View of the facade, the New Arsenal, home to the National Museum of Lithuania, Vilnius Castle Complex, historic centre of Vilnius (Unesco World Heritage List, 1994), Dainava, Lithuania

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National Museum of Lithuania


This wide-ranging museum (inside the New Arsenal) exhibits art and artefacts from Lithuanian life from Neolithic times to the present day. Early history is revealed in 2nd millennium BC arrowheads and 7th-century grave hauls (signage isn't always good), while the lives of well-to-do Lithuanians of recent centuries are unveiled with velvet-lined sleds and elaborately painted furniture. The highlight is the colourful folk traditions room, replete with floral-decorated furnishings, linens and carved wooden crosses.

The museum builds on the collections compiled by the Museum of Antiquities since 1855 and also features collections devoted to numismatics (including some of the very first Lithuanian coins) and burial traditions.

A statue of Mindaugas, Lithuania's sole king, has stood guard over the entrance since 2003.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Vilnius attractions

1. Mindaugas

0.02 MILES

This landmark statue depicts the early unifier of the Lithuanian tribes in the mid-13th century and the country's first king.

4. Gediminas Castle & Museum

0.11 MILES

With its hilltop location above the junction of the Neris and Vilnia Rivers, Gediminas Castle is the last of a series of settlements and fortified…

5. Gediminas Hill

0.12 MILES

Vilnius was founded on 48m-high Gediminas Hill, topped since the 13th century by a red-brick tower. To reach the top of the hill, clamber up the rocky…

6. Vilnius Cathedral

0.12 MILES

Stately Vilnius Cathedral, divorced from its freestanding belfry, is a national symbol and the city's most instantly recognisable building. Known in full…

7. Museum of Applied Art

0.13 MILES

The Old Arsenal, built in the 16th century and restored in the 1980s, houses temporary exhibitions and a permanent collection showcasing 15th- to 19th…