Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, the largest of the three Baltic states in Eastern Europe. A city of gypsies, bohemian types & general misfits, there’s a definite & bizarre anything goes mentality wafting through the air at any given time. One guidebook claims the city to be a “bastion of eccentricity and spirit”. Indeed. Just like it’s Baltic neighbours to the north (Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, & Riga, the capital of Latvia), Vilnius also boasts a UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town, a predominately baroque one as opposed to Tallinn’s Medieval Old Town & Riga’s Art Nouveau Old Town. But, and with all due respect to UNESCO listed Old Towns, Vilnius is a city of churches – its has more houses of worship, of any denomination, than you can shake a crucifix at.

The exquisite detail & the multitude of colours inside the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit, Lithuania’s chief Russian Orthodox church, Old Town, Vilnius, Lithuania. March 4th 2006

The exquisite detail & the multitude of colours inside the Baroque Church of the Holy Spirit, Lithuania’s chief Russian Orthodox church & parish church of the city’s Polish community. Built at the beginning of the 15th century, it was extended & partly reconstructed in 1679-1688 & today it is the parish church of the city’s Polish community. It’s interior, housing 16 different altars, is an abundance of decoration, lavishly styled by a profusion of Rococo faux marble, stucco, frescoes and 45 paintings, all considered to be monuments. The church’s crypt, with its nine side chambers, is crammed with about 2,000 mummified corpses, mostly from the 17th – 18th century, including, it is thought, bodies of plague victims and copses from the Napoleonic Wars. Vilnius (map-pointer-icon), Lithuania. March 4th 2006 || From a March 2006 visit to Vilnius, Lithuania

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