The premises of the Lithuanian Writers’ Union, located on A. Sirvydo Street, is one of the most beautiful palaces in Vilnius. The building’s walls bear witness to the history of Vilnius literature, both during the Soviet era and independence times. For decades, writers lived and composed their stories here, a hotel operated, and various artists would frequent the café on the ground floor. In this building, one finds one of the most beautiful and impressive neo-baroque style interiors preserved in Lithuania, which fascinates both Lithuanian and foreign filmmakers.
For several centuries, the territory where today the Lithuanian Writers’ Union building is located belonged to the Carmelites of St. George’s Church, later, part of it was handed over to Vilnius merchants. They started the construction of a new building, which, several decades later, was acquired by Count Ignotas Karolis Korvin-Milevski. It was he who turned the edifice into a residence. The luxurious apartment was used by Count Antanas Tiškevičius and Duchess Marija Oginska, and later the Vilnius City Museum was started here. After the Second World War, the nationalized palace was handed over to the writers’ and composers’ unions, and it hosted newspaper editorial offices. Today, the palace is home to the Lithuanian Writers’ Union, an association of the country’s professional poets, prose writers, playwrights, translators, critics, and literary scholars, it counts approximately 360 members with the status of art creators.
Filmmakers are very fond of the building’s halls, ceiling reliefs, furnace moldings and the impressive lobby. The historical interior is perfect for depicting offices from different epoques and rooms of magnificent palaces. The impressive staircase is undoubtedly the major attraction. During the shooting of the HBO series “Catherine the Great”, the staircase became part of the luxurious palace interior. The main role in the series was played by the famous British actress Helen Mirren, winner of “Oscar” and two Golden Globes.
Detective lovers have probably watched the Netflix series “Young Wallander”, inspired by Henning Mankell’s wildly popular novels. Although the action of the story takes place in modern Sweden, the series was shot exclusively in Lithuania. The show’s creative team made use of the Lithuanian Writers’ Union building as well; in a room on the second floor, the luxurious office of millionaire Leopold Munk was temporarily located, and the series’ protagonist popped in for a visit.
The Lithuanian Writers’ Union building is equally popular with Lithuanian filmmakers. In the feature film “Poetas” by directors Giedrius Tamoševičius and Vytautas V. Landsbergis, some of the building’s rooms became the editorial office of the newspaper.
And there is more: scenes for the hugely popular European series “Sisi”, the Norwegian film “Oljefondet” and many other film productions and commercials were also shot on the premises of the Lithuanian Writers’ Union.