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29 August 2015
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Lithuania's seaside is now at its very best and most alluring. Long, lazy days under a sun that shines more here than anywhere
else in Northern Europe, watching the slow waves that roll against the Baltic Sea’s endless white, soft sand beaches.
A visit to the Palanga pier is a must if you are in Lithuania these days…

Photo: Aage Myhre


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      A New Vytautas Kasiulis Art Museum is Open

      The Vytautas Kasiulis Art Museum is a new unit of the Lithuanian Art Museum, open to public from 28 of June. Vytautas Kasiulis has fully deserved to be called by art reviewers as one of the most interested painters of Paris school of the second half of 20th century.
      Read more

      Culture Night –
      “Let There Be Night!”

      Vilnius Old Town

      Music jingling all night long from the abandoned backyard in Vilnius old town, never-ending movie show in the meadow at the Baltasis Bridge, concerts, performances, exhibitions, workshops, and installations taking place on the streets, squares, and the most unexpected spaces... The entire city is filled with music, colors, lights, and smiles. And this is not a dream or a motive from a motion-picture. All this is the Culture Night.

      New Self-Serve Bike Rental System in Vilnius

      Starting July 15th, bikes will be available for self-serve rental for Vilnius residents and visitors. At the rental stations, bikes will be available for rent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The stations will be distributed at distances of 300-400m from each other. The bike rental season will extend to October 15th.
      Read more

      Discover Vilnius Old Town

      If you came to Vilnius on your own and want to become acquainted with the city, to see its most beautiful sites, we invite you to join the tour Discover Vilnius Old Town. Tours are organised in English, Russian & German languages and start at 11 am from Cathedral Belfry.
      Read more

      Listen to the
      Sounds of Music

      Various Places
      2013-07-021 – 2013-09-08

      This is an international Christopher Summer Festival that abides by the rule “all genres are good except the boring ones”. It is one of the biggest summer events in Vilnius, which attracts numerous performers from Lithuania and other countries. A limitless, happy, eclectic marathon of fun “holiday” concerts is about to begin!
      Read more

      Days of Live Archaeology
      in Kernavė

      Cultural Reserve of Kernavė
      Kerniaus g. 4a, Kernavė
      2013-07-06 – 2013-07-07

      The past will rise from the oblivion in the ancient capital of Lithuania. Festival of experimental archaeology is dedicated to commemorate the Coronation of Mindaugas – the Statehood Day. During the festival visitors will have a possibility to try various medieval games and funfairs, watch the craftsmen work.

      Tamsta Music Festival

      2013-07-12 – 2013-07-14

      July 12-14 – that's the weekend, when Lithuanians and their friends from all over the World are going to Trakai. Friendly atmosphere, tones of music, love, entertainment, games, beautiful nature and water – this festival is “a must” of this summer.

      Vilnius Tourist Information Centre & Convention Bureau
      Vilniaus g. 22 LT-01119 Vilnius

    • Israeli President Shimon Peres invited to head the advisory board for restoration of the Vilnius Great Synagogue

      The government of Lithuania asked Israeli President Shimon Peres to head the international advisory board for the restoration of the Vilnius Great Synagogue.

      “The [restoration] project is an important part of the effort to both preserve and restore Vilnius’ Jewish heritage, and I think that President Peres could bring valuable guidance and insight to our project,” Vilnius Mayor Arturas Zuokas said, according to the Baltic Review news site.

      The comprehensive restoration and construction project could be completed as early as 2017, according to Tuesday’s report.
      The offer came during a visit to Israel this week by Zuokas and Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius in which they met with Peres.

      If Peres agrees, he would join Lithuania’s former President Valdas Adamkus, current Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius and the prominent architect Daniel Liebeskind, who are all members of the board.

      The Great Synagogue in Vilnius was an icon of Lithuanian and Eastern European Jewish culture before it was ruined during World War II and demolished in the 1950s. From the 16th through the 20th centuries, it was among the best-known synagogues in Central Europe.



      The Great Vilna Synagogue

      The Great Synagogue of Vilna which once stood at the end of Jewish Street in the centre of Vilnius (where today’s courtyard between Vokieciu Street and Stikliu Street is located), was built between 1630-1633 after permission was granted to construct a synagogue from stone. Standing on the spot of an existing synagogue built in 1572, the site had first been used to house a Jewish house of prayer in 1440.

