Quirky Vilnius: The Republic of Uzupis

Uzupis, Vilnius, Lithuania

Approaching the bridge over the River Vilnia on Uzupio gatve in Vilnius, two large signs welcome you to the Republic of Uzupis.

Yes, the capital city of Lithuania is also home to its very own republic as Uzupis declared its “independence” on April 1, 1997.  While it has its own president, prime minister, anthem and constitution, it may not be a coincidence that Uzupis’ Independence Day is better known to the rest of us as April Fool’s Day.

Angel of Uzupis, Vilnius, Lithuania

Long known as an artists’ quarter in Vilnius, some generously compare Uzupis to Montmarte in Paris. Very generously. To be honest, there isn’t much to see other than a large statue of the Angel of Uzupis and the Constitution of Uzupis, which is posted on a wall on Paupio gatve in twelve different languages.

Uzupis Constitution

Not surprisingly, the Uzupis Constitution is a bit different from most. As I scanned through the English version on one of several mirrored plaques on the wall, I couldn’t help but smile. And I couldn’t wait to share.

Everyone has the right to live by the River Vilnele, and the River Vilnele has the right to flow by everyone.

River Vilnia, Vilnius, Lithuania

Everyone has the right to hot water, heating in winter and a tiled roof.

Everyone has the right to die, but this is not an obligation.

Everyone has the right to make mistakes.

Everyone has the right to be unique.

Everyone has the right to love.

Everyone has the right not to be loved, but not necessarily.

Uzupis, Vilnius, Lithuania

Everyone has the right to be undistinguished and unknown.

Everyone has the right to be idle.

Everyone has the right to love and take care of the cat.

Everyone has the right to look after the dog until one of them dies.

A dog has the right to be a dog.

A cat is not obliged to love its owner, but must help in time of need.

Sometimes everyone has the right to be unaware of their duties.

Everyone has the right to be in doubt, but this is not an obligation.

Everyone has the right to be happy.

Everyone has the right to be unhappy.

Everyone has the right to be silent.

Everyone has the right to have faith.

No one has the right to violence.

Uzupis, Vilnius, Lithuania

Everyone has the right to appreciate their unimportance.

No one has the right to have a design on eternity.

Everyone has the right to understand.

Everyone has the right to understand nothing.

Everyone has the right to be of any nationality.

Everyone has the right to celebrate or not celebrate their birthday.

Everyone shall remember their name.

Everyone may share what they possess.

No one can share what they do not possess.

Everyone has the right to have brothers, sisters and parents.

Everyone may be independent.

Everyone is responsible for their freedom.

Everyone has the right to cry.

Mermaid of Uzupis

Everyone has the right to be misunderstood.

No one has the right to make another person guilty.

 Everyone has the right to be individual.

Everyone has the right to have no rights.

Everyone has the right to not be afraid.

Do not defeat.

Do not fight back.

Do not surrender.

Whether they were meant to be serious or simply tongue-in-cheek (or somewhere in between), I think the founders of Uzupis at least set out some very worth principles to live by, don’t you think?

 

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15 thoughts on “Quirky Vilnius: The Republic of Uzupis”

  1. what i love about your blog is that i feel like it educates me on plaees i have visited …but didnt learn enough about! and also of course, the places i havent yet visited!

    i was in vilnius for a week this past july/august and failed to take tours or educate myself on the city (quite ignorant if you ask me!) and it is so nice to now get to know more about it and the history/surrounding areas!

  2. Absolutely, a great find, and a great document… makes me wonder about what I’d write if I’d author such a founding document of a fantasia…in any case, most of these would be up for consideration 🙂

    stay adventurous, Craig

  3. Perhaps not as much to see as in other places, but a great find nonetheless. And a great perspective on it! Thanks for sharing. Wish I had the opportunity to do what you’re doing.

  4. A year ago I was in Lithuania, Vilnius and visited Uzupis. Good article! It’s a funny place in Vilnius, not to take that much serious but most of the things what they saying in the boards is right!
    I’m reading your website since a few days, love it seriously! I am happy that I have found it!!

    Greetings from the Netherlands 🙂

  5. “Everyone has the right to appreciate their unimportance.
    Everyone has the right to be undistinguished and unknown.”

    These are two things that I think might well be missing from a lot of societies. The right to NOT be famous or try to be.

    “Everyone has the right to be of any nationality.”

    This needs to be on passports. Seriously!

    I like the idea of this a lot. Will need to add it to the ever lengthening list of things to see. I too like that the entrance sign has Hebrew lettering.

    1. The sign with Hebrew lettering is in Yiddish. The three other languages are Belarusian, Russian and Polish. All languages are “local”, in a sense.
      It’s interesting that in the latter three languages, the name Uzupis (“the place over the river”) is translated literally, but the Yiddish name is taken from Russian directly – “Zareche”.

  6. Is this one of those “create your own countries” countries?? That’s so cool.

    And I love their constitution. Though, I’m not sure I could count on my cat to help me out in a time of need… 😉

  7. Yesterday I took a new tour of Uzhupis. Now it’s part of green city, i.e. sustainable places. It’s got several eco-shops, vintage clothes shops, and some other quaint places.

  8. Hi there, great blog,
    Just wanted to ask if you or anyone else knew who to get in contact with in the Republic of Uzupis to talk to about interviewing for a project I’m planning? For instance how could I make contact with its president or other notable figures?
    Thanks! 🙂

  9. We found Uzupis to be a great place to wonder around. A lovely relaxed atmosphere, yet little things on every street corner that would make you smile like street art, signs, quirky boutiques etc. Wish we had more time to get a better feel rather than just pass by.

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