This year, the Christmassy city of Vilnius will once again surprise by its unconventional solutions – an alternative Christmas courtyard will be open from the 20th of December till the 5th of January. The capital will offer a space for winter festivities in the former Lukiškės Prison (Lukiškių skg. 6) for those in search for different Christmas. Everyone, who is open to experiments and metamorphoses, are welcome to enjoy light installations, an alternative Christmas tree – a sculpture of running water, and interactive swings at the courtyard.
“Christmas will also come to the area, which was formerly closed. The city sees this courtyard as an open cultural space for events, business and citizens’ needs. Such initiatives as the alternative Christmas courtyard will be an impetus for this part of the city to also finally become a site of attraction”, says Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius.
Organizers of the initiative promise to residents longing for an alternative approach to Christmas that the festive courtyard inciting curiosity will offer new experiences, be filled with creative ideas and an experimental approach.
“We are pleased to see that the former prison complex at the centre of Vilnius is becoming a highly attractive object for various cultural events, encouraging artists to implement original projects here. Cultural life has already been bubbling throughout the entire Lukiškės neighbourhood, giving new means of expression to our capital Vilnius”, says the Minister of Justice Elvinas Jankevičius. “Now Lukiškės is opening up for alternative Christmas. I wish that residents and guests of Vilnius who visit the courtyard are filled with positive emotions inviting them to do good deeds all year long”.
“This will be the merriest Christmas in the history of the centenary of Lukiškės”, says Viktoras Davidenko, the former Director of the prison and the current Director of Vilnius Penitentiary.
According to one of the authors of the idea the project coordinator Darius Kupliauskas, the idea of an alternative Christmas yard as a space for artistic light installations came from working on various creative projects: “We have felt the wish of residents of Vilnius to see some light installations in unusual locations for a long time, and the opening of the territory of Lukiškės prison made this possible. I believe this can be the beginning of a great tradition.”
The City of Vilnius, together with the Ministry of Justice and the Vilnius Penitentiary, invites all residents and guests of Vilnius to also include a visit to the alternative Christmas courtyard in their Christmas walk. The courtyard will be open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. till the 5th of January, except for December 23-24 and December 30-31, when it will be temporarily closed. The event for the lightening of the alternative fir tree will take place on the 20th of December.
This is the second time that Vilnius holds an alternative Christmas event. Last year, an alternative Christmas town was set up on a railroad track in the Railway Station neighbourhood.