Statues and fountains, Vilnius
This statue is in honour of the Lithuanian novelist Žemaitė (1845-1921). Her real name was Julija Beniuševičiūtė-Žymantienė.
She was born into a poor Polish speaking family, but had aristocratic ancestors, which produced a nature of snobbishness in her family. She was banned from speaking Lithuanian as a child, as this was 'the language of commoners'!
Julija being quite headstrong learnt Lithuanian from some of the poorer children.
She was politically active and self educated, writing in Lithuanian, she told stories of family life and the struggles of the poor.
She was an active supporter of the 1863 uprising , and few years later married a fellow activist Laurynas Žymantas, a former serf. They worked as farmers and raised a family.
She moved to Vilnius in 1912, but at the start of WW1 emigrated to Russia and then America in 1916 (where she fund raised amongst Lithuanian ex-pats for the war effort) before returning to Lithuania in 1921, where she died in the same year.
This bronze statue was unveiled in 1970 (at the height of the Cold War)
It was designed by the brothers Algimantas and Vytautas Nasvytis,who were architects, and sculpted by Petras Aleksandravičius.
Well she certainly looked quite daunting! Under her folded hands is a book - someone had placed a red carnation on this.
Located in a small square in front of No. 27 Gedimino Prospektas
Great Polish poet and writer Juliusz Slowacki (1809–49) lived, attended primary school and gymnasium in Vilnius. Then he studied... law at Vilnius university. He left Vilnius in 1828. After anti-tzar uprising in 1830-31 he couldn't come back, had to go into exile and finally moved to Paris, France.
I found his house in Vilnius - at the main street of the old town: Pilies gatve at # 22 - definetely not off the beaten path. It housed medical college of Vilnius University where his father Prof. Euzebiusz Slowacki lived. But this memorial to Slowacki on my picture was hidden in a backyard of the house, rather off the beaten path. Go through the gate and look at second floor of the house to the left, where "Narucio antikvariatas" was housed.
This sculpture on top of the National Drama Theater at Gedimino Prospect 4 creeped me out. In their black robes, they looked like death although now that I'm looking at the photo more closely their faces are not too frightening.
This rather stern looking statue is of Julija Zemaite who was born into an impoverished Polish family with aristocratic roots. She was forbidden to speak Lithuanian as a child, at the time is was considered the language of commoners. But she became fluent in it and became a political writer, mainly on the issues surrounding the miseries of peasant life.
Between Gedimino 27 & 29
There were not many public sculptures put on Vilnius street or I didn't find them. But facades of quite many old and not so old houses were decorated with... look at my picture. This was the house located along southern side of Gedimino propektas, the most representative street of Vilnius, at Independence Square (Nepriklausomybes aikste) - not at all off the beaten path location, rather off the sight :-).
When I was walking Gedimino prospektas, the most representative street of Vilnius, from KGB museum towards parliament building I found this fountain on my picture. It was located on large cement sqaure (more trees there, please) between the parliament and the Lithuanian National Library buildings. There were quite many locals sitting and resting on benches put there.
I found these delightful bears on a storefront on Gedimino Prospect, I thought they were playing musical instruments but my friend Matcrazy1 says they are eating chocolate. You will have to visit his page to find out why.
I found this monument when I went through the gate at Didzioji gatve # 22. I saw winding backstreet not marked on my (the most detailed 1:8,000) map of Vilnius with the monument on the right. It was the monument of the greatest Polish poet and national bard of 19th century - Adam Mickiewicz.
Polish or Lithuanian poet?
He was born in Polish family in Novohrudak (Lithuania, Belarus now) and he wrote in Polish language. I always thought he was Polish although he wrote "Lithuania, my homecountry". Historicians says that many noble Poles living in Lithuania (which was united with Poland for over 400 years) in the past called themselves both citizens of Poland (larger homeland) and of Lithuania (smaller homeland).
Both Polish and Lithuanian :-)
It's interesting that another great Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, I met personally in Krakow, told me that he always had two homelands: first Poland and second Lithuania. He was born in Polish family close to Kedainiai, Lithuania. He was Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley. He was almost unknown in Poland since he won Nobel prize in 1980. Communist authorities of Poland were very confused about that.
Why I didn't learn history from books?
Look, my parents have large Polish encyclopedia from 70' with NO mention about Milosz and one from early 80' where there is a notice: "in his works Milosz acted against Poland". In real he acted against communist authorities of Poland but never against Poles. Hmm... that's why I never learned real history from officially published books in so called Polish People's Republic (communist regime, fake in real allien of the Soviet Union).
I found these two lovely Lithuanian wooden sculptures displayed on a backyard where a souvenir store full of similar but lower statues was placed.
How to get there?
From the Town Hall's square walk 2-3 min. southeast Didzioji gatve to triangle shape square with a parking lot, pass by the Lithuanian National Philharmony on the right, continue walk Ausros Vartu gatve (street), pass by St. Theresa's church on your left, the backyard on the right, before the Gates of Dawn.
This monument on my picture stood on a small square south of the church of St. Michael (A. Volano gatve) - nothing fancy but surely I wanted to know who was that guy. I got to know that Liudas Gira (1884 - 1946) was Lithuanian poet.
Follow the link below, please, to read a few his poems translated into English.
I found this wooden sculpture of a guy (father?, saint?) with a child on his hands put alone on messed backyard of St. Francis of Assisi church (Bernardinai). It looked interesting although somewhat out of the place there.
Well, wooden statues of saints but usually tall and thin were common not only in Vilnius. I could see them many times driving around Lithuania.
Seeing as rock and roller Frank Zappa had no connection to Vilnius, it's rather odd to come across a bronze bust of him here.
This is the world's first and only memorial to the man who gave the world such lyrics as "Watch out where the huskies go and don't you eat that yellow snow!" (which was the only song we could come up with quite Frankly) and fathered children with names such as Moon Unit and Dweezil.
Located in a little park on Kalinausko gatve near Pylimo gatve
Yes, they eat. At least in Vilnius.
I found these stone sculptures on my picture standing on a wall of a house at the western end of Gedimino Prospektas (Gedimino pr. 2). There was the entrance to great shoe store called "Danija" right to them.
The sculptures depicted three bears eating chocolate. I got to know that there was patisserie (cake shop) in this house at least during WWI (1914-1918) and it was run by Polish family.
There was a statue of a woman with a lamp in her rised right hand. It stood on a roof of tower-shape corner part of an old, Renaissance building. It stood on the northern bank of Neris River at the corner of Rinktines and Olimpieciu gatve (street).
Who was that woman statue? I though about Verona - the Goddess of Learning and Justice. But, I am not sure... She didn't keep an owl but a lamp in her hand.
After the wall came down, some Lithuanians wanted to erect a bust of Frank Zappa. At the time I took the photo, somebody decided to put a smoke in Frank's mouth. Maybe a bit disrespectful, but then again Frank liked to smoke!