      According to legend it was so magnificent and impressive, Napoleon who stood on the threshold of this synagogue in 1812 and gazed at the interior was speechless with admiration. The synagogue had a number of entrances. One, at street level, consisted of a pair of iron gates which, had been donated by a tailors’ society in 1640. The other entrance on the western side, added in 1800, was a bit more imposing. An elevated two-tiered wooden gable with a portal and wrought iron posts. There was a heavy iron door with an original Hebrew inscription indicating it was a gift of a "society of Psalm reciters" in 1642.


    • Air Lituanica launches ticket sales

      Air Lituanica company with its partner, commercial flight operator Estonian Air, launches ticket sales to direct and connecting flights.

      Through an agreement with the Estonian airline, Air Lituanica will offer flights to more than 100 cities.
      Air Lituanica will offer passengers three types of tickets. EcoTravel tickets are for budget travellers. Flexi Travel are for those who need flexibility – passengers can change the flight time of these tickets, if their travel plans change. Club type tickets are offered for flexibility and comfort seekers – Air Lituanica will offer them to wait for the flight in business class lounges, along with a quick safety check service, and if the travel plans change, tickets can be returned.

      “As a result of commercial cooperation with Estonian Air, we begin ticket sales via Estonian Air ticket distribution channels,” says Erikas Zubrus, director of Air Lituanica. “Tickets are already available in ticketing systems, so tomorrow or in a few days at the latest travel agents begin offering them, while in the near future tickets will be available also on the Air Lituanica website”.


    • Europe house
      “Europe House” opened in Vilnius

      President Dalia Grybauskaitė together with President of the European Parliament (EP) Martin Schulz and Vice-President of the European Commission (EC), Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Viviane Reding opened the Europe House in Gediminas Avenue in Vilnius. Under one roof here come all European Union institutions operating in Lithuania: the Representation of the European Commission, the Information Office of the European Parliament and the European Institute for Gender Equality. The Europe House will host an open for all visitors library, various seminars, meetings and discussions. Here one will find new publications, video and audio materials relating to the European Union.

      President Dalia Grybauskaitė’s
      fourth State of the Nation:
      We are again on the path of success
      Dalia Grybauskaitė

      President Dalia Grybauskaitė delivered her fourth State of the Nation Address at the Seimas (Parliament). Inviting all to an open conversation about the place of Lithuania in the world and about the situation in Lithuania, the President underscored the contribution of the people to transforming Lithuania and initiating changes, and drew attention to new threats to national development. "After many challenges, we are once again on the path of success. This year the name of Lithuania resonated among the best European economists, investors, athletes, innovators, and many others. Europe and the world have recognized the efforts of our people. Lithuania - small as it is - is emerging as a country of great ability," the President said.


      Lithuania is taking over Presidency of EU Council from Ireland
      Lithuania is taking over Presidency of EU Council from Ireland

      President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, Enda Kenny. This meeting marks the final phase of Lithuania's preparations for the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The President and the Irish Prime Minister discussed the goals achieved during the Irish Presidency and works left, as well as priorities of Lithuania which will soon take over the helm of the EU Council from Ireland. "Soon we will take over from Ireland the presidency of the EU Council. Our presidency will ensure the continuity of works as the priorities of Ireland and Lithuania are similar -EU's financial stability, economic growth and job creation, and openness to foreign partners. This is Ireland's seventh presidency of the EU Council, therefore we highly appreciate the support of the country with vast experience," the President said.

    • Could Lithuania help Turkey step up EU accession?

      The Lithuania Tribune recently presented an article by Viktor Denisenko on the developments in the Turkey-EU negotiation process, as published by Centre for Geopolitical Studies in Lithuania (Geopolitika).

      The visit of the Turkish President Abdullah Gülo to Lithuania at the beginning of April was important not only for the bilateral relations but also with respect to the approaching Lithuania‘s EU presidency.

      Some time ago Lithuania has expressed its clear position on Turkey‘s membership in the EU. During the visit President Dalia Grybauskaitė reassured Abdullah Gülo that one of the strategic aims of Lithuania‘s presidency is “not only to resume but also to step up the negotiation process between Turkey and the EU”.


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Sun, 30th June, 2013 - Posted by | Comments (0)

What’s wrong with Europe
and how to fix it?

Valdas Samonis

Lithuania will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2013, starting from the 1st of July. VilNews has on this background asked readers to annotate and analyze factors that have to do with Europe, the EU, the euro and Lithuania. This is one of the posts we have received.

