Photo Shoot: Vilinus, Ukmerges Uzupio Secondary School, Lithuania

by GB, 11C and her English teacher Mrs. N M

Hello! I live in this beautiful country called Lithuania. You have to know that it is a wonderful place for a living, as it has an adorable nature, unique cultural heritage, history, and lots of spectacular places of interest. Dear Mr. Giggle, you definitely have to visit our school and enjoy your time. I am sure you will like the places of interest in our capital - Vilnius.

The capital city with a population of 553,904 (1.4million together with Vilnius Country). The Old Town is one of the largest in Eastern Europe; inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

HISTORY Vilnius was first mentioned in written sources in 1323. According to a tale, Gediminas had a prophetic dream about an iron wolf howling on the top of the hill at the foot of which he fell asleep after a hunting day. The Letter of Grand Duke Gediminas to principal Hanseatic towns in 1325 invited men of every order and profession to Vilnius. It was granted city rights by Jogaila in 1387.

Gediminas tower stands on the same hill which grand Duke Gediminas saw in his dream. It is the only remaining part of the Upper Castle.

Vilnius cathedral is believed to be built in the location where the pagan god Perk?nas was worshiped in pre-Christian times. King Mindaugas built it in 1251 after his conversion to Christianity. Many famous people, among them Vytautas the Great, are interred inside its crypts and catacombs.

The Presidential Place is the official residence of the President of Lithuania. The construction of the Palace took place in late 14th c. under the auspices of the firs Bishop of Vilnius. It served as a residence for Emperors, Kings and noblemen, among them the French Emperor Napoleon who lived there in 1812.

Gate of Dawn was built between 1503 and 1522 as a part of defensive fortifications. It is the only remaining out of 9 city gates, while the others were destroyed at the end of the 18th c. Many pilgrims from the neighbouring countries come to pray here.

St. Anne's Church thought to be wooden in its first construction. According to the legend, the beauty of this Gothic church impressed Emperor Napoleon so much the he wanted to carry it back to Paris 'on the palm of his hand'.

Vilnius University was founded by the Jesuits and the first students were enrolled in 1570. The Commission of National Education, the world's first ministry of education, took control of the Academy in 1773, and transformed it into a modern University. Today it is a member of the European University Association (EUA) and the Conference of Baltic University Rectors.