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Vilnius - Lithuania heart

Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania. This town is known as the largest and the finest town in the country. MORE

Place of interest

Vilnius is really important historical, cultural and academic hub of Eastern Europe. MORE


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Vilnius as the capital of the Great Duchy of Lithuania was mentioned in sourcebooks in 1323 for a first time. However archeologists say that already at VI century BC territory of castles was populated. Archeologists explored and are sure that at XI-XII centuries town like place was here and at XII-XXIII centuries wooden castle was standing.

1323 – The Duke Gediminas of the Great Duchy of Lithuania moved capital from Trakai to Vilnius. Vilnius had three castles during the government of duke Gediminas:

  • Upper castle which was standing on the Castle hill (now it is called Gediminas hill);
  • Lower castle was standing on the base of Castle hill;
  • Splay castle was overlooking from the Bleak hill.

1387.02 – First citizenry and known noblemen of Lithuania were christened in Vilnius.

1387 – Lithuanian Grand Duke Jogaila was spreading Christianity and also founded a cathedral of Saint Trinity.

1387 – Diocese of Vilnius was founded.

1387 – Vilnius town received Magdeburg Rights.

1397 – First school of the Great Duchy of Lithuania was opened in Vilnius.

1419 – Cathedral was burnt.  A new bigger gothic cathedral was built by Grand Duke Vytautas on the ruins of old one.

1495 – First manufactures of goldsmiths and tailors of the Great Duchy of Lithuania were established in Vilnius.

1539 – Abraomas Kulvietis established higher school of reformers. This school was preparing young people for studies in the foreign universities.

1570 – A college of Jesuit was established by Jesuit monks. Later this college was reorganized to university by King Steponas Batoras in 1579. Jesuit Petras Skarga was assigned as a first rector of university.

1610 – Vilnius was devastated by an enormous blaze.

1655 – Russian army occupied Vilnius. Vilnius was ruled by enemies for a very first time. Vilnius was strongly devastated after that.

1702 - Vilnius was destroyed by Swedish army.

From 1795 till World War I Vilnius and whole Lithuania became part of Russian empire.

1832 – Government of tsar closed Vilnius University, churches and monasteries.

1907 – First Lithuanian art exhibition was placed, later Lithuanian art association was set in Vilnius.

1917.09.18-22d. – Lithuanian conference in Vilnius was arranged, where 20 members were elected to Lithuanian Council.

1918.02.16 - Members of Council adopted an act where independence of democratic country of Lithuania was declared. Vilnius was named as a capital of Lithuania. This act was signed in Didziosios Street 30 in Vilnius.

1919 - Polish army helped in battles with Red army.  The Polish took and occupied Vilnius in 1939m.

1938 – Polish occupants closed all Lithuanian schools in region of Vilnius. 

1939 – Vilnius University was reopened.

1944.07.13 – Red army occupied Vilnius. Vilnius became capital of Soviet Lithuania.

1989.08.23 – People of three Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) were standing and holding hands of each other; living chain lasted from Vilnius till Tallinn.

1990.03.11 – In Vilnius Supreme Council of Lithuanian Republic adopted an act which declared independence of Lithuania.

1991.01.13 – 13 people were killed and hundreds were injured. People were defending the independence of Lithuania

1994 – UNESCO included old town of Vilnius to a list of World Heritage of Culture.

2009 – Vilnius became European Capital of Culture.