When medieval Lithuania was a Grand Duchy, it faced an aggressive threat from Christians in the west. Those who came to the pagan country's aid were Muslims from the east, and their descendants have resided here ever since.
Laden with love-locks and traversed by a steady flow of visitors, the small bridge crossing over the Vilnia River in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, could be any in Europe. But this bridge is actually a border – albeit with no passport control – to a ‘country’ within a country: the quirky, creative, self-declared Republic of Užupis.
Pristine sand beaches attract sunbathers during Lithuania's short summer season. Others come to hike the dunes, cycle, or simply recharge their batteries, nourished on a steady diet of smoked fish and heady sea air.