With a name derived from a phrase approximating 'over the river', Užupis is a picturesque, bohemian and slightly off-kilter part of the city centre trapped in a coil of the bubbling Vilnelė. For decades, if not centuries, populated by many of the city's undesirables (including a young Felix Dzerzhinsky, founder of the KGB), its renaissance began in the mid-1990s when its many dank homes and craggy ruins started to get the gentrification treatment. These days it's as safe to wander round as Vilnius Cathedral and is arguably the city's most memorable and charming district, filled with galleries, artists' studios, cafés and quirkiness. Užupis is also a self-proclaimed, tongue-in-cheek independent republic with its own president, flag and hilarious constitution, which can be read in the open air as it's nailed to a wall on Paupio Street. Wander round, explore the riverside, peer into the courtyards and enjoy the atmosphere.
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