walkscape Vilnius
Imagination over the river
Posted on September 14, 2017

Seven bridges, a river, a flag, a bizarre constitution and all the imagination needed to turn something absurd into reality. Crossing the border of a country never used to be that easy, because inside Vilnius there is a Republic, called Uzupis. The sign at the entrance is clear: happiness, art and be careful, not to get dumped into the river, because, as the first article of the Constitution says, "the river has the right to flow".

The neighborhood, historically populated by Jewish, since the 1990s starts to bring together various artists, which decided to move over the river. Thanks to the very low prices of the houses during the years, a bunch of poets, musicians and bohemians relocated themselves into the old neglected houses.

So far so good, but in 1997, a Lithuanian musician and art director called Romas Lileikis got a bizarre idea. He purposed to the administration of Vilnius, the independence of Uzupis. So, on April 1, through the draft of a constitution consisting of 41 articles, the Republic of Uzupis comes to life.

Uzupis is a place of more or less penniless artists, a place of tolerance towards men and animals, especially cats, which are not obliged to love their owner, but they must help in case of need.Uzupis is a place where everyone has the right to make mistakes, to be in doubt, to be happy, to be unhappy, to understand nothing or to not be afraid. A contradictory and disconnected constitution, translated into 26 languages, which lays the foundations of a paradoxical and extravagant place, a joke, where everyone has the right to be unique.