HomeFood & BeverageThe small republic of Užupis, where everyone has the right to be...

The small republic of Užupis, where everyone has the right to be happy

It is located in the deep north of Europe The smallest republic in the world, with an area of ​​less than one square kilometer and only 7,000 inhabitants. A country within a country, as there are in Italy from the Vatican to San Marino. Enjoying this record is Independent Republic of Uzhupisand is constituted from a district of the Lithuanian capital Vilniuslocated on the right bank of the Vilnia River and connected to the old city by seven bridges.

The Forgotten Quarter

Užupis, which in Lithuanian means “on the other side of the river”, it is one of the oldest neighborhoods in
Old town of Vilniuswith a long and eventful history and mostly inhabited ever since
XVI century by Jews. During the Soviet period, however, this district, which had factories and was inhabited by workers and laborers, was seen as a peripheral area of ​​the city.

as a result after the fall of the Soviet Unionthe neighborhood has fallen, with
uninhabited houses or inhabited by homeless people and with a noticeable presence of prostitutes and
criminali, thus becoming a poor and degraded district. Everything changed in the mid-1990s with Lithuania’s independence from the Soviet Union. Thanks to the low price of the apartments, the neighborhood began to populate with students from the nearby Academy of Fine Arts and Lithuanian artists and intellectuals which moved primarily into open labs, galleries, bars and cafes.
In a short time, the appearance of the neighborhood changed: little by little the gray and sad facades of the streets
of Užupis were subject to architectural transformations and free artistic creativity,
beginning an important reconstruction process that gave the neighborhood a
romantic bohemian atmosphere.

Alpha – stock.adobe.com

The Republic of Arts

The Republic of Užupis was officially born on April 1, 1997 when its founder
Romas Lileikis, poet, musician and director, together with a group of artists from
an area announced to the world as the foundation of the republic. Probably born as a joke (foundation date maybe proof of that), a utopian dream of the artist Romas Lileikis, who is still its president todayover the years the republic became important an example of a community based on the values ​​of brotherhood, tolerance, perseveranceart and peace to such an extent that in 2001 the Dalai Lama was granted honorary citizenship.

Vilnius.  Streets in Užupis.  Uzupis is an eclectic mix of Soviet architecture and free-spirited artistic spirit.
Vilnius. Streets in Užupis. Uzupis is an eclectic mix of Soviet architecture and free-spirited artistic spirit.Michael Blanki

Rights for all, even the river

Užupis has its own constitution, which is also blessed by Pope Francis,
during his pastoral visit to Vilnius in 2018. The first article states that «Everyone has
right to live near the river Vilnelė, and the river Vilnelė has the right to flow near everyoneon”.
In addition, there is a president, a local (unofficial) currency, an anthem, a flag
depicting hand with hole in center, lto the so-called “Holy Hand” that he gives
unable to accept bribes (and which changes color depending on the seasons, but from
when the Russian army crossed the Ukrainian border, an exception was made for
two-tone yellow-blue curtains), a small army (numbering a maximum of ten people
men), and a parliament based in the bar «Užupio Kavinė»..

Source: VanityFair

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