Vilniaus Street in Vilnius is a continuation of Vokieciu Street, and runs from Traku Street to Zaliasis Tiltas (Green Bridge). At the end of the 20th century a Museum of Theater, Music and Cinema was installed in the Radziwill Palace (No. 41), home of the Vilnius City Theater in 1796-1810. Across from the museum is a monument to the poet Salomeja Neris (1973, sculptor: Vladas Vildziunas) and a high school by the same name.
Moving further on Vilniaus Street
Beside St. Catherine's church is an ensemble of buildings, the Benedictine convent, with several small inner courtyards where the Catholic priest Juozas Stakauskas hid Jews during the Second World War. In front of the convent is a square with a bust of the composer Stanislaw Moniuszko. The largest historicist style building (on number 39) across from the square is called the Vilnius Teachers' House.
The first Lithuanian daily, Vilniaus zinios (Vilnius News), was published here in 1904-1906. Walking in the direction of Zaliasis Tiltas one can see the remains of another Radziwill estate on number 22. The magnate Janusz Radziwill built this residence, renowned for its art collections, in the beginning of the 17th century. The buildings were abandoned after the 1655-1661 war with Moscow.
The Lithuanian Museum of Art
The Lithuanian Museum of Art took over the reconstructed western wing of the estate in 1984. During the Soviet occupation the poet and Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Brodsky used to visit friends at Liejyklos Street 1, across from the estate. There was a Jewish theater at Liejyklos Street 4 in the first half of the 20th century, and a memorial plaque marks the site where Theodor Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement, met with the Vilnius Jewish community in 1903.
Several other historicist style buildings line Vilniaus Street before it reaches the area where new commercial venues take over. The Old Town ends at the junction with Gedimino Prospektas.
St. Catherines Church Vilniaus Street
Standing lengthwise along the street is the elegant Church of Catherine, now a popular concert venue, which acquired its present-day form in 1741-1773. Designed by Johann Christoph Glaubitz, the church is an example of typical Vilnius Baroque, which features vertical lines and double tower facades. The Chapel of Providence was built beside the earlier sanctuary in 1641.
Originally belonging to a Benedictine convent, the church was rebuilt after several fires. The new design daringly created a nave that was as high as it was long. The church has a rich interior, with excellent acoustics, making it a fabulous venue for regular music concerts. The square behind the church has a bust of Stanislaw Moniuszko, a 19th century Polish composer who lived in Vilnius and whose operas and songs filled with fond references to the lost Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
|Address||Vilniaus Street 30, Vilnius|
|Telephone||+370 52 62 04 1|
Charitable Society (Now Vilnius Tourist Information Center)
At the end of the 19th century, the industrious Charitable Society of Vilnius already had a headquarters (7 Labdariu Street, 1885), and a block of affordable apartments (5 Labdariu Street), but it needed a building with a hall and commercial premises. In 1911, a luxurious building, referred to as "the house with the lions", designed by Aleksander Parczewski, was built on land belonging to the society.
The architect prepared several designs. In the first, the building was in a geometric, northern Art Nouveau style, but later a more conservative Neoclassical and Renaissance style was chosen. The façade is split by half-columns and windows with archivolts, and a raised pediment in the middle with three sculptures of griffins (mythical creatures with a lion's body and legs, and an eagle's head, wings and talons).
The ground floor features display windows. The banker Jozef Montwill, one of the Society's leaders, set up a company which used the building to sell work by artisans of the Vilnius district. For a while, the building housed the Architekt construction office of the architects W. Michniewicz and A. Parczewski. The modern influence is observable in the laconic forms of the exterior.
Army officer's residential building Vilnius
The Military Accommodation Foundation was established at the end of the 1920's, at the behest of Jozef Pilsudski, to solve the housing problem facing military personnel. It began constructing standard, multi-storey apartment blocks (for 12 or 18 families, or more).
Several such houses were built in Vilnius and Naujoji Vilnia. However, the building constructed on Vilniaus Street stands out from typical examples, due to its imposing form monumental features, modernised Neo-classical style, and the decorations on its pediments.
Vilnius Opera and Ballet Theatre
Further down Vilniaus Street there is a residential building erected in the 20th century, a government building from the period of the Soviet occupation, and the Opera and Ballet Theater (1974, architect Nijole Buciute). The walls of the Theater are made of glass and decorated with copper plates.
A monument to one of the favorers of the Lithuanian opera and tenor Kipras Petrauskas was unveiled in front of the Theater in 1974 (author Gediminas Jokubonis). Closer to the river, on Gostauto Street 1, stands a mansion of a Neo-Classicist style, which before was occupied by Vilnius Science Fellows’ Association.
The Theater was established in 1920 and was then, and the repertoire was started with the G. Verdi opera “La Traviata”, performed on December 31st, 1920. On January 1st, 1922, the institution was passed over to the Ministry of Education and became a Government Opera (after an order of the Minister of Education, passed on February 4th, 1922). In 1925 it became a Governmental Theatre, and the first ballet – L. Delibes “Coppelia” - was performed there on December 4th, 1925. Opera, ballet, and drama were live in this theatre until 1944, until a separate drama theatre was established, and the institution became LSSR Governmental opera and ballet theatre.
In 1948 the Theater was moved in Vilnius and settled in one of the buildings in J. Basanaviciaus Street, where it operated until autumn of 1974. A new Theater building was opened in A. Vienuolio Street on November 25th, 1974 (architect Nijole Buciute), since then the Theater has not changed its site. The title of the institution was changing after the fashion of the time. The current name – Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theater - was granted on July 1st, 1998. Rue twig was chosen as a Theater symbol, which decorates the Theater stage curtain and logo.
The Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theater is the largest artistic institution in Lithuania, which represents the art of opera and ballet. The Theater has its own ballet and opera troupes, orchestra, and choir. The spectators are entertained in two halls: The Large (containing 984 seats) and the Chamber one (containing up to 250 seats). The stage of the Theater is supplied with modern equipment, a special floor cover is laid for ballet performances, and technical possibilities allow the play authors to carry out the most original ideas.
|Address||A. Vienuolio g. 1, Vilnius|
|Telephone||(8-5) 262 0727|