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Kaunas prides itself on its compact and well preserved Old Town, with its main streets traffic free. Beautiful 16th-century buildings adorn Vilnius Street, and many of these surround the Town Hall Square. You are likely to come across several modern art galleries housed in these historic buildings. The city stands where the rivers Nemunas and Neris meet and you can easily lose count of the many green parks in its centre. Santaka Park, being just one of them, is a stunning place to stroll among birch, oak and maple trees. It’s hard to believe you are still in the heart of such an energetic city. Tree-lined Laisves Aleja, also known as Freedom (or Liberty) Avenue, is the main artery of the city, where you’ll find many shops to browse around and cafés and bars from which to people-watch. In the centre of this avenue there is a large fountain, a general meeting place for locals and visitors alike. Kaunas holds Lithuania’s spirit and it’s eager to share its essence with new and old friends. It’s waiting to be rediscovered.
Visit! The remarkable Old Town which is a collection of ancient architectural monuments: the remnants of the 14th century with remains of Kaunas castle, the buildings of the Middle Ages in the Gothic and the Art Déco styles. The Kaunas Fortress is a valuable military heritage composed of a number of constructions that used to be a military complex. There are nine Forts around the city and the IXth Fort serves a museum. The macabre collection of nearly 3,000 devils at the Devils' Museum and the exhibitions showing the unique artistic styles of composer and painter M. K. Ciurlionis, as well as J. Maciunas initiator of the avant-garde Fluxus art movement.
Architecture. Modernism

Architecture. Modernism

Modernism ideas which spread fast among most countries of the Western World after World War I soon emerged in Lithuania as well. In 1920 when Poland occupied Vilnius, Kaunas became the capital of the independent Republic of Lithuania (1920–1939) and the most important Lithuanian city. As the economy was growing, it was sought to make the capital a modern European city. Lithuanian architects started to design and build houses in the style of modernism, in German called the Bauhaus, which was avant-garde in Europe and the USA at that time. Up to the present day Kaunas is probably the only city in the world where so many buildings of this style were built and have remained intact. Each of the architects who created here had their own individual style which was distinguished for different modern variations. These variations included historical elements, a search for national style or just attempts to convey the main modernism principles. The European Commission officially confirmed that Kaunas, famous for its unique modernist architecture of the interwar period, is awarded the European Heritage Label. Buildings: Officers Club Ramovė (A. Mickevičiaus g. 19), Architects: Stasys Kudokas, Elmar Lohk, Herbert Johanson, Vladimiras Dubeneckis, Jonas Kriščiukaitis, Kazys Kriščiukaitis, Mykolas Songaila, Jonas Kova-Kovalskis; Central Post Office (Laisvės al. 102), Architect: Feliksas Vizbaras; Kaunas City Municipality (Laisvės al. 96), Architects: Arnas Funkas, Bronius Elsbergas; Vytautas the Great Military Museum (K. Donelaičio g. 64), Architects: Vladimiras Dubeneckis, Karolis Reisonas, Kazimieras Kriščiukaitis; M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art (V. Putvinskio g. 55); Christ's Resurrection Church (Aukštaičių g.4), Architect: Karolis Reisonas; Firehouse (I. Kanto g. 1), Architects: Edmundas Alfonsas Frykas, Pranas Markūnas. The best way to discover it is of course on foot. There's a great guide to help you to do that and it fits right into your smartphone, the app named 'Kaunas of 1919-1940' and and audio guide Pocket Guide Kaunas.

