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food / travel

Gùsto! How · What · Where Locals Eat (& Drink) In Vilnius

Vegan donuts, a Lithuanian spin on the borscht, a berry well-kept secret — and even a hint of Stranger Things: Discover the Vilnius recipe for a great culinary experience.

Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania and the largest city in the Baltic states, is known for its historic old town, plentiful green spaces and a growing tech industry. Here’s how to enjoy some Lithuanian staples and local favorites, in the city which a viral tourism ad called “the G spot of Europe."

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Vilnius, A City Becomes An Open-Air Classroom

Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is taking school outdoors and making the whole city a learning place. Along the way, students' motivation increases and their relationship with the city becomes more participatory.

VILNIUSShakespeare's Hamlet is playing out in a real court, with a real judge.

The characters and witnesses are literature students in a secondary school class in the city of Vilnius, Lithuania. "And the students are ecstatic," says Unė Kaunaitė, director of EDU Vilnius, the municipal body whose mission is to improve the quality of education in the city and which is responsible for the “Vilnius is a school” project.

"They were really committed and involved and understood the play in a much deeper way because they performed it in a real court,” says Kaunaitė. The aim is to motivate students by making the learning process more interesting and participatory.

The city of Vilnius used this project to apply for the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge a year ago, winning funding of one million euros.

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Bowl Of Cool: The Best Summer Soups From Around The World

If you love soups in the winter, you can feel like you're missing out in the summer. But don't fear! Here's a roundup of the best soups from around the world for warm weather.

A bowl of warm soup on cold winter days always seems like food for the soul. So for soup lovers out there, the arrival of summer may feel a little depressing.

But fear not! Cold soups are still a great option when the weather is warm. From light, refreshing soups to rich and creamy ones, here’s a list of cold soups around the world that will fulfill your winter cravings and help you cool off on a summer afternoon.

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LGBTQ+ International: Lithuanian Fairy Tales, Egypt Dating App Gangs — And Other News

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on a topic you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

This week featuring:

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Vaidotas Beniusis, Philipp Fritz, Pavel Lokshin

Lithuania And Russia: A David-Goliath Standoff Getting Riskier By The Day

Vilnius is reportedly working out new rules with Brussels on allowing the transit of sanctioned Russian goods through Lithuania to the Kaliningrad enclave. But in the meantime, restrictions remain — and so does defiance vis-à-vis Moscow.

KALININGRAD — At a hardware store in Kaliningrad, men and women are heaving bags of cement into their shopping carts, while others film them on their mobile phones in disbelief. This scene, which did the rounds on social media in June, sums up the atmosphere in the Russian exclave bordered by Poland and Lithuania.

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The anxiety in Russia’s westernmost territory is palpable. Some residents are worried there will be shortages of products that were easily obtainable before restrictions came into force, while others are hoping everything will stay the same.

The population of Kaliningrad Oblast sits at around a million — of which 800,000 live in the city itself. Now they are in limbo. Lithuania’s implementation of EU sanctions means that although land routes to Russia are not completely shut off, the supply situation in the Russian exclave is uncertain.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Anna Akage

Flashback In The USSR? How Former Soviet Republics Are Reacting To War in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin has been upfront about his desire to rebuild Russia’s influence in the region. Former Soviet states are watching developments in Ukraine closely, with many trying to ensure futures free of interference by Moscow.

For 69 years, the Kremlin was able to keep what were de facto separate nations within the Soviet orbit by the use of weapons, hunger and fear. Even after the collapse of the USSR, every Russian leader considered the former republics to be at least a zone of his influence.

Yet Vladimir Putin has revealed his true understanding of neighborliness, repeatedly stating that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a huge tragedy for Russia. And on this, one might agree, he is right.

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Under the Communist Party, each of the national republics also had their own government, albeit ultimately controlled by the Kremlin. Each of the republics, whether in Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, or Ukraine, had their own capital, culture, language and traditions. For each of the national republics, secession from the Soviet Union brought liberation and independence — an opportunity to build their own state. For every former member state, that is, except Russia.

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Maximilian Kalkhof

China As Goliath: How Little Lithuania Defies Beijing

No other European state strikes a more confident tone toward China than Lithuania. Vilnius is resisting all the usual means of pressure — and has a clear demand that Europe and Germany defend their values.

VILNIUS — With its small population and modest economy, Lithuania has a reputation of being a minor actor on the European political stage. But under Deputy Foreign Minister Mantas Adomenas, it's breaking from the pack in a very notable way: attempting to strong arm China as the People's Republic vies for increasing global dominance.

While this might seem like a diplomatic and economic suicide mission, Adomenas sees few risks in promoting Lithuania's vision of democracy.This isn't a recent policy change: A member of the center-right Homeland Union, Adomenas says his party's China position had been maturing for a long time. When the Homeland Union was elected to government, Lithuania's relationship with China was essentially fixed along this hard line. It just had to be brought to life.

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food / travel
Bertrand Hauger

Storming The Lithuanian Castle

The red-brick Gothic castle on the Lithuanian island of Trakai looks like it's straight out of a fairy tale. However the spell was broken when a full garrison of soldiers made their rowdy entrance in the courtyard.

food / travel
Bertrand Hauger

The Dashing Priests Of Vilnius

The many beautiful Roman Catholic churches in Lithuania's capital are a sight to be seen ... as are the glorious beards of certain priests strolling the city's streets.

Bertrand Hauger

Vilnius, Hindsight In Focus

I said it before: I took pictures of places (more than of people) to remember where I went. But looking at this photo now, rather than focusing on the panorama of Lithuania's capital, I wish I'd chosen to see my wife Claudine more clearly...


Eurovision Contestants 2015: Lithuania

Lithuania’s history in the Eurovision Song Contest is unfortunately pretty bad. Since its first run in 1994, the country has made 15 appearances, more or less interspersed by failed attempts to qualify, lack of funds and threats to boycott the show if Russia didn’t stop invading countries.

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Gerhard Gnauck

Building The New Elite Of Belarus - In Lithuania

Much more freedom is allowed in Lithuania than across the border in Belarus, where strongman Alexander Lukashenko shut down top universities.

VILNIUS — If I close my eyes for a moment, I’m transported back to a German university town somewhere along the Neckar river — Tübingen, perhaps, or Heidelberg. Hölderlin, Heidegger, Kant, Hannah Arendt are among the names that surface in my conversation with Belarusian philosopher Anatoli Mikhailov.

We aren't anywhere near the banks of the Rhine, however, but on the shores of the Neris, a tributary of the Memel River, in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. This is the stomping ground of Mikhailov, 74, a recipient of the German Goethe medal, and founder and rector of the European Humanities University (EHU).

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