The bohemian way of life is far different from others. An independent republic for the arts sounds like a distant dream, a utopia. Užupis is the final achievement of that utopia, a whole neighbourhood able to set its own rules. Just a republic for the artists.
In the old town of Vilnius, Užupis has its own constitution, flag, currency, ministers, anthem... everything you need so far in order to be really independent. A whole lifestyle.
But it was not always a happy story: During the Soviet era, the authorities let Užupis go to ruin, and it quickly gained notoriety as the roughest districts in the city. Since Lithuania regained its independence in 1991, artists came and took advantage of the cheap accommodation and free space to be reused creatively. Revolutionary urban changes can be funny. With an avant-garde sense of humour, as they claim: “Don't fight, don't win, don't surrender”.
Moreover, the city’s art academy is located across the bridge from Bernadinų Gardens. Now its thriving creative community hosts regular fashion festivals, concerts, exhibitions and poetry evenings.