Vingis Park

The park which is located near the centre of Vilnius city is the biggest park in Vilnius. Nowadays it is apleasant place to spend your free time, to take some active rest, to exercise or simply meet your friends and have a nice walk. In addition to this, it is aplace where many public concerts, events and other recreational activities are held so the park always sounds with music and uproar.

Despite the fact that park is a lively and fun place nowadays, it has a pretty dramatic history. Personal tragedies, public disasters and other historical facts color the nowadays park in various shadings. To begin with, in the 16th century a palace of Mikalojus Radvila Juodasis stood here. Then the Vingis park was called Lukiškės of Radvilai. Radvila Juodasis as well as his son Stanislovas both were religious, so much of the place in the Lukiškės of Radvilai they alloted to religious structures, firstly Calvinists, later Jesuits. Jesuits ruled the teritory since the time their order was liquidated. They built glorious 3 floor palace with mansards, outhouses, kitchen gardens.

In 1773 the bishop of Vilnius J.I. Masalskis intercepted the lands and its buildings and established the seminary for teachers there. It was a school including the 200 beds hostel and even a menagerie. After the death of bishop Masalskis, the residence was reorganized and sold to some grandees one after other. Finally, Russian tsar Alexander the First bought the whole territory of Vingis park together with the palace.  In 1812 when the feast was arranged in honor of the tsar, architect Mykolas Šulcas constructed a pretty arbor for the celebration. Few hours till the start of the fest the roof of the arbor collapsed straight on the place of the feast. It was an accident, however, poor architect got deranged and immediately resolved to suicide. He was scared to be accused for attempts on killing tsar and drown himself. Despite this tragedy, the fest was arranged and in the end of the celebration, participants got the news that Napoleon army is getting closer and closer to Vilnius. Soon French military forces established their military hospital in the same palace. After that the palace got on fire together with all patients inside. After the fire tsar administration did not take care about the reconstructions thus in 1885 the remains were totally destroyed. A bit further, on the shore of river Neris, the summer residence was built including outhouse, wooden pavilion, large park.  That was the start of nowadays park – first public dance evenings and various performances were held there. In 1965 the nowadays park was reconstructed and prepared for mass public events, the famous  Vingis stage was erected and the square of 2 hectares was set.

Nowadays many events take place in Vingis park. To begin with, the famous Song and Dance celebration is usually held there as well as many other mass festivals and concerts.  In addition to this, a beautiful botanical garden of Vilnius university is also located nearby. It is one of the biggest botanical gardens in Lithuania so it is really worth visiting. Moreover, in Vingis park there is a military cemetery. Perhaps,  loud fests do not disturb for departed to be at rest. In Vingis park visitors can also enjoy some attractions as well as to dine in local coffee –bars. In 2009 in order to mention the start of Song and Dance Celebration, a beautiful sculpture there was erected called The Tree of Solidarity. All in all, visiting Vingis park is a way to escape from city rush and simply relax in beautiful natural surroundings hiding many interesting stories.