Town Hall square, Vilnius
The first mention of a Town Hall in Vilnius was way back in 1432, but the present building is from 1799. I only had a look from the outside... and it is a beautiful old building with 6 columns and the coat-of-arms of Vilnius – St. Christopher and baby Jesus - on the main facade.
During the years, the Town Hall building has been used as a theatre and also an art museum, and is today used for concerts, exhibitions, meetings etc... The New Municipality Building is located at the Europe Square.
The square is quite long and in the shape of a triangle with the base towards the Gate of Dawn. It's an inviting area in the summer to take a rest and something to eat or drink.
Town Hall originally was a Gothic design building then it was changed to Neo classical style and remained the same till today. The building was designed by Laurynas Gucevius in 1799.
In her past times it was a city theatre used for various theatre groups/personal performers. The famous Polish composer Stanislaw Moniuszko had performed at Town Hall. It had housed the Lithuanian Art Museum, courtrooms, treasury and archives. Also there was a time when a prison was established downstairs of the town hall.
Today the Town Hall is serves for visitors of important overseas delegates, political, cultural and public events, city ceremonies, concerts, exhibitions, Balls of nobility, and other important events.
Today Town Hall Square is a place to eat, drink be merry, where tourist congregate, where the local take their wedding photos and is a place to tie the knot. There are churches, government buildings, restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, small open market selling lots of crafts. In the old days there were shops selling salt, meat and iron products.
A Town Hall has been in this central spot in Vilnius since 1432, but the current Neo-Classical incarnation was built only in the 18th century. Only the original Gothic cellars remain. It's mostly a working building, but the flags and red carpet have occasionally been rolled out visiting dignitaries, like George W. Bush and Queen Elizabeth II.
At the heart of the old town in Vilnius is the Town Hall Square. Traditionally a place where merchants from all over Europe would come and sell wares from Edinburgh to Naples, it is now a wide open space filled with restaurants, shops, museums and government buildings. There's still the occasional craft fair, like Kaziuko, but this has to vie for space with concerts and national celebrations.
As we walked through the Old Town we eventually came to the old Town Hall, the present building built towards the end of the 18th century. Town Hall.s have been on this site for centuries previously.
A nice building, but nothing special compared to other buildings in nthe Old Town.
We did not attempt to enter.
The main city hall's building was constructed by similar architect which designed Cathedral, Presidential Palace. A lot performances can be found in town hall too.
Town Hall Square, as in most medieval towns, was the centre of town life. Markets, fairs, judicial punishments, ranging from stocks and pillory to executions, as well as official receptions took place here.
At the moment in the building of town hall exhibitions is taking place. In town hall square you can see pointers to famous places of Vilnius - it is really useful.
The oldest known Town Hall is mentioned as early as 1432 and stood in the same place as the current one. The town hall has been rebuilt more than once. during the renovations in 1680 the exterior was decorated with sculptures of angels. In 1725 a clock and a bells were raised into the tower. Following a fire the tower had begun to be rebuilt, but one night in 1781 it toppled over onto the town hall and was never rebuilt.
Vilnius Town Hall stands in the centre of the Old Town but outwardly it is quite modest. The simplest and least expensive project was chosen for its construction. At that time Vilnius was a province of united Poland-Lithuania and it could have been the reason why more decorative projects were rejected. The town Hall was designed by L Stuoka-Gucevicius. It took 10 years to complete the exterior but the work on the interior design continued into the beginning of the 19th century.
The Town Hall Square in Vilnius was not laid out "according to a rope", as in many European cities or, for example, the second-largest Lithuanian city, Kaunas. Instead, it developed naturally at the intersection of several of the most important roads. In its irregular form it is very similar to the market squares of small towns in Lithuania, only incomparably larger. Buildings surrounding the square experienced an endless series of misfortunes and reconstruction, but even the Second World War and the post-war period did not destroy this unique urban space. In its center stands the one-of-a-kind classical Town Hall of Vilnius, which lacks the usual features one might expect in a Town Hall.
The building was designed at the end of the 18th century by the famous architect, Laurynas Stuoka-Gucevicius (1753-1798). The square, two-story structure, with its six Doric columns supporting its portico, faces a triangular square, looking out on the beginning of Pilies (Castle) Street.
Vilnius old town has many narrow streets, but really few squares, this is one of them!
Here you can find the neoclassical Town Hall (with the Information centre), but you won't see it on my picture since the sun was in front of me! ;-)
All buildings have been restored, and there are many open-air cafés and bars, as well as restaurants. It's a pity it's not a pedestrian zone, so beware of cars while walking around the square!
The house of guildhall is in the centre of the Old Vilnius. There is the tourist information centre where anyone can get free map of the centre of Vilnius. In the information centre can buy postcards with Vilnius views and informative books. Very good place, really. More about all this things is tere: TIC@vilnius.lt and www.vilnius.lt
When I walked Didzioju gatve (Large Street) southwards I entered a triangle square where the street splited into two streets. It was Town Hall Square (Rotuses aikste). The square was closed by large, white, clasic style building on the south. It was Vilnius Town Hall rebuilt at the end of 18th century.
Well, being originally the town hall (seat of city authorities) it served as a theater where world premiere of Polish national opera, "Halka" by Moniuszko took place on 1st January 1848. The theatre was close by Russian authorities (like most Polish institutions) after anti-tzar uprising in 1863-1864. It was re-opened in 1906 and closed again in 1942. In Soviet times it was a representative seat of Lithuanian artists where many events took place. Nowadays it's partly open to the public. If you go earlier than me you can visit its gothic cellars and historical expostion.
On December 2002, the president of the USA, George Bush stood on Town Hall stairs and congratulated Lithuania welcoming to NATO. Lithuania finally joined NATO on 29th March 2004. It was very touching to see (on TV news) tears of Lithuanian Prime Minister (or President) at the celebration of NATO enlargement. After many years of bondage and repressions under Soviet regime it's no wonder that he was moved to tears.
In the past the Town Hall was the central point in the life of the whole city and the nearby square was the place of executions, marketplaces and public life.
In front of the Town Hall stood a pillory where the criminals were flogged by the executioner. Here also stood a tower with the clock and bells.
Its a famous square and its a good place to start walking backward (shorter) and forward on the Pilles street.