Vilnius is the major economic centre of Lithuania and one of the largest financial centres of the Baltic states. Even though it is home to only 20% of Lithuania’s population, it generates about one-third of Lithuania’s GDP. GDP per capita (nominal) in Vilnius County is about €18,100, making it the wealthiest region in Lithuania. Vilnius Gross Regional Product is about €12 billion.
Manufacturers in the solar and laser industries are rapidly growing in Vilnius – photovoltaic elements and renewable energy producers: Arginta, Precizika, Baltic Solar; high-performance laser manufacturers: Ekspla, Eksma; biotechnology manufacturers: Fermentas, Thermo Fisher, Sicor Biotech. All these manufacturers successfully supply their products to global markets.
The city has many universities. The largest and oldest is Vilnius University with 23,000 students. Its main premises are located in the Old Town. The university has a recognised high standard of education, participating in projects with UNESCO and NATO, among others. The University features many Masters programmes in English, as well as programmes delivered in cooperation with universities all over Europe.
Vilnius is a cosmopolitan city with diverse architecture, including 65 churches. Like most medieval towns, Vilnius grew around its Town Hall. The main artery, Pilies Street, links the Royal Palace with the Town Hall. Other streets meander past the palaces of feudal lords and landlords, churches, shops and craftsmen’s workrooms. Narrow, curved streets and intimate courtyards developed in the radial layout of medieval Vilnius. Vilnius Old Town, the historic centre of the city, is one of the largest in Europe, at 3.6 km2 (1.4 sq mi). The most valuable historic and cultural sites are concentrated there.