An article by Valdas Samonis, PhD, CPC
The Web Professor of Global Management(SM)

Cutting through the EU bureaucratic gobbledygook
Part 2

The more I am into my research on my forthcoming book
"INSIDER CRONY SOCIALISM", the more I see the parallels
between the Gorbachev's USSR and Barroso's EU!

Collapsing EUSSR under Reformer Barrosov?
Pray that God gives more wisdom to European Leaders!

I have to admit it.

The more I am into my research on my forthcoming book "INSIDER CRONY SOCIALISM", the more I see the parallels between the Gorbachev's USSR and Barroso's EU!


Category : Front page
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“If you seek wisdom, Vilnius is the place to go”

Wed, 19th June, 2013 - Posted by | Comments (1)

Adv. Marcelle Juliet Saul Sheiman, an attorney to the Supreme Court of the Republic of South Africa and Israeli advocate, who attended the World Lithuania Economic Forum in Vilnius earlier this month. Marcelle Juliet Saul Sheiman (MS) currently serves as Chairman of the Israel-South Africa Chamber of Commerce.

South African attorney Marcelle Juliet Saul Sheiman:
Lithuanian Impressions 2010

I am in Lithuania now and described my thoughts last night when I went along to the Shabbat dinner hosted by the Vilna Chabad Rabbi Krinsky: ones of belonging and identity.

I described these thoughts and feelings to the guests there - a community of English Jews who came as part of Jewish Journeys, a Canadian Rabbi and his wife, the Israeli now living in Lithuania and studying at its universities, and to the very elderly community members who were there (a meager amount of people). This followed the short lecture by the Rabbi as to Shavuot, and numbers - and how people were and are counted and the meaning of numbers in our life. He spoke of the being part of the Jewish people and how some no longer want to be a part of it and of the many dead.

I started telling the people about my feelings on landing in Lithuania – one of sadness in what was – the rise and fall of Yiddish civilization and how much had been and how many had lived and then also the feeling of belonging, something in me of belonging here. There was a part of me that was here.

I also very much felt a sense of belonging that night – interestingly enough juxtaposed to what was expressed by one person – his sense of alienation in Lithuania.


Category : Front page

Wed, 19th June, 2013 - Posted by | Comments (1)

90% of all Jews in
South Africa are Litvaks

Text and photos: Aage Myhre

It is considered that around 90% of the approximately 80,000 Jews living in South Africa are of Lithuanian descent (the so-called Litvaks), which thus constitutes the largest pocket of Litvaks in the world! You are hereby invited to learn more about this unique Jewish community that still holds Lithuania alive in their hearts, museums and synagogues.

The Jewish Museum in Cape Town is more Lithuanian than Lithuania itself.

The Jewish Museum in Cape Town offers visitors a journey back in time. Most museums do. The striking feature of this museum, however, is that the journey to the past also brings us to a completely different part of our world, from Africa's southern tip to a seemingly modest little country far to the north, to a country where around 90% of South Africa's Jewish population has its roots (there are today about 80,000 Jews in South Africa).

The museum's basement is dominated by a village environment (shtetl) from the late 1800s. A few houses are reconstructed in full scale, and you can clearly see how people lived and co-existed at the time. The village is called Riteve. It was recreated in the museum on the basis of entries made in the 1990s by a group of experts who went from South Africa to Lithuania to find traces of the family of the museum's founder, Mendel Kaplan.

The village is called Rietavas in Lithuanian. It is there to this day, less than a half hour drive from Klaipeda, at the highway direction Kaunas and Vilnius. The Kaplan family emigrated from here in the 1920s, while the village's population was still 90% Jewish. Today, no Jews live in Rietavas.


Category : Front page / Litvak forum

Sad fate of wooden synagogues in Lithuania

Wed, 19th June, 2013 - Posted by | Comments (0)

Inside of former synagogue. Used for storage (Photo: AFP)

Lithuania's wooden synagogues, the vestiges of a Jewish presence which was wiped out in the Holocaust, are falling into ruin from a lack of funding and support.

Hidden behind a row of houses, the wooden synagogue in the eastern town of Alanta looks more like a barn than a former house of worship.

This rundown building, which served as a fertilizer warehouse during the days of state farms, is now used for storage by Algis Jakutonis, a farmer living next door.

"I store my stuff there, and we still find traces of the Soviet era," said the 60-something Jakutonis, while displaying the large iron key to the former synagogue, which he acquired before Lithuania's independence in 1990.


