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Old July 2nd, 2010, 03:36 AM   #1
Vecais Sakarnis
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The City of Sun - ŠIAULIAI

Last weekend when really beautiful weather took over Baltic states region, I decided it's time to explore 2 of the "Big Five" Lithuanian cities which are located rather close to Latvian border - Šiauliai and Panevežys. Both are significant town-cities, larger than Estonia's second city Tartu or Latvia's second city Daugavpils. I took quite many shots and will gradually show them here, if someone will care to pay attention .

So, we are starting with Šiauliai (in Latvia we call them - Šauļi) which is 4th largest city in Lithuania with population of 128 396 (2007). Šiauliai got it's name after the famous battle of Saule ("saule" means "sun" in Latvian and Lithuanian languages) in 1236, where Samogitians and Semigallians (Lithuania's northern and Latvia's southern ethnic groups in 13th Century - one of the ancestors of Lithuanians and Latvians) defeated Livonian Brothers of Sword (German crusader knights).

See Šiauliai in map:



Untypical start with some "brainwashing" image Try to guess what is it:



Stil close to Latvian border - the ringroad of Joniškis town starts here. We are 88 kms from Riga, as road sign says.



The entrance of Šiauliai. The valley between the border of city and the centre gave a very good visual effect when arriving from northern side. The church and the hotel building looked impressive from these view points, hotel building (will show it later) even looked like a serious highrise...



In centre.



Looking back to road from where I arrived:



I just loved these telephone cabins, they were quite many in Šiauliai and Panevežys, it looks like Lithuanians still like to use pay phones, in Latvia such cabins are almost extinct.



"Šiauliu kolegija" - I wonder what it means? My guess is some college or university because the building look like one.



Some telezoom composition:



The central square of Šiauliai is nice, enjoyable place where to sit and relax:



There is such interesting khmm... fountain? installation? monument? - I'm confused how to call it - on the square:



The main symbols of the city - the Cathedral and Townhall buildings.





The church solo:



That "kolegija" building in whole:



And the hotel building from where I took above views of the city which I will show in the next bunch of pictures:

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Old July 2nd, 2010, 12:36 PM   #2
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Amazing photos from this place... just beautiful
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Old July 2nd, 2010, 03:08 PM   #3
Vecais Sakarnis
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Thanks, Christos!
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Old July 2nd, 2010, 06:03 PM   #4
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Very nice shots there! Lovely weather too.
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 01:23 PM   #5
Vecais Sakarnis
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Some pictures of hotel highrise upper floor - there is nice, accessible balconies, where everyone can walk in, and see the city from above. In tourism brochure it was said that it's possible to climb up on Cathedral's tower, but actually it wasn't, I just found one doors and climbed up to the organ player, and she just started to play and gave me sign to go back Then I just went to the hotel building, and there noone stopped me.

South-esatern part of the city:



North-eastern part. I like how the city is situated at several lakes.





The square at the hotel:



Eastern areas:



I got impression that Lithuanians have been even more crazy after "American Dream" in the "Fat years". Private houses of 3-4 floors And I guess, they are middle class houses not upper class, obviously?







We are turning to North-Western part:



To be continued...
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Old July 4th, 2010, 12:48 AM   #6
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"Salds" in Latvian means "sweet", don't know what is "salda" in Lithuanian:



Lithuanians are crazy to build very large supermarkets as well. And they call them in names which make them sound like a very prestige places In Šiauliai one of the shopping complex is "Ermitažas" (Ermitage), located on the side of road to Latvia...



And other is one of the "Akropolis" (Acropolis) chain, to which road signs direct even from 6 km distance. I guess this is the same, although I might be wrong because the name visible in the photo is "Bruklinas" (Brooklyn).



Maybe after this picture Tin_Can wouldn't want to call Šiauliai small anymore The city's highrise cluster of Soviet commieblocks shows it's urban power in the southern part of the city. Sorry about quality, the picture is taken through dirty glass window.







