Vilnius, Lithuania – It’s All About Getting Married!

Vilnius is a lovely city and has many fun and interesting things to see and do, but what I will remember the most from this place is how everything seemed to be based around churches and weddings…

Many Churches & The Gate Of Dawn

We had never seen so many churches in such a small place, you couldn’t walk more than 50 meters on the street without seeing a church.

But despite having well over 65 churches to choose from, all the people seemed to gather at one specific church – the smallest one inside a gate…

If you looked up above the Gate of Dawn you would actually see the chapel itself – there are no windows, just a small fence, and in the middle of the small room is a golden image of The Virgin Mary.

This is very important for the people in Lithuania, as it is said to have miraculous powers.

In the morning people sing beautiful psalms so loud you can hear them from a distance – I really loved walking through there, and seeing all the people walking through the gate, never forgetting to make a sign of the cross on their chest, as they turned towards the image of the Virgin Mary.

The Vilnius Cathedral is another very important church, which has not only been used as a church in its days but as a gallery and even an car repair shop under the Soviet rule.

The Wedding Cues & Photo-Route

There seemed to be an awful lot of couples getting married in Lithuania  perhaps they all chose Vilnius because they knew there would always be at least one church free – but this didn’t mean that there was any free space for the wedding photo shoots….

Vilnius might have many churches, but the city is tiny, and for some reason, all wedding photographers wanted to shoot in exactly the same places.

It was like a photo-shoot route, and at every spot there were at least one or two wedding groups waiting in line to have their photo shoot taken at exactly the same place – it was insane!

I have never seen so many wedding couples at one place, bored out of their minds waiting for another couple to finish so they can take their own special photos.

Being a wedding-photographer would surely be a good business in this city.

Overload Of Love Lock Bridges

As if one bridge to put your love locks on wasn’t enough, this town had three bridges next to each other.

I have seen love lock bridges spread all over Europe, but I never expected a country which is quite out of the way on the normal Europe route to have really caught on with this idea.

But then I saw why – it had become the routine for all newly-wed couples on their photo shoot to hang a love lock by the bridge, which explains the need of three bridges to get some space among all the bridezillas.

So of all the cities we’ve seen in Europe with a wedding craze, Vilnius takes first prize…

After staying for a couple of days in Vilnius we took a bus to Klaipéda, a small pretty town by the coast – taking a bus around Lithuania is ok if you must, but sometimes there is a real hassle with delays or inconstant connections.

Because of this, there was one place we missed – the Hill of Crosses, which seemed a really amazing and strange place to visit – so if we go back to Lithuania again I think we’d be better off booking car hire online and drive around the country instead of taking the local buses.

Have you been to this area of Europe? If so, how did you find Vilnius?

(photo credit: 1)

12 Responses to Vilnius, Lithuania – It’s All About Getting Married!

  1. Megan December 17, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    i loved vilnius!

    but i believe i was there too long with someone…i spent a week there and one day in klaipeda as well.  vilnius was wonderful, but my boyfriend had booked a hotel for the entire week, which gave us little freedom to venture off (HUGE MISTAKE…as yall said, vilnius is not large!)  we did the trakai castle and local things but not too many other trips away.  while i loved vilnius, i HATED klaipeda.  i was expecting gorgeous sand dunes and what we ended up with was being swarmed by bees.  i have no idea what was going on in klaipeda, even the locals who spoke english couldnt explain it…it had never happened before!  the bees were EVERYWHERE…you couldn’t even look ahead without having them up your nose, in your hair, in your bags…it was torture.  so unfortunately, my trip to klaipeda was only 3 hours (after those two four hour train rides!) and my memories are lousy!  id love to try it again someday to have it redeem itself!  i hope you do a post on it with better words than what i had! :)

    i laugh that yall wrote about the weddings in vilnius, because it is SO true! it added a lot of charm to the city in my opinion.  it is too bad yall missed the hill of three crosses!  it was one of my favorite things in vilnius…but hey, there is always next time!

    http://suitcaseandstilettos.blogspot.com/2011/09/trys-kryziai.html  please dont mind my horrible picture taking ability :)

    • Sofia - As We Travel December 17, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

      Haha so funny you’d say that, we had bees everywhere around us as well, in our drinks, in our hair – I thought it was only us, nobody else seemed bothered about it! Very strange…

      Vilnius is such a quaint little place, and I agree the wedding couples definitely added to the charm.

      Thanks for sharing the link, what a stunning view.

  2. Jim Traister December 17, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    Love reading your posts! I was there in ’96 and it was interesting to say the least! I will never forget that everywhere I looked in downtown Vilnus the 2 ft high trashcans were overflowing with banana peels.  I could not understand. Also, businessmen in three piece suits socialized in ice cream shops every morning. Well, we found the answer while visiting Lithuanian Resort (in Nida)…I asked the locals that we were having some beverages with: “Why so many banana peels?” The answer was that during the Soviet Era fresh fruit was a premium for the rich and now they could relish in fresh fruit. 
    Had the same experience you allude to regarding utilizing the bus throughout Lithuania. However, I recommend it to gain the full local experience! Seeing the outskirts of Vilnus in 96′ via bus provided at least a very slight glimpse to monotone infrastructure during the Soviet Era. 

    Really appreciate you sharing the above post…learn something knew and brought back some great memories! Thanks! Jim

    • Sofia - As We Travel December 18, 2011 at 9:30 am #

      That’s a very interesting story about the banana peels, thanks for sharing that Jim.
      I love it when you see things you can’t understand, and then get the full story behind it.

      • Jim Traister December 18, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

        Exactly Sofia…same of how I felt about you two writing about the wedding locks…did not come across that while visiting. Wishing both of you continued great travels! 

  3. Claire Andrews1 December 18, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    Great post!

    We visited Vilnius in winter which made it even more pretty – all the brightly coloured buildings really stood out against the snow. The lake at Trakai was also completely frozen.

    • Sofia - As We Travel December 21, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

      I can imagine it was beautiful in winter as well, there is nothing more beautiful than a frozen lake I think.

  4. Amer @TendToTravel December 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    Interesting info! Sarajevo in Bosnia meanwhile was designed to have a mosque every 100metres or so. Have to visit Vilnius one day

    • Sofia - As We Travel December 21, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

      I really liked Sarajevo, it was a fascinating place to visit. Vilnius is really quaint and has some quirky places to check out, definitely worth a visit.

  5. information technology December 26, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    love lock very interesting part in a life

  6. Anonymous January 17, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    it really seems vry beauytiful. i like most 
    Love Lock Bridges ..when i shuld go there i’ll locked my love.

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