Jetsetting

The Republic of Užupis – Bohemian Vilnius | Exploring Lithuania

Bohemian, hip and artistic came to mind while exploring the Vilnius neighborhood, The Republic of Užupis. This part of the city was a fun and light-hearted visit, as well as being unexpected. I have always been an admirer of artists and have many friends who are using all types of media, so I felt a true connection with Užupis. The joint creativity of this neighborhood was simply inspiring.

The history of Užupis was as eccentric as its current incarnation, and I could clearly see how it evolved. Užupis means “beyond the river” or “the other side of the river” in Lithuanian and has been a beloved area for artists for some time. The area has been compared to Montemarte in Paris, which has been one of my favorite neighborhoods to stay in the City of Lights. In 1998, this neighborhood had declared itself “The Republic of Užupis”, as an independent republic with its own constitution and flag.

Entering The Republic of Užupis

The Republic of Užupis was home to the Jewish population prior to WWII, with the old Jewish Cemetery that had been destroyed by the Soviets. Most of the Jewish population were killed by the Holocaust and a large amount of the homes were abandoned. Afterwards the empty buildings and homes were then occupied by marginal elements of society, mostly prostitutes and the homeless. Užupis was severely neglected during the time of the Soviet rule, with run-down homes and some without utilities.

Even during the Soviet times, Užupis was a popular residence for bohemians and artists, as of today. Currently, there are still many young artists who are squatters within several of the abandoned buildings close to the Vilnia River.

As I had mentioned, The Republic of Užupis has its own constitution which I love for many reasons. It is true to the spirit of human nature, while being light-hearted and just fun.

The Užupis Constitution

  1. Everyone has the right to live by the River Vilnelė, and the River Vilnelė has the right to flow by everyone.
  2. Everyone has the right to hot water, heating in winter and a tiled roof.
  3. Everyone has the right to die, but this is not an obligation.
  4. Everyone has the right to make mistakes.
  5. Everyone has the right to be unique.
  6. Everyone has the right to love.
  7. Everyone has the right not to be loved, but not necessarily.
  8. Everyone has the right to be undistinguished and unknown.
  9. Everyone has the right to idle.
  10. Everyone has the right to love and take care of the cat.
  11. Everyone has the right to look after the dog until one of them dies.
  12. A dog has the right to be a dog.
  13. A cat is not obliged to love its owner, but must help in time of nee[d].
  14. Sometimes everyone has the right to be unaware of their duties.
  15. Everyone has the right to be in doubt, but this is not an obligation.
  16. Everyone has the right to be happy.
  17. Everyone has the right to be unhappy.
  18. Everyone has the right to be silent.
  19. Everyone has the right to have faith.
  20. No one has the right to violence.
  21. Everyone has the right to appreciate their unimportance. [In Lithuanian this reads Everyone has the right to realize his negligibility and magnificence.]
  22. No one has the right to have a design on eternity.
  23. Everyone has the right to understand.
  24. Everyone has the right to understand nothing.
  25. Everyone has the right to be of any nationality.
  26. Everyone has the right to celebrate or not celebrate their birthday.
  27. Everyone shall remember their name.
  28. Everyone may share what they possess.
  29. No one can share what they do not possess.
  30. Everyone has the right to have brothers, sisters and parents.
  31. Everyone may be independent.
  32. Everyone is responsible for their freedom.
  33. Everyone has the right to cry.
  34. Everyone has the right to be misunderstood.
  35. No one has the right to make another person guilty.
  36. Everyone has the right to be individual.
  37. Everyone has the right to have no rights.
  38. Everyone has the right to not to be afraid.
  39. Do not defeat.
  40. Do not fight back.
  41. Do not surrender.

The Republic of Užupis was truly one of the most inspiring neighborhoods that I have traveled to. I appreciated how this neighborhood had created its own republic from a past filled with sorrow from the Holocaust deaths, the Soviet reign and the abandonment of those who were down on their luck. This neighborhood has evolved with its own spirited constitution that shines brightly with every sculpture, artwork and local citizen. I loved it!

For visiting information: The Republic of Užupis

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Photo Gallery

Catholic Church

Tibetan Monument

Angel of Užupis

St. Anne’s Church

Užupis neighborhood

Jesus, the original backpacker

Exploring Užupis

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Eccentric- Proof that being all there, isn’t all that…

Yours Truly in Vilnius

🌎 Thank you for visiting my website and NEVER STOP EXPLORING!

📸 All photos are taken by me and are my intellectual property – Trixie Navarre

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