Užupis. Photographed by Stephen J. Danko, 26 October 2007.
Užupis can be accessed by bridges across the Vilnia, bridges frequently visited by newlyweds who symbolize their commitment to each other by attaching a lock to the railing of the bridge.
The Užupio Café
SOURCE: The Užupio Café. Photographed by Stephen J. Danko, 26 October 2007.
The Užupio Café was a charming place to stop for a bite to eat and something to drink. In addition to food and drink, the café also sells copies of the Užupis constitution.
The Užupis Mermaid
SOURCE: The Užupis Mermaid. Photographed by Stephen J. Danko, 26 October 2007.
From the banks of the Vilnia River bubbling past the Užupio Café, the Užupis Mermaid relaxes and gazes tranquilly at the revelers above.
Copyright © 2007 by Stephen J. Danko