in 2009, Vilnius, Lithuania will officially become a “European Capital of Culture.” Advertisements for the European Union bestowed honor adorn the sides of the cities bus system.
According to the Vilnius City Municipality
website
, this honor gives Vilnius the “exceptional opportunity to promote its local culture within the European Union.”
The website continues with its aims an objectives for the 2009 period.

<blockquote>* Strengthen the positions of the city as ambitious, vital and creative cultural centre, thus advancing the acknowledgement of city&rsquo;s international significance.
* Redefine the cultural identity of Vilnius emphasizing culture as the catalyst of communication, important part of everyday life and the source of pride and self-esteem.
* Help the foreign visitors to discover Vilnius &ndash; the city of culture and vitality.
* Engage the local community into the cultural life &ndash; expand the audiences of cultural events on local and national level.
* Significantly improve city&rsquo;s cultural infrastructure.
* Present the celebration of the Millennium of Lithuania on the international level, emphasising the historical links between Vilnius and the common European cultural history.
* Stimulate the initiation of new, progressive and lasting cultural projects of high value and international scale, revitalize the present cultural institutions.
* Special significance to be dedicated to the new independence generation. The project aims to unravel the common European values to our youth and motivate their participation in the process of building the culture of future Europe.</blockquote>

Here are some photos taken on Piles Street, the main tourist thoroughfare in the Old Town on August 24th, 2007.

Some ladies pass a row of paintings for sale

I spy a curious piece of merchandise.

Oh my!
The Vilnius Municipality’s websites continues with the projects European dimension:

The openness of the concept of Europe, the interregional collaboration, the openness to the global cultures and creative ideas lies at the heart of “Vilnius- European Capital of Culture 2009” programme.

Hopefully in two years things will be different in the Old Town.