The HBO series Chernobyl, which has captivated viewers around the world this past month, has inspired a massive wave of interest. Not only in the location where the nuclear catastrophe occurred 33 years ago but also the locations where the series itself was filmed. This is an excellent opportunity to present Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, where more than two-thirds of the series was filmed.
“The topic of Chernobyl is painful, shocking and once more reminds us of the cruelty of the former occupation. It is already history, however, the real mission of this series to highlight the topic of Chernobyl and the Soviet system’s lies, oppression and sacrifice of human beings – it will linger for a long time and I hope it will help humanity avoid similar mistakes. Vilnius also has its own mission on this path – to become the visual space of this series, where city guests can travel back in time. Cinema tourism is extremely popular around the world and we hope that the Chernobyl series will increase Vilnius’ exposure in the world,” Vilnius city Mayor Remigijus Šimašius said in a Go Vilnius press release.
Film famous for its authenticity
Viewers were captivated by the thorough and authentic recreation of the atmosphere in the film, this includes costumes, interior details, cars, and locations. Chernobyl was filmed in the Lithuanian capital for 60 of its total 88 days. Filming was performed in Fabijoniškės and Justiniškės suburbs, in the Occupation and Freedom Fights Museum, the Ministry of Interior Culture Palace, VGTU Architecture Faculty, the former cabinet guest house, and other locations.
According to the Vilnius tourism and business development agency Go Vilnius director Inga Romanovskienė, in recent days, a massive wave of interest has been felt – foreigners are inquiring where exactly in Vilnius the series was filmed, foreign news media is writing about cinema projects being created in the city. Efforts are being made for Vilnius to enter the horizons of film lovers.
“We are actively advertising Vilnius in foreign news media and social networks because the film’s content is being discussed in the world and it is important to us that Vilnius would reach their radars. Over a couple of days, the special section of the Vilnius tourism website dedicated to the Chernobyl series has been visited by thousands of users – mostly from the UK, Poland, USA, and other countries. The information we have presented has already reached more than 300 thousand social media users around the world,” I. Romanovskienė said.
Travel agencies are getting ready for the ‘Chernobyl’ tourists
According to her, the aim is to encourage the tourism business to also make use of the interest. Next week, Go Vilnius will, together with the Vilnius Cinema Bureau, organise a presentation of the project to travel agency representatives so that they could create excursions and sightseeing tours based on Chernobyl, make other creative uses of the famous series.
“Vilnius, as seen in this series, is not the classical tourist Vilnius, which foreigners are accustomed to. It is one of the many faces of the capital alongside other historical epoch layers that remain in the city. Variety and multi-culturalism are strengths of Vilnius. This is just one of the reasons why the city interests increasingly many world-famous cinema creators,” Vilnius Cinema Bureau head Jūratė Pazikaitė said.
For those interested in famous foreign films created in Vilnius, together with the Vilnius Cinema Bureau, Go Vilnius has prepared a special publication Vilnius On Screen, which presents films shot in the city over the past four years. Among them you find Chernobyl; also the new HBO series including famous British actress Helen Mirren Catherine the Great, which will reach our screens in autumn; the BBC series War and Peace, which was filmed a few years ago and others. The Vilnius cinema guide can also be read for free online.