Vilniaus Šv. Stanislovo ir Šv. Vladislovo arkikatedra bazilika (or as I know it the “White Cathedral”)

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I made one of my regular trips to Vilnius in Lithuania on the 4 October 2016 and stayed for six days. On this occasion the weather was atrocious, virtually non stop rain for the duration of my visit. This is very unusual as I have been visiting the city since 2006, made over thirty visits and, in every month of the year except July.

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I have braved -30c degree temperatures in winter and around 28c in summer but I have never experienced such awful weather as in my last visit. In spite of this I managed to get out and about to take some photographs and it was whilst walking past the Vilniaus Šv. Stanislovo ir Šv. Vladislovo arkikatedra bazilika that I noticed the beautiful decoration around the main door.

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No one seemed to know exactly what it was for but it was suggested it was for some festival that is celebrated at the church. They reminded me a little of the “well dressings” that take place each year in Derbyshire villages.

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A close inspection of the tabard showed it to be made of dried and pressed flowers and plants, straw, ribbon and small pieces of what appeared to be a kind of sackcloth. From a distance the decorations looked very impressive, but close up they were stunningly beautiful and intricate.

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Of course a visit to the cathedral requires time to spend admiring the architecture from different vantage points in cathedral square, where you are as likely to meet groups of Polish and Japanese tourists as very young children practicing their skateboard skills. All done under the watchful eye of the statue of Gediminas which overlooks the square.

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Yes, the weather was crap, but I still find the city fascinating and wandered about at times in the rain, particularly parts of the “old town.” What did strike me was the amount of development work taking place, new build and the refurbishment of old buildings with the aim of preserving their “look” at least on the outside.

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So do not let my complaints of the weather prevent you from visiting this wonderful little capital city. It has much to offer culturally (excellent opera house where I saw La Boheme on most recent visit), historically it is fascinating, some cracking eating houses (try Bistro 18 and the fish cake starter in particular), and of course a visit to the hill of three crosses is essential to understand the “soul” of Lithuania.

Photographs (c) Kindadukish 2016

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