One city, two very different ways of seeing it.
During my short time in Vilnius, Lithuania, I took a tour. This wasn’t your average tour of the city and its old town, this was a tour of the unseen.
‘Undiscovered Vilnius‘ to be precise run by Free Vilnius Tours.
Take a look at this photograph below I took in Vilnius City centre on October 5th 2019.
Would you believe this photograph below was taken the same day just a 5 minute walk away?
I’m sure you’d believe me if I put the two together..
This is one of the most interesting sights I’ve ever encountered within a city.
Of course you are always going to find a contrast between rich and poor within the city. You can even see it in a lot of cities within the UK as soon as you venture to the outskirts.
But never have I ever seen such a contrast from one street literally to the next.
There are houses here that people still live in amongst office buildings and skyscrapers.
What I found fascinating is the stories about those who have lived in these houses and may still live in them.
This is the oldest house in Vilnius, 300 years old, and I love how you can see the contrast between this and that in the background.
When Lithuanian residents were promised a roof over their head it was never specified what that would involve. So often you had a few seperate families living under one roof! They painted the houses to reflect who lived in which section of each house and you can still see that today.
I think the colours make the houses look really unique and beautiful actually.
The unofficial name for this area of Vilnius is Shanghai. Its actual name is Snipiskes. Why Shanghai? Well I hope one day to go and see the similarities for myself to answer that.
There are all kinds of houses here with residents still living in them. Some of them still have outdoor toilets and no running water!
When construction first began in the city making way for all the skyscrapers there was a big desire for these houses to disappear. What would be cheaper than buying the residents out? Set the houses on fire!
This stopped after construction projects came to a hault when they ran out of money. It’s really quite a sad story and in all, this street is a mess.
I found the whole experience fascinating and even though I’ve been all over the world, this was a real eye opener for me.
People choose to live in these houses over the swanky apartment blocks and I admire them for that. Reminds me of the scene from Disney’s Up! (Which I highly recommend watching by the way)
I’m sure it won’t be long before this area looks completely different if it even exists anymore. It wouldn’t surprise me if I was to return in 10 years time, I’d probably be looking at a very different Vilnius.