This edition of World Borders is slightly wacky and different from the usual suspects. The reason is I crossed into the self declared arty Republic of Uzupis whilst remaining all the time within the same city, Vilnius housed in the country of Lithuania. The Republic of Uzupis has been in existence since 1998. It has its own flag, its own national day (April 1st), its own constitution and it sits across the river from Old Town Vilnius.
Leaving Old Town Vilnius
To get from the Old Town in Vilnius to the Republic of Uzupis, you have a few options. Around 5 separate bridges cross the “border” into the Republic of Uzupis which is the arty neighbourhood declaring itself independent. Here’s a map to give you an idea of where Uzupis is and shows the fact that this mini Republic is separated by water.
I recommend using the main bridge which is known as Uzupio Undinele. This is the main entrance to the Republic of Uzupis, the nearest to the passport stamping place and also has a sign up showing the entrance to the Republic of Uzupis so you can get your photo by it!
Arrival in Uzupis
Walk across the bridge and you are now officially in the Republic of Uzupis, a self declared Republic since 1st April 1997. It’s no joke!
Getting Your Passport Stamped in the Republic of Uzupis
You probably want to get one of the most random passport stamps ever, so once you cross the bridge, you will see a restaurant on your left with the flag of Uzupis on it. Just past this on the left is a narrow path and lane. Head down this lane.
After about 100 metres or so, you will see a crafts shop on your right. This is the “entry, immigration, passport office”! Well it’s really just a shop but you can get your passport stamped here!
So head into this place called Daile Local Art Work and Souvenirs and the lady in there has two completely unofficial and crazy stamps you can get. So I got my passport stamped in the Republic of Uzupis and I was ready to explore this bizarre place! Make sure you ask the person in the shop to put the date on the stamp as well for an extra quirky thing!
Other quirky things you can get are t-shirts, art work, Uzupis made pottery and of course those Uzis – fake Uzupis Euros which can be used as a dummy currency just for a laugh on Uzupis National Day – 1st April!
There were loads of highlights from my day in Uzupis and I will write some more about it. I picked up a load of souvenirs and this republic even has its own flag.
So seriously if you are ever backpacking in Lithuania, then head over to the Republic of Uzupis for a trip – it might be almost as wacky as Vank in Nagorno Karabakh or Tiraspol in Transnistria!
Also – you can probably stay the night in Uzupis if you want – ask around for options, but I stayed in the cosy Litinterp Guest House in Vilnius Old Town and loved it!