Vilnius is a UNESCO City of Literature!

The Lithuanian capital has always been renowned for being open to all nations, languages and creative people. Today, it has more news to share with the world – Vilnius has been recognized as a city that loves culture, writers and readers. Vilnius is the first Lithuanian city to receive the UNESCO City of Literature status in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Along with Vilnius, the status was also granted to Gothenburg (Sweden) and Jakarta (Indonesia). Other UNESCO Cities of Literature include Kraków, Wrocław (Poland), Utrecht (Netherlands), Lviv (Ukraine), Tartu (Estonia), Ljubljana (Slovenia) – more than 40 cities in total.

Vilnius City Council started preparing the bid in 2018, in collaboration with the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO, Lithuanian Publishers Association, Vilnius Municipal Central Library and other literary organisations.

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network was created in 2004 with an aim to strengthen the collaboration among with and among cities that identify creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable development. The network is made up of 295 cities from 90 countries.

Candidate cities select one of the 7 categories (Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, and Music), making long-term commitments to pay careful attention to a particular sector. When assessing the applications, UNESCO considers the quality and diversity of the candidate cities’ international cooperation initiatives, participation of the cultural organizations, experience in hosting local and international festivals, cultural events, activities of higher education institutions, development of online platforms for creative industries and economics, inclusion of art incubators, news industry and media, the sector’s economic development and the support of the local public authorities.

Why Vilnius Is Already a City of Literature

Vilnius has long been known as a literary city where famous authors have written their works in all kinds of languages, making it a part of their masterpieces. Marked by literary symbols, Vilnius has made a significant contribution to the development of various literary genres. The city is a home to a number of independent bookshops, international literary festivals, book launches, readings and other events, as well as to most of Lithuanian publishing houses. Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania has been open to public for more than 100 years, while Vilnius Book Fair, the largest annual book fair in the Baltic states, will be held for the 22nd time in 2022.

Delegates from other Cities of Literature, who have visited Lithuania on numerous occasions, participating in Vilnius Book Fair, literary events and organisations, identify Vilnius as a true literary city. Even its history begins with literary signs: Vilnius’ birthday is celebrated on 25 January, when Vilnius city was first mentioned in the letter written by Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania, back in 1325, declaring that Vilnius is open to all nations, languages and artists. Having acquired the status of a UNESCO City of Literature, Vilnius again invites everyone to “Read each other”.

Kotryna Zylė and Miglė Vasiliauskaitė, the creators of the logo for Vilnius’ City of Literature status, highlight the importance of the history of Vilnius’ multiculturalism, a bequeathed mission to read those around us. The letter V, followed by an ellipsis, highlights the city’s openness and the dialogue between cultures, writers and readers, different national and social groups, artists, residents and guests of the city.

It is our hope that the status of UNESCO City of Literature will help to spread the message about Vilnius’ literary merits to Europe and the rest of the world. It is also our hope to be actively involved in the Creative Cities Network, and to become a city which not only learns from others but is also able to share its own experience.


Partnering organisations


Rūta Elijošaitytė-Kaikarė
Application Coordinator

Tel. +370 686 10981


Mayor of Vilnius

For centuries, Vilnius has been a welcoming place for the peaceful coexistence of free citizens, while perfectly combining its magnificent history, spectacular natural environment and vibrant creativity. ❯❯❯
The Agenda

Municipal priorities

  • Build and implement a strategic vision of the city
  • Provide high quality services to the population
  • Attract investments that create well-paid jobs
  • Be transparent, efficient and open to the residents, visitors and investors