Although technically in Vilnius, Užupis is a quirky independent republic in Lithuania. This means that it has its own president, flag, constitution, anthem and a navy with a few boats. They used to have an army (even if it did consist of only 12 men) before it was retired as there was no need for it.
We loved our visit because everywhere you look there are quirky statues. You can definitely tell that a majority of its population are artists!
Uzupis declared its independence on April 1st 1997, seemingly as an April fools joke. But since then it has blossomed into a quirky and bohemian republic.
Uzupis even has its own constitution which is listed in over 30 different languages. My favourite one is ‘A cat is not obliged to love its master, but it must help him in difficult times’. Other great ones are ‘A dog has the right to be a dog’ and the one that sums up Uzupis perfectly is ‘Everyone has the right to be unique’.
Next to the plaques is the official symbol of Uzupis, a blue hand with a hole in the middle. This symbolises the fact that they do not accept bribes.
The Angel of Uzupis
The Angel of Uzupis is the symbol of this tiny republic. This bronze sculpture is located in the main square and surrounded by colourful houses. The angel represents growth and rebirth. The trumpet is calling a free thinking age for its residents.
Opposite the statue is a drinking fountain which is said to pump beer all day on April 1st (their independence day). It sounds like a unique sight and is something I am hoping to see when I return to Lithuania.
The river is an important part of Uzupis and its name actually means ‘beyond the river’. Most of the statues are located along the river, including the small statue of the Uzupis mermaid (that we somehow managed to miss). It is said that if you make eye contact with her that you will return to Uzupis.
As well as statues, the trees along the river have been decorated with old records and books.
There is also a statue of Jesus with a backpack on, representing that he was the original backpacker.
We wish that we could have stayed for longer in Uzupis and am planning to spend a night there when we visit Lithuania again. It is so unique and has so much to see for such a tiny republic.
Whilst in Lithuania you must visit the: Hill of Crosses: How to get there and when to visit