The skyline of Vilnius is dominated by TV Tower located in the suburbs, southwest of the centre/downtown. With the height of 326 m (1071 ft) it was the tallest tower in Lithuania and the second tallest in the Baltic states after TV tower in Riga, Latvia.
At the height of 165 m there was a revolving cafe ("Paukaciu takas" = Milky Way) with an observation deck of possible visibility up to 50 km on clear day. I was told that there were bungee jumps from the deck for 200 Lt (60 ? or $50). More: click here.
The tower is a symbol of Lithuanian fight for independence against Soviet occupation.
On 13th January 1991 Soviets tried to regain control over Lithuania. First they wanted to take control over TV Tower. Thousands Lithuanians blocked the way, 13 died under Soviet tanks and many were wounded by bullets. Despite desperate resistance, Soviet troops managed to take control over the tower till Russia recognized Lithuanian independence almost half a year later. More on the TV tower massacre: read here.
There was a monument commemorating these tragic events I wanted to visit but... read in my tourist trap tip, please.
Sausio 13-osios st. 10,
Booking office for the Observation Deck:
Daily 10.00 am - 9.00 pm.
The observation deck:
Daily 10.00 am - 10.00 pm
Cafe "Milky Way":
Daily 10.00 am - 10.00 pm
12 Lt or 15 Lt (1 May - 15 Sept.).
I wanted to visit TV tower during my first visit to Vilnius but... read in my tourist trap tip, please. Well, during the second trip I had two quite good and detailed maps of Vilnius and finally I got there.
When I parked my car, first I saw round lawn full of not cut grass with crosses and sculptures put around. It was a monument commemorating tragic events of 13th January 1991 when thirteen civilians were shot dead or crushed by advancing Soviet tanks.
There was exposition of contemporary painting at the observation deck of Vilnius TV tower that was 165 m (541 ft) above earth level. I got to know that it was anniversary exhibition of artist Bronius Grusas which take place there in summer-autumn season.
Grusas is the most famous Lihuanian painter and founder of a new technique: glass and plastic. His paintings were displayed on expositions in Germany, Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Bolgaria. His paintings (hmm... expensive) are in private collections in the USA, Canada, Israel, Japan, italy, Spain, France and Bolgaria.
To see any details from the observation deck of Vilnius TV tower I had to zoom, zoom and zoom. Well, I didn't look through the binoculars on my picture. Instead, I used 7 x optical zoom of my camera and 12 x optical zoom of my movie camera.
Enjoy! Happy zooming!
Finally I got to the observation deck of Vilnius TV tower at the height of 165 m (541 ft) by fast (40 s) lift. There was a revolving cafe ("Paukaciu takas" = Milky Way) with an observation deck of possible visibility up to 50 km on clear day.
Well, I could see Belarus approx. 30 km to the East.
On the exposition in Vilnius Tower I found the list of numerous less and more famous people who came in person to Vilnius those days to support strugle for independence of Lithuania. From Poland I could find Adam Michnik, former Polish dissident, editor of the first free newspaper between Laba River and Vladivostok founded in 1989.
Many supporters came from Russia including Boris Jelcin, the President of Russian Federation soon later (1991 - 1999). Add others from 17 countries.
I had to wait almost one hour to get to the top of Vilnius tower (why? hmm... read in my Warnings Or Dangers tips). So, I visited in details and a few times small exposition put on the first floor of TV Tower building.
There were very interesting photographs, documents and information on the events which took place on 13th January 1991 displayed. The explanations were written both in Lithuanian and in English.
I could see (again) one of the most famous reportage photograph of 20th century: advancing Soviet tank surrounded by unarmed civilians trying desperately to stop the tank just crushing a body of one protester. This picture immediately landed on front pages of newspapers all over the world (free world to be more exact). I remember this photograph from the first non-communist newspaper in Poland called "Gazeta Wyborcza" (founded in 1989).
There were wooden crosses and statues put to commemorate victims of Soviet aggression against Vilnius TV towers and its defenders on 13th January 1991. This wooden sculpture/statue on my picture was of typical, Lithuanian design and was painted in common way. Later on I could find similar sculptures/statues around Lithuania.
This official monument or rather commemorative plaque put at the base of Vilnius TV tower didn't look beautiful. Much less interesting than the crosses and sculptures put close by anonymous people. The inscriptions was in Lithuanian and included 14 names of the victims of Soviet attack against Vilnius TV Tower or maybe better to say against Lithuanians fighting for independence. Well, I heard about 13 victims but there were 14 names put there. Why?
This cross on my picture was put at the base of Vilnius TV tower among a few other crosses and staues. There were passport pictures of the victims of 13th January 1990 put on the cross. On that day Soviet tanks and troops attracked Vilnius TV tower defended by unarmed crowds of civilians. Therteen people were shot dead or crushed by advancing Soviet tanks.