Didžioji Street, with a Catholic church, three Orthodox churches, and lots of museums, is one of the most prominent streets in Vilnius. Many houses on this street used to be inhabited by the intelligentsia: professors, nobles, or successful businessmen. In 1522, in house No. 19 Pranciškus Skorina printed the first printed book in the territory of LDK. The French writer Stendhal stayed on Didžioji Street when he came to visit Vilnius.
Undoubtedly, one of the most important architectural highlights on the street is the Town Hall. At the end of the 18th century, it was reconstructed for the last time in the neoclassical style by the architect Laurynas Gucevičius, however, the building that previously stood in the same place remembers much older times, from the stories of the magistrate that used to be based here to the former prison or the pillar of shame.
The Town Hall also hosted the first opera productions in Vilnius, and today various events and concerts take place here. US President George W. Bush (2002) and Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (2006) addressed Vilnius residents from the portico of the Town Hall.
The entrances and interior of the building often catch the eye of filmmakers. In the TV series about the legendary Swedish gangster Klark Olofsson, Vilnius Town Hall became the courthouse to which the main character was brought before his imprisonment. His crimes gave rise to the term Stockholm Syndrome. This is a psychological phenomenon when during a kidnapping, hostages (victims) begin to feel positive feelings, such as voluntary obedience, respect, and love for their captors, although their life or health is in danger.
The HBO and Sky TV series “Catherine the Great”, depicting the life of the famous Russian empress, was also shot in Town Hall. In the square opposite the building, filmmakers staged a gallows scene, and Catherine the Great gave an inspiring speech on the Town Hall’s steps.
Meanwhile, the corridors, spacious halls, and staircase of the Town Hall appear in the TV series “Hilma”, which tells the story of the Swedish artist and mystic, one of the first authors of abstract art in the Western world, as well as the pioneer of feminism, Hilma af Klint (1862-1944). Her mysterious, philosophical, and spiritist paintings still raise many questions.
Vilnius Town Hall is no less attractive for those filming commercials. In the summer of 2023, an advertisement for the international film platform MUBI was filmed at the entrances of the building. Operating in more than 190 countries, the streaming company and film distributor is known for high-quality movies and TV series worldwide. Every day, MUBI presents viewers with at least one new film specially selected by the platform curators.