The Republic of Užupis: How This Cheeky Micronation Will Never Fail to Make You Smile

The Republic of Užupis in Vilnius, Lithuania

Forget all of Europe’s other pint-sized countries—San Marino, Vatican City, Monaco, and Lichtenstein all pale in swagger to Vilnius’s artistic micronation: the Republic of Užupis. And if there’s any district in Lithuania’s capital that will paint a smile on your face, it’s right here in Vilnius’s bohemian quarter where weird is no longer optional.

The Logo of the Republic of Užupis in Vilnius, Lithuania

Užupis declared independence on April 1st, 1997, ushering in everything that goes along with becoming an sovereign nation: a president, cabinet, currency, a flag, and even a constitution. Whether Užupians are serious about their claim to sovereignty is up for you to decide, but before you do, get a kick out of the cheeky constitution of the Republic of Užupis:

  • Everyone has the right to live by the River Vilnelė, and the River Vilnelė has the right to flow by everyone.
  • Everyone has the right to hot water, heating in winter and a tiled roof.
  • Everyone has the right to die, but this is not an obligation.
  • Everyone has the right to make mistakes.
  • Everyone has the right to be unique.
  • Everyone has the right to love.
  • Everyone has the right not to be loved, but not necessarily.
  • Everyone has the right to be undistinguished and unknown.
  • Everyone has the right to idle.
  • Everyone has the right to love and take care of the cat.
Main Square in Užupis, Vilnius, Lithuania

The Angel of Užupis in the main square

  • Everyone has the right to look after the dog until one of them dies.
  • A dog has the right to be a dog.
  • A cat is not obliged to love its owner, but must help in time of need.
  • Sometimes everyone has the right to be unaware of their duties.
  • Everyone has the right to be in doubt, but this is not an obligation.
  • Everyone has the right to be happy.
  • Everyone has the right to be unhappy.
  • Everyone has the right to be silent.
  • Everyone has the right to have faith.
  • No one has the right to violence.
The Vilnia River Through Užupis, Vilnius, Lithuania

Along the banks of Vilnia River

  • Everyone has the right to appreciate their unimportance.
  • No one has the right to have a design on eternity.
  • Everyone has the right to understand.
  • Everyone has the right to understand nothing.
  • Everyone has the right to be of any nationality.
  • Everyone has the right to celebrate or not celebrate their birthday.
  • Everyone shall remember their name.
  • Everyone may share what they possess.
  • No one can share what they do not possess.
Bohemian Art Galleries in Užupis, Vilnius, Lithuania

Bohemian art galleries in Užupis

  • Everyone has the right to have brothers, sisters and parents.
  • Everyone may be independent.
  • Everyone is responsible for their freedom.
  • Everyone has the right to cry.
  • Everyone has the right to be misunderstood.
  • No one has the right to make another person guilty.
  • Everyone has the right to be individual.
  • Everyone has the right to have no rights.
  • Everyone has the right to not to be afraid.
  • Do not defeat.
  • Do not fight back.
  • Do not surrender.

Now if every nation took its affairs with such a laissez-faire attitude, wouldn’t most of the world’s problems be solved? There’s a lesson in there somewhere I suppose…

Beyond its “politics,” Užupis hosts a thriving art scene that ranges from wacky sculptures to equally strange street art and signage. Here’s a sneak peak at a few of the weird and wonderful sights you’ll encounter in the Republic of Užupis:

Lock Bridge over the Vilnia River in Užupis, Vilnius, Lithuania

Lock bridge over the Vilnia River overlooking old flats.

Locked in love in Užupis, Vilnius, Lithuania

Lithuanian love locks

Street Art Under Bridge in Užupis, Vilnius, Lithuania

Street art along the Vilnia River

Bright Pink Chair in Užupis, Vilnius, Lithuania

Time for a time out?

Colourful Blue Tire in Užupis, Vilnius, Lithuania

Tire art?

Apple Republic Sign in Užupis, Vilnius, Lithuania

How much do you like apples?

Mushroom Sign in Užupis, Vilnius, Lithuania

Is it colourful because of the mushrooms?

Hanging Alien Sculpture in Užupis, Vilnius, Lithuania

Užupis’s own Area 51

Colourful Mural in Užupis, Vilnius, Lithuania

Street art mural I can’t even begin to understand

Weird Sculpture in Užupis, Vilnius, Lithuania

Where do I even start with this one?

So if you’re yearning to escape the endless historical architecture and churches of Old Town Vilnius, stroll across the Vilnia River into one of Eastern Europe’s quirkiest quarters for a taste of Lithuania’s thriving art scene.

What do you think of the weird and wacky Republic of Užupis in Vilnius, Lithuania? Would you want to visit? Drop me a line in the comment section below!

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Comments

  1. says

    Haha love the cheekiness and yes definitely would love to visit! I love deviation from the norm and I especially love an artsy community! Thanks Ryan ‘

  2. Vanessa says

    What a witty way to express everyone’s rights and limitations. Cant help giggling while reading their constitution! Makes me want to visit and see the Apple Republic in person.

    • says

      So entertaining, isn’t it? It’s actually translated into 8 different languages behind plexiglass panel on a wall about a block away from the main district square. I guess they were really serious about getting the message across to visitors :)

    • says

      You’re not so far, SJ! Does airBaltic not have any flights to Vilnius from Croatia? Užupis is definitely worth a look! Kind of unexpected after walking about Old Town Vilnius, which feels so much more serious.

  3. says

    I absolutely love this place! :) I love their constitution rules that everyone has the right to take care of a cat. It is a very cheeky place, very funny, I’d love to spend some time there! Thanks for sharing with #WeekendWanderlust!

  4. says

    Wow that is so interesting. I had no idea this gem of a place existed. This is so wonderful and so delightfully cheeky! My fave has to be a dog has the right to be a dog – great constitution!

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