Category : Front page / Litvak forum


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    • Vilnius authorities
      ban upcoming
      Baltic Pride march

      Vilnius municipal authorities ban the upcoming Baltic Pride march, even if Lithuania’s Supreme Administrative Court this week confirmed a ruling from the First Instance Court, stating that the Vilnius municipality was in breach of domestic law on peaceful assemblies by denying the possibility for the march to take place in the city centre.

      Last January, Vilnius municipal authorities said the march could not be held along the Gediminas Avenue, in the centre of the city, claiming it would force shops and hotels to shut down due to security concerns, and, instead, proposed a secluded location along the banks of the Neris River.

      Municipal authorities also claim the proposed route is too close to judicial and governmental buildings, raising national security concerns. However, in the past, demonstrations have been allowed on the same avenue.

      “The decision to ban the Baltic Pride march on security grounds is disproportionate, given that the Vilnius authorities refused to engage in constructive discussions with the Lithuania Gay League, despite rulings by domestic Courts’ saying that negotiations had to be re-opened,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International.

      Amnesty International has launched a petition calling on Lithuanian authorities to ensure the event takes place according to the organizers’ plans and that adequate protection is provided.

      The Vilnius municipal authorities sought to block the first Baltic Pride in Vilnius in 2010, but the event ultimately went ahead following a court-ruling.

      “It is frankly amazing that three years after the first Baltic Pride in Vilnius, we are back in exactly the same situation as before, with the City authorities openly refusing to respect the freedom of assembly of Pride participants and seemingly prepared to ignore administrative court rulings.”


      Arunas Teiserskis The problem here is social conservatism, which has nothing to do with nationhood or freedom. Discrimination of gays was just recently widely accepted by lots of societies in the world and even enshrined in many religions (and still is). So changing this attitude won't be easy and will definitely not be done by means of directives "from above". Take note, that Lithuanian people were liberated from Soviet ideology, which they tried to replace either by Western liberalism or the same Western mainly Christian conservatism. And both proponents of those conflicting ideologies are accusing each other of being Soviet-style, what doesn't help to discuss in calm fashion. And by virtue of being anti-Soviet even neo-Nazis are deemed by social conservatives as less appalling than the open gayness. This problem exists in the West as well (especially taking into account recent decision of Supreme Court in the US, because if there were no problems with than, there would have been no need of Supreme Court involvement), so this is just another case of worldwide problem in separate country - which should be confronted, of course. Though one didn't talk about the whole US and its all population acting in backward and primitive fashion, when the DOMA was voted in. So please reserve your criticism for the conservative part of Lithuanian society, not the whole country. Especially when the Lithuanian court already ruled out that Vilnius Municipality's policies towards the parade broke the already existing Lithuanian laws.

      Mary Ann Albee Bigotry in any form is still spelled the same.

      Ricardas Cepas If somebody decided to be Napoleon or Czar they have medical atention. If sobebody decides to be Gay, their rights are protected. Thats not fair towards Napoleons or Czars;)

      Arunas Teiserskis Ricardai, AFAIK, rights of "Napoleons and Czars" in modern society are to be equally protected as well of all other people, no matter what you decide or born to be. You should check your (total lack of) knowledge on legal matters in this field, if you think it is lawful in Lithuania to discriminate against people with mental disorder (not talking about your ethics to mock on this issue in this discussion).

      Mary Ann Albee Being gay is not a mental illness nor does it use brutal and deadly force against those who do not march to their drummer.

      Timotiejus Sevelis AMEN Sista!

      Don't forget, GAYS are environmentally friendly....We don't add new people to the planet!!! LOL

      NOW!! get out of my bedroom and let me have fun with my boyfriend!!!

      Ricardas Cepas Arunas,
      1. My problem is not that you Gay, its your private choice, my problem is, that you promote your private choice to children and people, which did not born Gay and you do it outside of your private life and do that hiding behind core values of human rights. By the way, Nazis use this strategy to come to power back then.

      2. You mentioned "modern societies" it usually comes and goes, in my humble opinion, its more fashion of these years, then shift of core values, for some of us fortunatelly for some unfortunatelly. But I agree fashion always was hot topic. Remember Hipies "free love" movements? Where are they today?
      So choice of promoting Gays by any means in press, demonstrations and etc., looks like natural survival strategy worldwide and has nothing to do with Human rights.

      3. And if you born Gay-be it, dont promote it to children who were not born Gays. Respect their rights similary like I respect your private choice.

