Despite that it’s the middle of the winter, January can be a very good month for travelling to Vilnius. Flights and bus tickets are less expensive, the city is not so crowded and less commercial. In this time, Vilnius is calm, peaceful and very charming with it’s white streets, forested hills and medieval courtyards. Thus, don’t think too much, pack your things and come for a short stay in Vilnius.
If you turn up in Vilnius this January, here are tips for your visit.
Historical events in January
The first New Year’s day
1 st of January is not only the first day of a year, but it is also the National Flag Day. During the interwar independence, our tricolor was first raised on Gediminas tower in 1919 1 st of January. In the beginning, the delegates wanted to use two colors, the red and the green that are based on the country’s traditional national costume. Since this combination was too gloomy, it was decided to add yellow to make it brighter. Each color has its’ own simple, but deep meaning: yellow represents the sun and goodness; green stands for nature and hope and the red symbolizes the courage and blood that was lost in the fights for freedom.
A solemn flag raising ceremony is held on Gediminas tower each 1st day of the year.
The “Bloody Sunday” on 13 th of January
The most important date is the 13 th of January, usually dedicated to commemorate “Bloody Sunday” events that happened 26 years ago in Vilnius.
13 th of January in 1991 was the day when Soviet troops cracked down in Vilnius to crush the newly reborn Lithuanian state. Thousands of freedom fighters surrounded the Television Tower and Radio headquarters that were targeted by Soviets. The invaders were also heading towards parliament, but had to deal with an immense crowd of unarmed Lithuanians determined to protect it with their own lives. Thankfully, Soviets decided to refuse plans to storm it and turned the tanks back. Consequences were still tragic, 14 peaceful defenders lost their lives, hundreds more wounded.
The TV tower and broadcasting studios were under Soviet control until the August coup in Russia, but nobody paid attention to their propaganda.
If you will be in Vilnius at that time, try to take part in concerts dedicated to a memory of these events. Bonfires of hope are lighted next to the parliament, the songs of freedom singed in the city.
Things to do in the city
Traditional Running Event “On the way of life and death”
Already 26th traditional running event “On the way of life and death” will be held in Vilnius on 14 th of January. It will start in Antakalnis Cemetery where the 14 victims of “Bloody Sunday” events are buried. The participants will honor the memory of the victims by putting flowers on their graves and then the freedom run will start. The finish line will be in front of the Television Tower, the highest building in Lithuania, where all these tragic events took place 26 years ago.
When? 14th of January at 12:00 am;
How much? Free admission;
All participants will be awarded by medals at the finish line. You can register here.
Vilnius International Short Film festival
It is the biggest short film festival in Baltic countries, presenting the newest and best short films from Lithuania and all around the world.
When? From 18 till 22 of January;
Where? In Cinemas “Skalvija” and “Pasaka”; Read more…
Adventur is the only international tourism and active leisure exhibition in Lithuania held each year. It offers a possibility to discover travel and leisure activities in Lithuania and abroad. Visiting it can help to get a better image of whole country. This year it focuses on smaller Lithuanian cities, showcases pictures from different parts of the country and even offers an opportunity to “Taste Lithuania”, discover it’s culture through food and beverages.
When? From 20 to 22 of January;
Tips about the Weather
Be prepared for all types of weather- coldness, wind, rain or sun.
January is the coldest month in Lithuania, that is why it can be very beautiful with hills of snow, frosted trees under a clear, blue sky. At the same time, nowadays temperatures vary a lot. It can happen that snow and freeze come for two weeks and when suddenly weather changes to zero or plus and snow melts. So check the weather forecast very carefully, since it is possible you might need either an umbrella or a very warm down jacket here.
You can check the weather forecast here.
If you need more specific information about the concerts, performances hold in Vilnius, don’t hesitate to contact us at info(eta)vilniusfreetour.lt