The Era of Diplomacy in Kaunas

The Era of Diplomacy in Kaunas

Historical circumstances led to the 1919-1940 period being named the era of diplomacy in Kaunas. Thanks to historical circumstances, Kaunas became the temporary capital of the reborn State of Lithuania (1918). Lithuania took the first steps to nationhood there: the country’s most important institutions and foreign diplomatic missions were founded. Kaunas was never officially ratified in writing as the temporary capital. In diplomatic terms, Kaunas became the de facto capital of Lithuania when the provisional government moved there from Vilnius on 2 January 1919. That same year, the central street of the town was renamed Laisvės Alėja (Liberty Avenue), and a street abutting it in honor of February 16th. And the streets still have those names today. The first president in the history of Lithuania was elected in Kaunas. On 4 April 1919, in Kaunas, the Council of Lithuania elected Antanas Smetona. The Constituent Assembly of Lithuania gathered in the capital, Kaunas, for its first meeting on 15 May 1920, in the the State Theatre, the current Musical Theater. The country’s most important institutions operated in Kaunas, among them the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which had a critical challenge to establish diplomatic relations with foreign countries and represent Lithuania in the international arena. Diplomatic missions gradually began to settle here. First of all the diplomatic missions of the great powers visited Kaunas – the US, Britain, and France – and later permanent embassies and consulates of these and other countries settled in. These government agencies and foreign representative offices operated in Kaunas in 1939: 1. Lithuania Presidential Palace (Vilniaus g. 33) 2. Lithuanian Seimas Chambers (Gimnazijos g. 3) 3. Chambers of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Lithuania and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Maironio g. 27) 4. United States Consulate and Embassy (V. Putvinskio g. 68) 5. Czechoslovak Embassy and the Argentine Consulate (V. Putvinskio Gatvė 60) 6. Papal Nunciature Building (V. Putvinskio g. 56) 7. Honorary Consulate of Hungary (V. Putvinskio g. 54) 8. Honorary Consulate of Hungary (V. Putvinskio g. 42) 9. Swedish Consul General (V. Putvinskio g. 40) 10. French Embassy (V. Putvinskio g. 14) 11. Honorary Consulate of Norway (Nepriklausomybės a. 7) 12. Metropolis Hotel (S. Daukanto g. 21) 13. Polish Embassy (Kęstučio g. 38) 14. British Embassy and Consulate (Kęstučio g.29) 15. German Embassy (Gedimino g. 19) 16. Danish Embassy (Vytauto pr. 55/Griunvaldo g. 2) 17. Latvian Embassy (Vytauto pr./Kęstučio g.) 18. Finnish Consulate (Kęstučio g. 8) 19. Italian Embassy (Vydūno al. 13) 20. Japanese Consulate (Vaižganto g. 30)

Sculptures of bugs (Perpetuation of the Menory of Ladislas Starewich)

Sculptures of bugs (Perpetuation of the Menory of Ladislas Starewich)

Ladislas Starewich (1882–1965) (Władysław Starewicz in Polish, Vladislavas Starevičius in Lithuanian), the master of cinema alchemy, Polish speaking Lithuanian director, the pioneer of doll animation, began creating in the first half of the 20th century in Lithuania, Russia and France. The artist was the first to use dolls in his movies, and produced his creation in such a level which was not achieved by his contemporaries. Moreover, titled as a European Walt Disney, Ladislas Starewich created a new technique of animation. However, the world famous Lithuanian used to be and still is better known in Moscow and Paris than in Lithuania. The first animated short, entitled The Battle of the Stag Beetles in 1910, which became the starting milestone of his unique art, was created in Kaunas while working in Kaunas Museum (in the building of the present Museum of the History of Communications). Sadly, many citizens of Kaunas have not noticed the playful memorial dedicated to Ladislas Starewich in the Town Hall Square – a video plaque (author – Jurgita Gerdvilaitė) with a small screen in the middle showing animated shorts of Starewich all day and night. Back in 2008, in Lithuania, the full length documentary The Bug Trainer was created in dedication to Ladislas Starewich highlighting the most important and interesting aspects of his life and productions. Three sculptures of bugs representing the three main characters in his animated shorts – a stag-beetle, an ant and a grasshopper were set out next to the memorial plaque in Rotušės a. (Town Hall sq.) 18. The idea how to perpetuate the memory of Ladislas Starewich was offered by the sculptor Algimantas Šlapikas, the sculptures were carried out by the blacksmith Zenonas Baranauskas. The bug trio established their presence in the neighbourhood of Town Hall Square.

Kaunas City audio guide in your smartphone

Kaunas City audio guide in your smartphone

Kaunas City introduces the most popular travel application PocketGuide. This app is a GPS based audio city guide application for smartphones (Android, iOS) which guides you through the city Kaunas Sharing Impressions by voice like a real tour guide introducing the most famous sights and facts. You can start your tour from Kaunas Castle and continue through the Old Town, Vilnius Street and Laisvės Avenue. Later you can also travel towards Žaliakalnis funicular, Kaunas Christ's Resurrection Church and St. Michael Archangel Church (Sobor). You can start your tour from the any chosen object. Audio guide is suitable for smartphones. Duration and distance: about 3 hours, 6.3 km. Languages: Lithuania, English, Russian. Why is it worth to try PocketGuide Kaunas: • Convenient to explore the city independently; • The most important sights and their history are on your smartphone; • Interactive map, photos and interesting information; • Easy to use; • Opportunity to change the route and select the most interesting sights. • Downloaded from this link http://pocketguideapp.com/en/kaunas the record is saved and can be used without an internet connection. It is also possible to listen to this audio guide free of charge without downloading using the internet. PocketGuide covers over 150 cities in 5 continents and has 100.000 new users joining every month. The app is used by the millions of tourists, entrepreneurs and local citizens.

