Eu3+-doped YVO4 nanopowders were prepared by the modified Pechini method. The structural properties were studied with XRD, SEM and Raman spectroscopy. XRD pattern indicates that nanocrystalline YVO4:Eu3+ powders form only pure tetragonal phase. SEM images show that synthesized samples are mixture of large, well-faceted particles and weakly agglomerated nanoparticles. The symmetry of luminescent centers local surrounding was discussed in terms of asymmetry coefficient. Dependence of luminescent intensity on Eu3+ doping concentration was studied at different excitation wavelengths. Lifetimes of 5D0 level were measured for all the synthesized nanopowders. Also the probabilities of radiative, nonradiative processes, and the radiative lifetimes were calculated.