As with the choice for 2021, I agree with the election of the European Capital of Culture for 2022. It will be Kaunas in Lithuania.
Sadly and inexplicably, during my whole year in Lithuania, I only found one day to visit Kaunas, the former provisional capital (1920-1940). I don’t want to get into how that – the provisional capital, not my visit – happened, because Lithuanian history is complicated.
In any case, I found the city beautiful, green, inviting. Architecture, culture and history definitely warrant it to be a European Capital of Culture.
I remember thinking back then: “If I ever move to Lithuania again, I’ll move to Kaunas”. Nothing against Vilnius, which is a beautiful city too, but I generally don’t like to live in the same city twice.
And Kaunas had a creative idea to protect bicycles from being stolen.
Or maybe that was art.
There will probably be more of that in 2022, but even before the big year, Kaunas is well-worth a longer visit. Besides the churches, parks and museums, Pažaislis Monastery and the Open Air Museum of Lithuania, both situated by a large artificial lake should be quite interesting.
And you shouldn’t forget the so-called Ninth Fort, which was the place of mass executions of Jews during the German occupation.
I haven’t been to the museum at the Ninth Fort yet. Hopefully, it is better than Grutas Park or even the museum at the former Gestapo prison in Vilnius, where the Nazi occupation, the Holocaust and in particular the Lithuanian participation in the latter is sometimes glossed over in a somewhat revisionist manner.