Don’t Fight, Don’t Win, Don’t Surrender.
These are the rallying cries of the Republic of Užupis, population 7,000. It is a self-declared, largely unrecognized, independent republic within the boundaries of Lithuania. Declared a micro-nation by residents on April 1st, 1997, this community of artists and free spirits may or may not be playing an extended April Fool’s Joke. If so, they sure are committed.
If it’s a joke, it’s an elaborate one. A president and cabinet of ministers have been elected. An anthem has been composed and a constitution authored. Currency has been created and circulated. A flag flies (four flags, actually, one for each season) and an army has been mobilized… with 11 troops in all. Their Independence Day, called “Užupis Day” of course, takes place on April 1st; be sure to take your passport as this is the only day you’ll get it stamped.
While their military couldn’t exactly be considered formidable, the same can’t be said about their constitution. The 39 articles embodying Užupis can be found on a public wall, transcribed in 23 different languages. The articles swing from community-minded (2. Everyone has the right to hot water, heating in winter, and a tiled roof); to obvious (30. Everyone has the right to have brothers, sisters, and parents); to obscure (37. Everyone has the right to have no rights); to just plain weird (13. A cat is not obliged to love its owner, but must help in time of need).
A full list of the Užupis constitutional articles can be found on their website. There is currently no embassy.