Lithuania’s second-largest city Kaunas has developed rapidly, creating new reasons to pay a visit. Located between two rivers and enveloped by nature, it charms tourists with architecture, water activities, and striking landscapes. The interwar years from 1919 to 1940 were significant for Kaunas as the temporary capital of Lithuania. The city burgeoned into a thriving centre of scientific, cultural, and academic activity. Its greatest treasure – the unique modernist architecture – also emerged during this time. Kaunas is famous throughout the world as the birthplace and home of many renowned individuals, including the founding member of Fluxus Jurgis Mačiūnas.
The city’s status as the European Capital of Culture has allowed its creative community to carry out a long-awaited transformation of Kaunas city and its district: from a stagnating town living with nostalgia for the interwar years, to a growing, open city which believes in its future, focusing on the unique Kaunas modernist architecture, history, and memory, Fluxus ideas and today’s community. The project “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022” was implemented very successfully: the number of tourists from abroad soared by 138% during the title year, the programme invited to 3000 events, welcomed around 2,4 million visitors, and gained interest of major global media.
The broad cultural programme of 2022 was created by more than 19 000 professional artists and creators from Lithuania and abroad. Among them were such world-renowned artists as Yoko Ono, William Kentridge, Marina Abramovič and others. The events of “The Contemporary Myth of Kaunas Trilogy” – “The Confusion”, “The Confluence”, and “The Contract” – which lasted a few days, and drew great attention, celebrating the transformation of Kaunas into an open, contemporary capital, proud of it’s unique architecture, history, Fluxus spirit and tightly-knitted communities.
The city and district experiencing a cultural bloom, their rich multicultural history and the interwar modernist architecture marked by the European Heritage Label were appreciated not only by local communities, tourists, but also by the international media. “National Geographic”, a popular science magazine boasting 6 million readers, noted that Kaunas is “finally getting the plaudits it deserves”, “The Guardian” listed the Capital of Culture among the 10 best European city breaks with a difference, and “Time” presented Kaunas as one of the best places in the world in 2022.
Festivals and events that gained enormous popularity became an inseparable part of the city and its district and will continue to be successfully implemented after the end of the “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022” project. The “Fluxus” night carnival, the longest and friendliest “Courtyard Festival” table in Europe, and breath-taking “Contempo” performances in unexpected spaces are just a few of the stories that have started and will continue in Kaunas and its district. More than 1000 legacy products remain in Kaunas in total: from crowd-pulling festivals, sculptures, and art objects to publications and virtual routes.
Information about Kaunas 2022 events in 2023 is available here.
You can find a representational video of “Kaunas 2022” here: https://youtu.be/xvaZ4RuVheI