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Time-capsule accommodation and a ‘devil’ museum: Discovering European Capital of Culture Kaunas

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There’s a crystal perfume bottle on the dressing table of each bedroom at Villa Grabyte in Kaunas, Lithuania.

An information card, positioned next to one in all the bottles, explains that the liquid inside has notes of white lilac, old picket furniture and weighty books.

The owners of the villa had it created to mimic the scents that were made in Lithuania through the interwar years (1918 to 1940) and spritzing it’s just one in all the ways guests can immerse themselves on this time period after they stay on the property.

Pictured is the front room at Villa Grabyte, a guest house that is designed to make visitors feel like they’re living within the interwar years (1918 to 1940). At the back of the shot you may see the replica wireless that permits guests to take heed to music from the period

Pictured is a 1970s apartment you can stay in in Kaunas. It comes with a Soviet-era ¿Chaika¿ vacuum cleaner and record player that lets you listen to Soviet-era records

Pictured is a Nineteen Seventies apartment you may stay in in Kaunas. It comes with a Soviet-era ‘Chaika’ vacuum cleaner and record player that helps you to take heed to Soviet-era records

This shot shows the perfume that's provided for guests at Villa Grabyte to use. The owners of the villa had it created to mimic the scents that were made in Lithuania during the interwar years

This shot shows the perfume that is provided for guests at Villa Grabyte to make use of. The owners of the villa had it created to mimic the scents that were made in Lithuania through the interwar years

Once they open the wardrobes, they’ll find interwar-style clothes that they’ll try on and after they loosen up within the front room, they’ll take heed to music from the time on the replica wireless.

Villa Grabyte shouldn’t be the one immersive accommodation option available in Kaunas. 

Elsewhere in town, you may stay in a Nineteen Seventies flat that comes with a Soviet-era ‘Chaika’ vacuum cleaner and record player that helps you to take heed to Soviet-era records.

Experiences like this are what characterise a visit to Kaunas in 2022, I discovered during my trip there.

Lithuania’s former capital is one in all three European Capitals of Culture this 12 months (the opposite two are Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg and Novi Sad in Serbia) and, in addition to offering a year-long programme of events, town has developed a variety of recent cultural activities to rejoice.

Liberty Boulevard (pictured) is the main high street of Kaunas. It's pedestrianised and flanked by shops, bars, restaurants and a smorgasbord of bakeries

Liberty Boulevard (pictured) is the primary high street of Kaunas. It’s pedestrianised and flanked by shops, bars, restaurants and a smorgasbord of bakeries

Kaunas's medieval castle (pictured), with its wizard-hat-shaped roof, is located near the Old Town square

Kaunas’s medieval castle (pictured), with its wizard-hat-shaped roof, is situated near the Old Town square

This shot shows the Church of St. Michael the Archangel with its forget-me-not blue domes. It's located at the top of Liberty Boulevard

This shot shows the Church of St. Michael the Archangel with its forget-me-not blue domes. It’s situated at the highest of Liberty Boulevard

Along with staying in time-travel accommodation, visitors can now take a free walking tour with a ‘Culture Host’ or a guided automobile tour as a part of the brand new Culture Ride offering. 

Each sorts of tour are led by Kaunas residents with specific areas of experience, comparable to photography, modernist architecture (there are greater than 600 modernist buildings around town) and street art (there are 30 murals to seek out and a few are three-storeys tall).

After all, for those who’d relatively see the sights at your individual pace, relatively than with a guide, Kaunas was made for ambling. I lost several hours meandering down the pedestrianised high street – Liberty Boulevard – alone.

There are more than 600 modernist buildings in Kaunas. The former Post Office (pictured) is one of the most imposing. To learn about modernist architecture, you can take a free tour with a Kaunas 2022 Culture Host

There are greater than 600 modernist buildings in Kaunas. The previous Post Office (pictured) is one of the imposing. To study modernist architecture, you may take a free tour with a Kaunas 2022 Culture Host

Venture across the 'Vytautas the Great Bridge' and you¿ll find the Aleksotas Funicular Railway (pictured). This 1930s railway trundles up the hillside to a lookout point that serves up grandstand views of Kaunas

Enterprise across the ‘Vytautas the Great Bridge’ and also you’ll find the Aleksotas Funicular Railway (pictured). This Thirties railway trundles up the hillside to a lookout point that serves up grandstand views of Kaunas

To celebrate its year as European Capital of Culture, Kaunas has developed a Culture Ride initiative, which allows you to take free car tours with locals like Vida (pictured) to learn about the city

To rejoice its 12 months as European Capital of Culture, Kaunas has developed a Culture Ride initiative, which means that you can take free automobile tours with locals like Vida (pictured) to learn in regards to the city

This mile-long road is flanked by shops, bars, restaurants and more bakeries than you may shake a baguette at. When you only go to one in all the latter, make it Spurgine. 

In operation because the Nineteen Seventies, it’s an area institution. Its signature dishes are baseball-sized doughnuts crammed with jam or meat. 

I attempted a jam one, still warm from the oven, and immediately understood why queues often form out of the door of this place.

The Old Town ate into one other few hours of my time in Kaunas. The primary square is crookedly cobbled and framed by cafes, bars and restaurants. 

There are 30 street art murals like the one pictured above to investigate in Kaunas

There are 30 street art murals just like the one pictured above to analyze in Kaunas

Pictured is one of the larger street art murals in Kaunas. This one is a monument to Jewish poet Lea Goldberg, who once lived in the building the artwork is on

Pictured is one in all the larger street art murals in Kaunas. This one is a monument to Jewish poet Lea Goldberg, who once lived within the constructing the artwork is on

Take a guided tour here and also you’ll discover dozens of historical sites which might be hidden in plain sight, including a number of linked to the Knygnesiai or book smugglers of Lithuania, who used to smuggle literature into the country when it was banned by Russia between 1866 and 1904.

Wandering across the high street and the Old Town, you’ll stumble across a lot of the city’s key sights, comparable to the Church of St. Michael the Archangel with its forget-me-not blue domes and Kaunas’s medieval castle, with its wizard-hat-shaped roof.

There are a number of points of interest that you have got to go away the immediate centre of town to seek out, though. Enterprise across the ‘Vytautas the Great Bridge’ and also you’ll find the Aleksotas Funicular Railway. This Thirties railway trundles up the hillside to a lookout point that serves up grandstand views of town.

Finally, the Devil’s Museum, featuring 3,000 devil sculptures, deserves a mention. It’s a Marmite type of place. Nevertheless, for those who enjoy visiting the more odd museums of the world, this place is up there with Froggyland in Split by way of kookiness.

Kaunas 2022’s celebrations will proceed all year long. For the complete programme visit the web site.

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