There has never been a better time to visit Lithuania than now as the country enters its second Millennium. Exactly one thousand years later, capital Vilnius has a golden opportunity to reveal its secrets as the European Capital of Culture 2009. The year has seen more than 300 events planned across Vilnius, in addition to 120 projects scheduled for 2010 and 2011 to continue the celebrations.
The capital Vilnius will play host to various festivals from classical music to the Millennium Song and Dance festival, which is attended by over 40 thousand folk dancers and singers worldwide. Kaunas will attract visitors with medieval festivals, while Klaipeda will host Tall Ships’ Races and the festival of European folk culture EUROPEADE.
If you can’t make it this summer due to a slightly restrictive flight schedule, not to worry, Aer Lingus have decided to launch direct flights to Vilnius, which is great news indeed! The new convenient and competitively priced flights will definitely help to attract more tourists from the UK. Direct flights to Vilnius will commence on 10th September, 3 times a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). Daily flights start on 24th October. Aer Lingus already operates flights from Dublin to Vilnius 3 times a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). Tickets to Vilnius are on sale from 9th June, and will be available for travel from the 10th September. For more information on fares and schedules please log onto www.aerlingus.com.
Events Schedule: Vilnius
Vilnius Opera Festival (9 June – 6 July)
The first International Opera Festival will be presenting acknowledged classics of the genre and modern experimental works, most famous theatre troupes, creative team members and artists from Lithuania and abroad, unique works dedicated especially to the festival. www.opera.lt
The Millennium Song Festival (1-6 July)
Continuing our country’s significant cultural tradition dating back to the memorable 1924, the Millennium Song Festival of Lithuania in Vilnius is being arranged. That will be one of the most prominent events in celebration of the Millennium of Lithuania. The traditions and symbolism of Lithuania’s Song and Dance festivals was proclaimed by UNESCO as the masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. The parade of participants, the folk art exhibition, concerts of artistic collectives, the joint performance of amateur theatres “Amerika pirtyje” and many other events will take place. About 40,000 performers from Lithuania and emigrants from all over the world will take part in different programmes. www.dainusvente.lt
Grand Official Opening of the Reconstructed Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania (06 July)
The restoration of Palace of the Grand Dukes in 2009 is one of the most important projects dedicated to Lithuania’s millennium anniversary. The reconstructed Palace will represent a national pride and will be a powerful reminder of Lithuania’s strong traditions as a state. Also it will be an educational centre meant to promote a greater understanding of the country’s history and cultural heritage. http://www.valdovurumai.lt/Istorija/Rumu_istorija.en.htm
Christopher Summer Festival (1 July – 28 August)
The Christopher Summer Festival is the largest and one of the most impressive summer events in Vilnius, which will take place for the 15th time in 2009. The conception of the festival was to be original—in that the events, music and theatre premieres, exceptional projects and performances would be executed in the unique surroundings of Vilnius’ architecture and in the unique courtyards and churches of the Old Town so that it would be especially interesting for both visitors and residents of Vilnius. http://www.kristupofestivaliai.lt/ ; http://www.vilnius-tourism.lt/
Klezmer Festival (25-29 August)
Klezmer Music Festival – the first in the Baltic States will confirm once again that Vilnius has been open to different nations, religions and cultures at all times. The main idea of the Festival is to introduce music which can be played and enjoyed irrespective of religion. http://www.culturelive.lt/en/2009/events2009-re/2009re-4a-9/
Events Schedule: Kernavė:
Festival of experimental archaeology of live archaeology: “Days of Live Archaeology” (4- 6 July)
During the festival prehistoric and early medieval crafts, lifestyle, medieval fights are being demonstrated and archaic music groups perform. A historic and cultural heritage of Lithuania and other European countries from prehistoric to late medieval times will be presented during the event, through the methods of experiment and archaeological reconstruction. http://www.culturelive.lt/en/2009/millennium/kernave/
Events Timetable: Kaunas:
Pazaislis Music festival in Kaunas (01 June – 31 August)
Since 1996 when the first Pažaislis music festival took place a lot of representatives of music elite had visited Lithuania. Festival is famous for the fact, that the listeners of the most particular taste may find in the schedule of the festival something what interests them, starting from the old music and finishing with jazz, from the subtle chamber music to the grand vocal instrumental pieces, from the modern music premieres to the impressive pageants of Lithuanian dramaturgy in the approaches of Kaunas Castle. http://visit.kaunas.lt
Hansa Kaunas 2009 (22 – 23 August)
The Midlle Ages, the knights, and Hansa markets in Kaunas downtown. http://visit.kaunas.lt
Events Timetable: Elaipėda:
Sea Festival (25-26 July) Annual
The main event of Klaipėda city, celebrated annually last week-end of July since 1934. During the festival there are more than 100 various events organized (concerts, fairs, exhibitions, artistic actions, ceremonies of seamen, etc.). It is also famous for traditional sailing regattas BALTIC SAIL and SPRINT CUP taking place during the festival. More than 500 thousands of people are coming to the city during the festival. http://www.klaipedainfo.lt/en/index.php?page=7&sub=18
EUROPEADE (The festival of European folk culture) (22 – 26 July) only this year
For the first time European folk culture festival “Europeade” will take place in Lithuania, in Klaipėda.
The main goal of the festival is „free and peaceful Europe, where cultures of different nations coexist together“. Thus there are cultural forms of more than 20 European States presented during five days of „Europeade“ and thousands of Europeans (approx. 5 thousands) have their folk-art meeting with dances, songs and music.
Klaipėda will become the 25th city, which has been honoured to accept festival for the 46th time and to present uniqueness of our country and its culture, but also contribute to the creation of an image of the country, which cherishes its identity in the framework of Lithuanian Millennium program. www.europeade.eu
The Tall Ships Races Baltic 2009 (31 July – 3 August) only this year
The first regatta of sail training ships “The Tall Ships’ Races” held from Great Britain to Portugal in 1956, had to mark the end of “the epoch of sails”. But, actually, it happened to prophesy a new era for sailing ships and sail training. Every year the regattas are organized in different seas, but they always cover three routes and are hosted by four ports of different countries. In 2009 Klaipeda will host the finals of the regatta. The event is dedicated to the Millennium of the Name of Lithuania. www.talships.lt