Lithuania in the News
7th January 2018
The 2017 Vilnius Christmas Festivities Astound the World
The Vilnius Christmas Tree in the Cathedral Square.
Photo courtesy vilnius.lt
Some cities compete with each other for the best New Year fireworks, while others in the spirit of Christmas compete for the best Christmas tree. For Christmas 2017 Vilnius again amazed the world with a stunning Christmas tree. With a height of 27 meters and an amazing 70 thousand light bulbs illuminating it, it covers a surface area of more than 2500 sq. m. at its base. The Christmas tree makes an impressive sight situated in the Vilnius Cathedral Square, in front of the Cathedral and the Cathedral Bell Tower.
Internationally the Vilnius Christmas tree has received extensive media coverage in print, internet, radio & TV, and social media - described variously as the most beautiful in Europe, inimitable etc. “Now that really is a Christmas tree”, according to the British website www.mirror.co.uk. The popular German magazine “Bild” also points out that the Vilnius Christmas tree is set off by the city of Vilnius, strikingly beautiful itself. With more than 50 churches in Vilnius, it compares Vilnius to Rome. The designer of the Christmas tree was Dominykas Koncevičius.
On the other extreme end of size magnitude, that at the level of nanotechnology, Vilnius again astounds. Vilnius scientists have made a very small three-dimensional exact copy of the traditional Nativity Scene in the Cathedral Square, on scale 10,000 times smaller, making it the smallest in the world and smaller than a human cell, visible only through a microscope.
The microscopic scale Vilnius Nativity Scene.
Photo courtesy nanojesus.com
Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius said: “This is truly a unique initiative, which playfully brings a message to the world about Vilnius’ creative potential and speaks to the talent of our scientists and their ability to understand and implement modern technologies”. Lithuania has for a long time been a global leader in lasers and has again shown its mastery of high technology processes: those of 3D scanning, 3D modelling and 3D laser nanoprinting. Religious art has always employed the best technologies available at the time. In this case nanotechnology has raised Christmas art to a unique new level.
It took three months to execute this project. It involved a team from Vilnius Gediminas Technical University and the University’s “LinkMenų Factory” Innovation Centre, together with the Vilnius University Laser Research Centre and the industrial companies “Femtika” and “Idea 3D.” The project was supported by the Vilnius Archdiocese, “Go Vilnius” and “Invest Lithuania”.
In total, five copies of the nano-Nativity Scene were made. One copy was presented to Pope Francis by Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė as a gift from Lithuanian people, who eagerly await his visit to Lithuania in 2018. Other copies will remain with the Lithuanian Presidential Palace, the Vilnius Archdiocese, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University and Vilnius Municipality.
In passing it is also interesting to note that the Archbishop of Vilnius, Gintaras Grušas, is no stranger to high technology. Earlier in his life he had worked as a computer scientist with IBM.

Further information:
http://www.vilnius.lt/kalbos/?p=6738&lang=en
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/one-europes-brightest-christmas-trees-11624243
http://www.bild.de/reise/europa/lettland/advent-baltikum-54251758.bild.html
http://www.vilnius.lt/kalbos/?p=6773&lang=en
https://www.nanojesus.com/