Northern area:



Beautiful natural scenery:



Šiauliai prison courtyard where prisoners are playing basketball



Main street of the city - Vilnius street. Will show street level pictures from this great street in the next part.









One more pic to say goodbye to the hotel:

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Old July 5th, 2010, 12:30 AM   #7
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This time make a coffee or something before watching, will be a bit larger bunch of pictures this time!

The main focus in this post will be on charming Vilnius street - Šiauliai's analogue of Gediminas street in Vilnius. Of course, not that architecturally rich and not so filled with life, but it's only logical because Šiauliai is 4 times smaller and much more provincial city.



Rather aggressive design of "Snoras" bank building. "Snoras" is one of the largest banks in Lithuania but only recently (a month ago) it has entered Latvian market.



And a formerly mighty Latvian financial monster "Parex bank" - after it's crash which almost destroyed the whole economy of Latvia, I was suprised to see that it's affiliates in Lithuania is still working. I've heard that "Snoras" wanted to buy "Parex" ATM network in Lithuania - don't know whether the deal was done or not.



I didn't managed to visit some museums which I wanted - they were already closed. One of them it was Bicycle museum (right next to monument in the pic), and another one - Cat museum. Because I really like both cats and bicycles!



Vilnius street from it's eastern end:



Latvian and Lithuanian languages aren't mutually intelligible, but they're mutually laughable For example, I couldn't resist to take a picture of this sign. "Slēptuve" in Latvian means "hiding place", but in Lithuanian it's apparently meaning something different Also, in one toilet, on the electric Hand Dryer, it was written "Vējelis" which immediately will call a spasm of laugther in any Latvian. That's because "vējelis" in our language sounds like a diminutive of "wind" ("wind" is "vējš" in Latvian) - it turns out, that electric hand dryer is "small wind".



Sometimes Latvian and Lithuanian are mutually intelligible as well. For example, here - "alus" and "cigaretes" means the same: "beer" and "cigarettes".



A bit unusual building



Back to Vilnius street.



Famous coffee and tea house "Presto".















Šiaulians have done a really smart thing by making this beautiful central walking street in the city. It's a shining example of how to make architecturally not too interesting street in a very enjoyable one, by adding many elegantly designed street elements, like lanterns, benches, flowerpots, garbage urns and even water pumps which they've made in American style:



This weird man made a very "original" street performances...













Some cinema with cafe offering also Lithuanian national meal - "Zeppelins" (potato paste with meat inside). It was closed though.



From Pansori's threads I know that Chinese food is very popular in Lithuania, and I saw it Šiauliai too...



I hope they're not serving snakes in those Chinese restaurants









I've got impression that 2 of the leading Lithuanian beers are "Švyturis" and "Kalnapilis". I tried both. "Švyturis" is a really good beer - can recommend it to everyone, when you're in Lithuania. Can't say the same about "Kalnapilis" though.



Danish "Carlsberg" beer street cafe exactly opposite to "Švyturis" on Vilnius street:



Vilnius street from it's western part















One more part of pictures will follow here from Šiauliai - we haven't touched probably the most interesting piece of architecture yet...
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Old July 9th, 2010, 02:15 AM   #8
Vecais Sakarnis
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Here comes last bunch of pictures from Šiauliai.

"Lietuvos Spauda" are as it seems only types of press kiosks in Lithuania. I haven't noticed, f.e., "Narvesens" there.



Now I see Lithuanians is a fanatic sport nation - here in Latvia it's unimaginable that basketball or volleyball balls would sell on press kiosks.



Some fragments of Vilnius street "mosaique".



The stylish poster of Šiauliai Drama Theatre:



Oh, sweet Soviet times...









I couldn't help but take this photo - my real name is Ikars.



Šiaulians believe (well, at least in tourism legend) that these gates can fulfil your wish if you think about it when going through them.









