The Old Town Citizens Association was established in 2004.
Our grass-roots movement was prompted by the building boom which was taking place in Vilnius in 2004. Greedy real estate developers were looking for ways to profit from the historic Vilnius Old Town and were ignoring historical preservation.
The Vilnius Archdiocese was one of these greedy real estate developers. We learned of their plan to build a modern building on the grounds of the historic Basilians Monastary, located at Arkliu st 18 in the historic Old Town. This would have not only destroyed the historic Basilians Monastery ansemble of buildings – but it would have also set a precedent for the construction of modern buildings in the Old Town in locations were there had previously been no other building.
After many months of intense efforts, protests, letters to government officials, meetings with UNESCO experts from abroad and television interviews – we succeeded in preventing the Vilnius Archdiocese from erecting the modern building. They were forced to change their plans. The new lecture hall was built in another area of the property, where there had formerly been a building.
We were thankful that we had succeeded in saving the historic Old Town.