Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania with about 350 thousand people and has historically been a leading centre of Lithuanian economic, academic, and cultural life. Kaunas, the most student-centered city in Lithuania, located in the central part of the country it is surrounded by the two largest rivers of Lithuania, the Nemunas and the Neris. Kaunas is located 100 kilometres from the capital Vilnius and 212 kilometres from the Country’s major seaport Klaipeda.
Kaunas is the provisional capital of Lithuania, famous for its colourful history, cosy parks, remarkable and wonderful Old Town and interwar spirit.
Kaunas Old Town
The remarkable Old Town which is a collection of ancient architectural monuments: the remnants of the 14th century with remains of Kaunas castle, the buildings of the Middle Ages in the Gothic and the Art Déco styles. The Kaunas Fortress is a valuable military heritage composed of a number of constructions that used to be a military complex. There are nine Forts around the city and the Ninth Fort serves a museum. The macabre collection of nearly 3,000 devils at the Devils’ Museum and the exhibitions showing the unique artistic styles of composer and painter M. K. Ciurlionis, as well as J. Maciunas initiator of the avant-garde Fluxus art movement. There are a lot of surviving Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings, especially in the western part of the Old Town. Many notable buildings and facilities are located in the Old Town, such as the Kaunas Town Hall, the Kaunas Castle and the Historical Presidential Palace, House of Perkūnas, also the Kaunas Cathedral, the Church of St. Gertrude, Vytautas’ church and many other churches.
Vilnius Street is the most beautiful street of the Old Town, meant for pedestrians. Some buildings have survived from the 16th century; some of which have been reconstructed. Even the unique telephone booths are a clear indication that you are walking along the street, which connects the old and the new parts of the city.
Laisvės Alėja (Liberty Avenue)
Laisvės alėja – Kaunas’ most famous walking street is fully pedestrianized and runs from the Old Town for a distance of almost 2 km to the Church of St. Michael the Archangel. Two lines of Linden trees, seating and flower beds run the length of the avenue. There is a good assortment of shops, banks, restaurants, casinos, nightclubs, museums, tourist information office, places to stay and a central post office. It would be possible to spend your entire stay on Laisvės alėja and not get bored. It is a great place to spend time. In the late morning and afternoon various stalls selling foods, souvenirs hats etc. appear and are worth a look.
Kaunas is a great cultural centre. Kaunas has 7 professional and 10 amateur theatres, 20 folklore ensembles and various other arts and sports groups. The main State Theatres in Kaunas are the Musical Theatre, the Drama Theatre, and the Puppet Theatre. The city also home to the modern dance theatre Aura, Kaunas pantomime Theatre, the Little Theatre, the Chamber Theatre, Kaunas State Choir, and Kaunas Symphony Orchestra.
All year round there is an opportunity to attend small and large festivals, celebrations or cultural events like Kaunas Jazz; the Pažaislis Music Festival; Operetta in the Kaunas Castle; Hanza Kaunas, Bike Show Millennium and the Kaunas City Days.
The centrepiece of Lithuanian cuisine is dark rye bread. It is shown a great respect and even called “holy” and Lithuanians link many beliefs and magic with it. The great opportunity to taste it is to have soup in a bread bowl. Lithuanian drinks have very old traditions, to get to know them the “Stumbras” museum offers a guided tour of the history and tasting of strong drinks. Among the multitude of things that make any Lithuanian swell with pride (rich history, amber, beautiful nature, basketball, etc.), there is one that has a special place in his heart. This source of pride is the Lithuanian Beer.