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Photographer's Note

A woman was taking a photo of her friend, I thought it looked nice and joined them. The photographer probably didn't notice me but her friend certainly did. She seemed to be quite amused and kept on smiling.

This photo was taken in Vilnius, or to be more precise in the Republic of Uupis, a self-declared independent state in a small district of Vilnius, on the "wrong" side of the narrow Vilnia river which winds its way along the Eastern side of Vilnius Old Town.

Uupis was for decades a fairly neglected part of Vilnius. The standard of living was low but living was cheap, making its rundown houses popular among squatters and artists and other people living on the fringe of society. According to Wikipedia almost 1000 of the district's approximately 7000 inhabitants are registered as artists.

Today the area seems to be undergoing a process of gentrification. Among the many studios and galleries new restaurants and caf廥 are opening, houses are being restored and new ones are built and richer people are moving in to enjoy the bohemian atmosphere.

The Republic of Uupis was declared on April Fool's day in 1997. It has its own president, a flag, an anthem and a constitution which is posted in a number of languages in one of the streets.

I may return to Uupis later on. Meanwhile I will show two magnificent graffiti paintings proving that among the Uupians there are indeed talented artists.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10291 W: 521 N: 19902] (87437)
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