Republic of Užupis

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Republic of Užupis
Užupio Respublika (Lithuanian)

UZFlg.jpg
Flag
UZS.jpg
Seal

Motto
"Don't Fight"; "Don't Win"; "Don't Surrender"
Anthem
Užupio himnas
Mapofuzupis.PNG
Vilnius, Lithuania
Capital cityAngel Square (Užupis Square)
Official language(s)Lithuanian, English
Official religion(s)Christianity
DemonymUžupian
GovernmentPresidential republic (de facto)
- PresidentRomas Lileikis (de facto)
Sakalas Gorodeckis
LegislatureNational Assembly (1st government)
Neighborhood Community (2nd government)
Established1 April 1997
Area claimed60 ha
Population7000
CurrencyEuro
Euro Užas (unused)
Time zoneLithuanian Standard Time
National sportUžupian Football [1]
Patron saintSt. Bartholomew

[2]

Užupis, officialy the Republic of Užupis (Lithuanian: Užupio Respublika or Užupio Res publika) is a micronation-neighborhood largely located in Vilnius Old Town, Lithuania. Nicknamed the "Republic within a Republic", the "Lithuanian Republic of Angels" and the "Lithuanian Montmartre", Užupis is the artistic district of Vilnius and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Užupis means "the other side of the river" in the Lithuanian language and refers to the Vilnia Creek (Vilnelė). The district has been popular with artists for some time, and has been compared to Montmartre in Paris and to Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen, due to its Bohemian and laissez-faire atmosphere. On April 1, 1997, the district declared itself an independent republic.

Geography

Užupis is quite small and isolated, being only about 148 acres (60 ha) in size; it has around 7,000 inhabitants, nearly 1,000 being artists. On one side it is separated from the Old Town by The Vilnia Creek/River, on the second there are steep hills, and on the third side it borders on an industrial area built under soviet rule, which is now to be rebuilt into a fashionable district.

History

The first bridges across the river were built in the 16th century, at which time the district's inhabitants were mostly Jewish. The district contains The Bernardine Cemetery, one of the oldest cemeteries in the city. Most of the district's Jewish population were killed during the Holocaust, and later the old Jewish Cemetery uphill would be destroyed by the Soviets. The houses left abandoned were later occupied by marginal elements of society, mainly the homeless and prostitutes. Until Lithuania's declaration of independence in 1990, it was one of the most neglected areas in the city, containing many run-down houses, many without utilities. The district has been a common haunt of artists and bohemians since Soviet times, and even today many young artists are squatting in abandoned buildings near the Vilnia River. 2013 saw the inauguration of two big art centers by the river and by the gymnasium. In 1995, a group of Lithuanian artists and intellectuals erected a statue of Frank Zappa in the nation’s capital Vilnius. Two years later on April Fool’s Day, the city’s bohemian quarter declared itself an independent Republic. Shortly afterward, four national flags were designed (one for each season), a constitution was drawn up, consisting of 41 articles, written by Romas Lileikis, currency, cabinet of ministers, festivities, an anthem and a 12 man army.

Independence

Shortly afterward, four national flags were designed (one for each season), a constitution was drawn up, consisting of 41 articles, written by Romas Lileikis, national bank, currency, cabinet of ministers, festivities, an anthem and a 12 man army.

They celebrate this independence annually on Užupis Day, which falls on April 1. Artistic endeavours are the main preoccupation of the Republic.

The President of the Republic of Užupis and one of the 12 Founding Fathers - Romas Lileikis, is himself a poet, a musician, and a film director.

Artūras Zuokas, a former mayor of Vilnius, lives in Užupis and frequently takes part in the Republic's events. Užupis does not house Internet-cafes, kiosks, big malls, or governmental institutions (except Užupian), and there is no embassy to Lithuania.

References