As GoVilnius strives to offer bold, creative and inclusive ways to introduce destinations, and in support of White Cane Safety Day (15 October, 2023) new sensory experiences for blind and visually impaired people living in and visiting Vilnius have been introduced.
An exciting new city tour with an audio guide devised specifically for blind people and visually impaired people, yet open to everyone, is now open.
The Touch and Hear Vilnius Route describes the history of the city but the highlights can be touched through that experience. Also, the whole audio guide not only talks about history but provides detailed descriptions of how to follow the route and where to find specific items (e.g example remains of ancient walls).
In October, free walking tours and online audio guides will be available to anyone wishing to try it and Museums in Vilnius such as MO Museum, Church Heritage Museum or National Art Gallery will also provide special tours and educational activities.
A captivating video has also been released to raise awareness which shows how everyone can see the world in new ways and how we can all use alternative senses to enjoy what is around us.
In addition to raising awareness of mobility and integration challenges and how touch, sound, storytelling and other sensory techniques can be used to learn about a destination or place of interest, the film also features stories and experiences of visually impaired people living in Vilnius.
To support the initiative, Mayor of Vilnius, Valdas Benunskas took part in a walking tour without the aid of vision.
“We do the best we can to make Vilnius friendly and accessible to different people, and we are taking various steps towards reaching this goal, such as implementing universal design principles to ensure that the physical and virtual environment of the city is equally accessible to everybody. He added: “In the meantime, this initiative is a meaningful and beautiful way to express our solidarity with visually impaired residents and visitors and to show that Vilnius is a place rich with experiences even without seeing them.” said Benkunskas.
Paulius Kalvelis, representative of The Lithuanian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired added: “We are happy that people with visual impairments can safely travel around the city, get to know Vilnius on their own, and experience historical objects speaking with people’s voices, telling the stories of their origin. Tactile models help them understand the shapes and sizes of these historical objects, and extremely accurate navigation between locations allows for a comfortable journey in exploring the city.”