Farewell to 2 of the city's symbols:





Sundial on the wall of the Cathedral:



And here it is - the most ornate building in Šiauliai, the historical villa of Jewish industrialist Chaim Frenkel. In Soviet times there was a military hospital, now - a museum.







Industrial buildings near by:



This is the road where we head to - to Paņevežys!





The road Šiauliai-Panevežys is in such - not very good - quality only in the first kilometres, later it becomes very enjoyable.



What amazed me in Lithuania was the incredible amount of such bicycle roads just beside the main road - even outside populated places as you see here. Only in Germany I have seen something similar.

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Old July 15th, 2010, 02:36 AM   #9
Vecais Sakarnis
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Thanks @Pansori!

As I promile here some places by the road to Paņevežys.

Lithuanian rural fields close to Šiauliai:



Some countryside industry:



Don't ask me what is it, I don't have a clue. Looks like a dam or something:





The road goes on...



Communication tower in the middle of fields:



Lithuanians are VERY religious nation. This is just another small village beside the road, but look what a grand church it has! (and this is common thing in many small towns or villages in Lithuania)



I LOVE countryside and agriculture fields!



Kleboniškes ethnographic open-air museum is somewhere in the middle between Šiauliai and Panevežys. It is a beautiful, calm, silent place.

















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Old January 8th, 2011, 03:04 PM   #10
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I greatly enjoyed you photos made in my city. It gave me a chance to see many familiar sights in a different way - and I enjoyed it very much. Sometimes it happens that many things that you see every day and kind of take for granted, become so familiar that you hardly give them a moments notice and with time start not noticing them at all. With photos like yours it gives an opportunity of a refreshing look and sometimes even a hearty laugh at many all-too-familiar things...

I also enjoyed you comments very much. Some of them were soooo funny! However, there are a few things I would like to comment or correct. Here they are:

1. ""Šiauliu kolegija" - I wonder what it means? My guess is some college or university because the building look like one."

Yes, you guessed right. That is actually a college. There is also the University of Siauliai but it is in another building (shame you did not take a picture of it, because this is where I work...)

2. "There is such interesting khmm... fountain? installation? monument? - I'm confused how to call it - on the square"

We call this fountain "centai" (the cent coins)

3. "North-eastern part. I like how the city is situated at several lakes."

This one is not the biggest. There is lake Rekyva, on the southern side. It is like our local little version of the Baltic Sea... There are beaches and sailing and yachting competitions taking place.

4. "I got impression that Lithuanians have been even more crazy after "American Dream" in the "Fat years". Private houses of 3-4 floors And I guess, they are middle class houses not upper class, obviously?"

Actually, many of these big houses in your pictures were built during the last years of "the Soviet Paradise", many of them by people who had illegal businesses (at that time) or even by mafia mambers...

5. "Salds" in Latvian means "sweet", don't know what is "salda" in Lithuanian:"

It means the same in Lithuanian. But this name has nothing to do with sweetness. I don't know what it means exactly. If anything, it may remind one of the former mayors of the city: Arvydas Salda...

6. "Lithuanians are crazy to build very large supermarkets as well. And they call them in names which make them sound like a very prestige places In Šiauliai one of the shopping complex is "Ermitažas" (Ermitage), located on the side of road to Latvia..."

The one in this picture is actually called "Tilžė" (Tilzit), "Ermitazas" is just a chain of home appliance stores. The one in your next picture is "Bruklinas". "Akropolis" is much further on the southern edge of the city. It IS crazy. All these hude shopping malls opened up in the economic boom period of 2006 - 2008. Four huge shopping malls would be allright for Riga, but not for Siauliai. Now, many of them are standing half-empty...

7. "Šiauliai prison courtyard where prisoners are playing basketball"

Wow, that's an interesting one. A peek into prisoners' daily life...


