Rivers of Culture flow to… Kaunas

Have you heard the legend that Kaunas was born from the The Confluence of the Nemunas and the Neris? As a result, the alter falls there today, reminding us of the beginning of each of our commencement of what is common, what is uniting and strengthening. This year, when Kaunas is holding the title of the European Capital of Culture, the The Confluence of the two rivers will gain even more power. Modern values ​​would not be so strong without a historical foundation, and the events bustling in the city turned Kaunas into a The Confluence of hundreds cultural rivers instead of two.

Rivers, their shores, water and all its possible features additionally with space for interpretation are all integral to the program of European Capital of Culture. There were many ideas written before 2022, preparing to turn Kaunas and Kaunas district into one big European scene, for example reviving the Neris, Nemunas, Nevėžis and many streams flowing into these rivers like blood vessels in the city, bringing the city’s culture closer to the water and the coast. Today, the ideas have already turned into a calendar of events with enough of them for more than a year. With this calendar, we will travel from the temporary to contemporary capital of Lithuania. Let’s look at what kind of waters can be found here.

Everyone will come to the city in May

The Kaunas 2022 program is planned throughout three major weekends of the year. In January, the whole of Europe watched the “Confusion”, and in November there will be “Contract”, while the second part of the trilogy – “The Confluence” on May 20-22 – will flood Kaunas and Kaunas district. In one of the most impressive places in Lithuania, everyone will be invited to resolve their internal contradictions and enjoy unity, being in the bed of love of the Nemunas and the Neris. On May 21 the main weekend, show is being prepared for Kaunas residents and guests of the city: a mystery on the water that has never been seen before in Lithuania, in the scenography the ships will wave, and projections animating rivers will ensure a unique spectacle.

The date of “The Confluence” is not random: the birthday of Kaunas is at the end of May, and in Kaunas district, Zapyškis, near the Nemunas, the international kite festival “Between Earth and Sky” – most memorable holiday in Kaunas district will happen. Therefore, the events of the second part of the trilogy are dedicated to the whole weekend. The name “The Confluence” symbolizes not only the meeting of the rivers Nemunas and the Neris, but also the communality of Kaunas and Kaunas district residents, relations with other European cities. Throughout the weekend, spectators and guests of the city will be amazed by the performances of acrobats, modern circuses, acts on rivers and musical picnics on their shores.

During the “The Confluence” there will be the possibility to participate in the community initiative “Let’s Celebrate the River“

It will offer two cultural routes on the Nemunas and Neris for canoeing or even self-made rafts. The organizers of the event will invite you to experience the culture not only on the water (music concerts, orienteering games and other entertainment await you during the whole swim), but also on the islands of Culture, which are comfortably located on the coast. Those not wanting to wet their feet and climb into the water, on May 21st. will be able to join a bike ride and discover the unique banks of the Nemunas and the creative islands accompanied by a guide. These activities are part of the “STAR Cities” project “Interreg Europe”.

We promise that Kaunas Beast, which was looked and searched for by many during the game of the first part “The Confusion”, will also appear in second part “The Confluence” – we will see what challenge the mystical creature will pose for the citizens and their guests this time.

“Nemuno7” throws the anchor

At the end of the “The Confluence” weekend, on the left bank of the Nemunas river in Zapyškis, a ship will be moored, newly born as the interdisciplinary cultural and artistic space “Nemuno7”. This ship was dredger built in Czechoslovakia in 1965 to deepen the riverbed in the Nemunas. Due to outdated and damaging technology to the river ecosystem, the “Nemuno7”cannot be used for its intended purpose. So instead of destroying the object, more sustainable solution was chosen – to give it a new role and transform it into a cultural space that would invite art exhibitions and events on the theme of water.

“Nemuno7” is not only a unique art space in terms of its architecture and its relationship with nature, but it is a deck for a hot discussions. After all, the idea of ​​a cultural ship was based on three themes: water, sustainability and dialogue. This exceptional project is expected to become a dialogue between the past, present and future.

Instead of a gallery – into a sea container

In the mid-summer, Kaunas 2022 will present another reason to visit Zapyškis. The international exhibition “Non-Downstream / Water Power“, will be open from July 1 until October. This event is the result of close friendship between Kaunas residents and the German OSTRALE Biennale, and a part of the project “Flowing Connections“implemented at the European level.

During this exhibition, Contemporary art will be placed in maritime containers rather than in traditional gallery spaces. These objects have been traveling from different continents on the ocean and have become home to artists in Dresden, Germany. Artists from many countries have released creative energy in these containers; additionally the creator Gabrielė Gervickaitė is representing Lithuania.

More water bodies on the map

“Kaunas 2022“ is not only the great cultural operators and performers, but also every yard, house, apartment and residents of Kaunas and Kaunas district. Everyone contributes a lot to the richness of the Capital of Culture program. The Petrašiūnai community is convinced that August is the most appropriate month to invite everyone to Kaunas Lagoon. The aim of Kaunas Lagoon Festival in Petrašiūnai on August 14, is to highlight the importance of the largest artificial water body in Lithuania and to show how diverse life is around this water body.

Another special event near the lagoon is the already traditional event “Foot in the Lagoon“ in Kaunas district. Every year at the end of the summer, the hands and hearts of the people of Samylai and the surrounding settlements create an event scheduled on 2022 August 27. When the spirit of flooded villages during the construction of Kaunas Hydroelectric Power Plant, will be resurrected.

The aim of this initiative is to preserve, remind and commemorate the traditions of the flooded settlements of Kaunas Lagoon. The event offers the songs, stories and folklore of Lithuanian Atlantis villages, combines them with contemporary music and innovative technical solutions. The theatrical performance will be attended by the community of flooded villages, the bands of the Samylai Culture Center, representatives of professional art and musical groups.

Well, the last inspiringly cool recommendation is the social game “Upynės“, which will last all summer. It invites everyone to move come to the water and engage in dialogue with it and the people on other side of the river. The organizers of the game are the cultural river research platform “TẽKa“, which aims to restore the diplomatic relations with the townspeople on the other bank of the river and restore the title of a river town appropriate for Kaunas.

Extensive and comprehensive program “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022“of the whole year – www.kaunas2022.eu  and in the mobile app “Kaunas 2022“.

Kaunas 2022 Information