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Vilnius is one of the greenest cities in Europe: no wonder, considering how many luscious parks and gardens one may find in the Lithuanian capital. The city’s green areas, equally appreciated by vacationers, athletes, and romantics, lure not only Vilnius inhabitants but also filmmakers from all over the world. From the jungles of Kuala Lumpur to the manicured 19th-century European gardens – the cinematographic parks of Vilnius have already been seen by thousands of people across the globe. The Vilnius Film Office invites you to enjoy the nature of Vilnius and learn which film projects were shot here.

According to Laimonas Čiakas, general manager of the public enterprise “Vilniaus miesto parkai”, which oversees 21 territories in the entire city of Vilnius, shooting projects scheduled in parks mean careful preparation beforehand: sometimes benches or trash cans need to be moved elsewhere, sometimes parks have to let horses enter or have holes dug in the soil by the. “I’m glad that the film crews work very professionally and take care of the parks – usually there are no problems. As for regular visitors: they are most interested in recreation areas, as evidenced by the bustling playgrounds and lawns covered with blankets. Besides, we have all kinds of  events: various concerts are held in Vingis Park, and many people come here in the evenings when hot air balloons go up from the vast meadow, whereas in Kūdrų Park musical picnics “O’pieva” have been taking place on weekends for several years; in Bernardinai Garden the “Skamba skamba kankliai” festival is held annually, we also have free Kristupas Festival concerts, besides, one can come to watch a cricket match in Ozas Park and admire impressive light projections work in Pasakų Park – after dark, 10 luminous legends of Vilnius come to life here.”

“I hope that filmmakers and visitors alike will discover not only the most popular parks in Vilnius but also the wonderful natural territories located further away,” said Čiakas.

Trakų Vokė manor homestead park

The Trakų Vokė manor homestead ensemble is a unique architectural monument dating back to the times of Counts Tiškevičius. At first, it was the noble family’s summer home which later on became a permanent place of residence. The Tiškevičius family ruled Vokė for almost 100 years.

Over the last decade, the Trakų Vokė manor homestead has been increasingly attracting not only visitors, but also filmmakers – the compound has played Stockholm, St. Petersburg, and various cities in the United Kingdom. However, the palace bears the strongest resemblance to the 18th – 19th-century Eastern European estates. The interior comes in handy when a manorial atmosphere or spacious apartments and public spaces are needed for shooting. Films and series such as “War and Peace”, “Anna Karenina”, “Catherine the Great”, “Blood in the Snow”, “Hilma”, “The Royal Crowd” and many others were shot in the Trakų Vokė estate.

Today, educational events, concerts, and exhibitions take place in the manor, and everyone who wants to take a walk in one of the most beautiful landscape-style parks in Lithuania can do so. The manor and the surrounding territory were designed by Eduard Francois Andre, a landscape architect from France.

Photo credits: Saulius Žiūra

Vingis park

Hunting grounds, a place to rest, Jesuit gardens, and finally, today – the largest forest park in the Lithuanian capital, almost entirely encircled by a loop of the Neris River – this is the history of Vingis Park in a nutshell.

Today, Vingis Park is one of Vilnius residents’ favorite places for walks, exercise and large scale events. Every four years it hosts the Song Festival, in 1988 a rally organized by the Lithuanian Reorganization Movement took place in the park, and in 1997, the rock group “Foje” held the largest concert in the country’s history here, with as many as 60,000 spectators!

Vilnius’ largest is popular not only with the city residents but also with filmmakers and TV series crews. In one project the largest ancient pine forest in Lithuania became the forest of Kuala Lumpur, and in another shooting, the park’s stadium played the entrance of the modern Stockholm fighting arena. Various TV shows and films, such as “Lea”, BBC2’s re-enactment documentary series “The Rise of the Nazis”, the series “Young Wallander” and the dystopian film “Paradise”, scheduled to be released soon, were shot in Vingis Park.

 

Photo credits: Monika Krilavičienė

Bernardinų Park

“The Bernardine garden, as we see it now, is 10 years old, but it is known that in 1469 the Bernardine monks planted a vegetable orchard and a garden in this area, and in 1799 professor Stanislaus Bonifacijus Jundzilas began setting up a botanical garden with ponds”, told us Laimonas Čiakas, director of the public enterprise “Vilniaus miesto parkai”, talking about the history of the Bernardine Garden.

Bernardinai Park is characterized by an abundance of both open and closed spaces, rose gardens, pebble gardens, ponds, and fountains – perhaps this is what makes the park so great not only for recreation but also for various campaigns, events, and even wedding ceremonies. In 2022 alone 106 civil marriages were registered in the park, and a dozen humanistic ceremonies took place.

Bernardinai Park appeared on screen in the BBC2’s re-enactment documentary series “The Rise of the Nazis”, the hugely popular costume drama “Sisi”, the series “The Royal Mob”, the suspenseful detective story “Young Wallander” and the drama “The Professional: The Life of Jim Belcher”.

Welsh filmmakers believed Bernardinų Park could perfectly enact London of the 19th century, Swedish director Charlotte Brandstrom (best known for the series “Grey’s Anatomy”) turned the garden into a playground for international politics, whereas the series “Sisi” brought the atmosphere of the 19th-century European royal life the to this lovely corner of Vilnius.

Photo credits: Saulius Žiūra

Missionary Gardens and Kūdrų Park

Located right next to Užupis, the Missionary Gardens are renowned for being an oasis of tranquility: very natural and relaxed. It is believed that the territory got its name because of the missionaries who overtook the management of the 17th-century palace compound with the park that stood here.

Today various concerts are held in Kūdrų Park; athletes and artists alike appreciate the park as well. The film “Hilma”, which tells the story of Hilma af Klint, one of the pioneers of abstract art in the Western world, was shot here, as well as the series “Baligis”, which takes place at the end of the 1960s, and the feature film “Paradise”, scheduled will be released on the Netflix platform in July.

Photo credits: Saulius Žiūra

Sapiegų Park

Sapiegų Park is located in Antakalnis district. It is one of the oldest parks in Vilnius, founded near the Baroque palace built by the great hetman Kazimier Jonas Sapiega in the 17th century. Back then, the compound consisted of a monastery with a church, offices, and outbuildings, and in the park, one could admire fountains, sculptures, and ponds. In 1809 a Military Hospital was opened in the Sapiegų Palace, the Trinitarian Monastery and the Park’s buildings.

Today, the park is home to Vilnius Tech Park, in addition, an open-air library is open during the summer season, there is also the oldest tree in Vilnius and a number of lovely cafes perfect for a relaxed afternoon under the green canopy.

The team of the detective series “Young Wallander” surely appreciated the park – an important scene of the series was shot here: police cars and demining forces swarmed in, and the actors did all they could to avoid a possible bomb explosion. Scenes of “Conspiracy of Silence” were shot in the park and its buildings and the series “The Playlist” was filmed in the restaurant located here.

Photo credits: Saulius Žiūra
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