8. "Latvian and Lithuanian languages aren't mutually intelligible, but they're mutually laughable For example, I couldn't resist to take a picture of this sign. "Slēptuve" in Latvian means "hiding place", but in Lithuanian it's apparently meaning something different Also, in one toilet, on the electric Hand Dryer, it was written "Vējelis" which immediately will call a spasm of laugther in any Latvian. That's because "vējelis" in our language sounds like a diminutive of "wind" ("wind" is "vējš" in Latvian) - it turns out, that electric hand dryer is "small wind"."

Actually, both "Sleptuve" and "vejelis" mean exactly the same in Lithuanian. So it must sound as funny for us as it does for you ))
On the other hand, the really funny thing I notice on Latvian shop windows is the word for "discount" (I think it is "Atlaides"). This sound very similar to "Atlaidai" which is in Lithuania a very big Catholic church feast when your sins are supposed to be forgiven ))

9. "From Pansori's threads I know that Chinese food is very popular in Lithuania, and I saw it Šiauliai too..."

LOL. This was actually not a Chinese restaurant, but a Chinese shop for cheap China-made clothes (I guess you must have those in Latvia too). The funny thing is that it was illegal and was closed a couple of weeks after opening up in the autumn of 2009.

10. "I hope they're not serving snakes in those Chinese restaurants "

This snake is an old one - from the Soviet times and simbolizes the nearby pharmacy. At that time nobody knew about Chinese restaurants and the possibility of being fed a snake there ))

11. "Don't ask me what is it, I don't have a clue. Looks like a dam or something:"

This is a former city dump. A place where our stuff goes when we throw it out: www.storyofstuff.com

12. "Lithuanians are VERY religious nation. This is just another small village beside the road, but look what a grand church it has! (and this is common thing in many small towns or villages in Lithuania)"

Maybe historically we were, but not much nowadays... Maybe a bit more religious than our northern neighbours, bot not nearly as much as e.g. our southern big neighbour Poland... Also, Seduva is not a small village, either. It used to be a mid-sized town untill it lost its status as a "rayon centre"...

Thanks again for nice pics! Come to Siauliai next summer again. There are still so many interesting places for you to take photos of...
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Old January 14th, 2011, 01:13 AM   #11
Vecais Sakarnis
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Vow, thanks for all this info!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vytenis View Post
The one in this picture is actually called "Tilžė" (Tilzit), "Ermitazas" is just a chain of home appliance stores. The one in your next picture is "Bruklinas". "Akropolis" is much further on the southern edge of the city. It IS crazy. All these hude shopping malls opened up in the economic boom period of 2006 - 2008. Four huge shopping malls would be allright for Riga, but not for Siauliai. Now, many of them are standing half-empty...
I can count about 15 large shopping malls or department stores in Riga, so yes, Šiauliai has them a bit more per inhabitant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vytenis View Post

Actually, both "Sleptuve" and "vejelis" mean exactly the same in Lithuanian. So it must sound as funny for us as it does for you ))
On the other hand, the really funny thing I notice on Latvian shop windows is the word for "discount" (I think it is "Atlaides"). This sound very similar to "Atlaidai" which is in Lithuania a very big Catholic church feast when your sins are supposed to be forgiven ))
There is a logic actually. In Latvian we have word "atlaist" - to release, to relieve, to let go, etc. "Atlaist grēkus" = "to relieve sins". "Atlaide" in religious sense is "indulgence" but much popular is economic use of "discounts".
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Old January 20th, 2011, 02:43 AM   #12
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Thanks for the photos (and the word games!). And Vytenis, I'm sure Vecais Sakarnis wouldn't mind if you posted a photo of the university in his thread
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Old February 6th, 2011, 06:20 PM   #13
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Thanks for those pictures! I always wanted to see how this city looks like!
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Old February 6th, 2011, 06:40 PM   #14
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Beautifully sunny and summery shots of this pretty place!
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Old December 25th, 2011, 02:03 PM   #15
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Vecais Sakarnis Thanks for sharing these pictures!
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