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
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
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.
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)