Kaunas is a city surrounded by an exclusive aura aspiring to become the European Capital of Culture in 2022. Art and creativity are accompanying Kaunas on several levels: music, theatre, dance, design, and many others. The city constantly encourages the development of both public and private spaces. Explore the wide range of cultural facilities and projects, from works of art turned into buildings, to galleries, interior design, bohemian cafes, etc. A variety of events will also surprise you. If you just plan your visit you will have a good time! Full of new sensations and discoveries, life in Kaunas is a modern and youthful generator of culture; so everyone who loves art in Kaunas will find his own corner.
The city has many restaurants, cafes and bars that offer a wide variety of dishes, ranging from Lithuanian cuisine to gourmet and exotic food to suit every taste and budget. It is highly recommended that while in Kaunas, to try the great potato dumplings – the Cepelinai (Zeppelin), the cold beetroot soup (Šaltibarščiai) and the „live“ (non-pasteurised) Lithuanian honey beer. Wholesome simple ingredients are the key to Lithuanian cooking. Traditionally cold winters and harsh times are reflected in the “Hunter’s” menu we see today – there aren’t many parts of an animal that don’t go into the Lithuanian pot. Meat is heartily served with staple vegetables such as potato and cabbage. If you need an advice where to eat in Kaunas, please visit or contact Kaunas Tourism Information Centre (Laisvės al. 36, tel. +370 37 323 436) qualified specialists will give you the best advice.
The lively street, Vilnius, connects the Old Town Hall Square with Laisves Aleja’s main shopping area. Famous for its amber jewellery, as well as earthenware and woodcraft, you’ll find a selection of souvenir and local craft shops in the Old Town. Here, amber is less expensive than you will find in other Baltic countries, so why not take a little something special back home with you. Many of Kauna’s art galleries are located in the Old Town, just in front of Kaunas Cathedral. You can find interesting works by several local artists, perfect for a personal keepsake.Laisves Aleja, known as Freedom Avenue, is the core of the shopping district – on the whole, you will find many desirable gifts, familiar accessories and fashionable shops. As well as linen items and good quality knitwear, there are plenty of shoe shops. A large central bookstore is located at Laisves Aleja 81 stocking books, magazines, postcards, maps and the essential tourist guides. Of course, an agreeable coffee bar or café is never far away on this pleasant avenue to take a break!

Take it home!

Stumbras production. Stumbras is the biggest and most popular producer of spirits in Lithuania. You may buy Stumbras production both in the shop of Stumbras Museum and specialized shops. (Consuming alcohol, you risk your health, welfare of your family and society.) “Volfas Engelman” production. “Volfas Engelman” is one of the most modern breweries in Lithuania, producing beer, cider and kvass which you may buy in the shopping centres. Production of brewery “Kauno alus” (Kaunas Beer). It is the only larger company which performs open fermentation of beer. The brewery “Kauno alus” constantly ferments 13 kinds of beer which you may buy in the biggest shopping centres of Kaunas. Black bread is Lithuanians’ special pride which was the main meal in Lithuanian villages up to the 20th century. The types of traditional Lithuanian bread are the following: rye bread, wheat bread and triticale bread. Amber is called “Lithuanian gold”. Amber is used to create unique jewellery and unusual art works; it is distinguished for its stimulating and strengthening properties. Therefore, from old times it has been used not only for decoration but also for treatment. Lithuanians’ ancestors protected themselves from the dark powers by wearing amber amulets. Amber therapy is becoming more and more popular: amber spirits and preparations with amber acid, oil or powder are made, healing and strengthening amber tea is drunk. Flax, also called “North silk”. Through the centuries Lithuanians have cherished traditions of flax growing and processing which are valued not only in Lithuania. We suggest that you buy flax textile products of high quality in specialized shops. Wood. You may buy unique wooden craftwork the stock of which is really large: from housewares up to jewellery.

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