Saturday, July 30, 2011

Virtuous Vilnius - the capital of Lithuania

We were told that Vilnius has 2 main religions Roman Catholicism and basketball. We didn't see any evidence of basketball, although I think David met a Lithuanian basketballer currently playing for Ireland. However the day proved to have its fair share of ABC - another bloody church.

First we visited the very old church of Sts Peter and Paul, which looked very ordinary and dark on the outside, but inside was decorated totally in white in the baroque style. It had magnificent decoration - hundreds of statues and mouldings, including the circle of life statues as well as a fishing boat, danish style, suspended above the centre aisle.

St Peter and Paul Cathedral



Ornate interior

Suspended boat
Next we visited a Lutheran Church, also in white but decorated in the more restrained classical style. From the outside it looked like a Greek temple.

Very restrained Lutheran Church - looks like a town hall

We also drove past the Russian Orthodox Church with its green roof, and undoubtedly inside there would be little restraint, judging from the many other Russian Orthodox Churches we have visited previously.

Russian Orthodox Church

We broke up our church excursion for a trip past the Town Hall and into the Amber Gallery for a short talk. Lithuania is the main centre of amber.

The actual Town Hall

Learning how to tell real amber from plastic prior to some retail therapy

In the afternoon I visited Trakai Castle, about half an hour from Vilnius. David decided not to go and he and Tony had a game of snooker then walked back to the hotel in the rain since neither had an umbrella.

Trakai Castle is quite small as castles go, with an inner and outer courtyard. From what we were told the soldiers were forbidden from frternising with the local women, and if caught were imprisoned in the main tower. The prison was never empty.

Outer courtyard

The inner castle has 3 levels, with a quite small inner courtyard, surrounded by wooden balconies or verandahs. The main feasting or banqueting hall shows still the vaulted ceilings made from brick made locally.

Large entry door to inner castle

Wooden balconies

Inner court yard

Banqueting Hall with vaulted ceilings

Ever onward to the next destination.
Next Poland.

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