Lithuania and Poland have both built “portals” connecting two of their respective major cities. The Lithuanian city is Vilnius, the country’s capital, while the Polish city is Lublin, one of the oldest and most historically and culturally rich cities in the entire country.
Of course, these aren’t literally “portals” that can instantly transport a person walking through them from one city to the other. Rather, they are an art project that allows the dwellers of one city to catch a glimpse of what it would be like to be in the other.
The “portals” are circular objects that symbolize the wheel of time.
The screens in the center of the portals have cameras, each of which connects to the camera at the other portal, allowing the dwellers of one city to see what the dwellers of the other are doing.
The Lithuanian portal is located right by the Vilnius train station, while the Polish portal is located on Plac Litewski in Lublin.
Ever since the portals were built, people have loved them and have gathered by them every day. They are a testament to the power of technology to shrink space and eliminate its boundaries.
A Tale of Two Cities
Vilnius and Lublin have had cultural connections with one another going back centuries.
Back on July 1, 1569, Poland and Lithuania signed a treaty of union in Lublin, which established what then became known as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. As it happens, the team that created the portals did not originally seek to place them in Vilnius and Lublin. The team simply sought any two cities who would agree to this arraignment, and Vilnius and Lublin just so happened to be the two that did.
The purpose of the portal project has been to unite people separated by spatial boundaries and to give them glimpses into one another’s lives.
Although sound is not available on the feed, as that would be technically difficult to maintain 24/7, the existence of a constant visual feed uniting these two cities is already impressive enough.
People regularly gather at the portals to wave at one another, blow each other kisses, do push-ups, and other things.
When a post about the portals was shared on Reddit, people loved it so much that the post attracted more than 140,000 upvotes in a single day.
The brains behind the operation was Benediktas Gylys of Vilnius Tech University, and the project took him and his team about five years to complete. Moreover, it was established during the coronavirus pandemic at a time when people are locked down and craving human connection more than ever.
All in all, this was a beautiful way to unite people and tear down the barriers that separate them.