      Linas Johansonas Ricardas Cepas Gays are born gay. And every gay was a child. What kind of "promotion" are you afraid of for children? You cannot turn a child or adult gay. Just like you didn't choose to be straight. It happens naturally within us. There is nothing wrong with teaching children that there are gay people in the world. It's a part of life.

      and yes Ricardai, gay rights have to do with human rights.

      Ricardas Cepas Linas Johansonas, Children are addicts to any advertising and they tent to try stuff when its promoted everywhere so hard.

      Arunas Teiserskis Ricardai, I'm not gay, I'm very straight, married and have children. Meanwhile you're obviously dumb. Because you don't realize, that one in no possible means can "advertise" any straight person into being gay. And vice versa. It's not drugs and neither it is fashion. Go and educate yourself a bit, before pretending being smart.

      Linas Johansonas  Ricardas Cepas: no one is promoting gay sex to them. For example, the gay march is about gay rights, not sex. yes, some teenagers do experiment with gay sex just like they experiment with straight sex & you know what, thats how some find out whether they are straight or gay. Teenagers having sex is going to happen without any promotion. It's a fact of life. Thats why you have to have sex education for teens. As for young children, they aren't developed enoiugh to be interested in any sex.

      Wyman Brent I am straight and married and my wife and I will soon have our first child. We do not believe that knowing gay people exists will turn our child gay. He may be born gay but it will have nothing to do with the knowledge that others are gay. That would be like saying all gay people will become straight because they know that most people are straight.

    • How can we make the world aware of Lithuania, its 50 years of nonviolant resistance against the USSR?

      GameChanger: A film about Lithuania's nonviolent resistance

      Ruta Musonis 
      This is great, Aage!!

      David Zincavage 
      My grandfather came to America in 1912 after violently resisting the Russian Occupation.

      Mia Pia 
      My grandparents and parents lost everything, due to the violent wars and occupation by the USSR.

      Ida Hardy 
      We need a feature film like Hunting for Red October - but with more of the details of Lithuania. Or an epic romance featuring the beautiful countryside, following ten generations and what they saw in their lifetime. But whoever writes it please let there be a happy ending?

      Aage Myhre 
      Rima Alessandra, please let Ida Hardy have some idea about your potential 'happy ending'

      Rima Alessandra Gungor,
      GameChanger Director, at the remaining barricade elements that still remain outside the Parliament as visible symbols of Lithuania's nonviolent revolution in 1991.

    • Lithuanian Midsummer

      Midsummer Day is a festival of simple people, connected with the veneration of fire. Young girls adorn their heads with flower wreaths. A tall pole with a wooden wheel soaked in tar or filled with birch bark is hoisted at the top of the highest hill in the vicinity. Men whose names are Jonas (John) set the wheels on fire and make bonfires around it. In some places a second pole is hoisted with flowers and herbs. Young people dance round the fire, sing songs about rye, play games, men try to jump over the fire. The burning wheels on the poles are rolled down the hill into a river or a lake at its foot, men jumping over it all along. On the Midsummer Day people weed the rye and burn all the weeds.

      On Midsummer Day's morning witches acquire special powers, they drag towels over the dewy grass to affect cows' milk. To save their cows from the witches' magic farmers shut them in cowsheds for the Midsummer Night and stick bunches of nettle in the door to scare the witches away. On Midsummer Day cows are driven out to pasture in the early after- noon when there is no more dew on the grass. Horses, however, are left to graze in the open throughout the night, or the witches magic has no effect on them.

      On Midsummer Day dew has special healing powers. Young girls wash their faces in it to make themselves beautiful, older people do the same to make themselves younger. It is good to walk barefoot in dew on Midsummer Day's morning, for it saves the skin from getting chapped.

      Midsummer Day and the time immediately preceding it is believed to have special powers. Medicinal herbs collected from June 1 to the Midsummer Day can cure 12 (some say 99) diseases.

      Read more…

      Ida Hardy
      What are YOU doing for this year's Solstice and Super Moon?

      Boris Bakunas What a wonderful post! Thank you, Ida!

      Sandra Abramovich Love this and am sharing it!

      Ida Hardy Thank Aage Myhre - he's the original! It is a beautiful description isn't it? Are you doing something special?

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VilNews e-magazine is a leading online source for Lithuania-related news, opinion blogs and information – for readers in 183 countries over the entire globe. Around one third of our readers are living in the U.S., one third in Lithuania, and the rest in virtually every corner of the world. VilNews attracts around 35.000 visitors and 1,8 million article hits per month.  VilNews consists of 24 sections with huge amounts of background information as well as news from and about Lithuania and its diasporas around the globe.

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