Vilnius - Lithuania heart
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania. This town is known as the largest and the finest town in the country. MORE
Vilnius is really important historical, cultural and academic hub of Eastern Europe. MORE
The Lithuanian word “Rotuse” derives from German “das Rathaus” meaning the house of the city council. The Grand Duke of Lithuania and the King of Poland Jogaila granted the Magdeburg Rights (self-government) to Vilnius in 1387. According to the historians the first City Hall building appeared at the same time. The oldest City Hall – mentioned in the first half of the 15th century for the first time – was standing in the same place where the current one is. The building was equipped with rooms for sittings, court halls, room for the merchants’ community, treasury, office, archive, premises for the corn reserve, armory, and a prison in the cellars.
The remaining foundations of the first City Hall prove that the building was Gothic in the end of the 16th – beginning of the 17th centuries. The ensemble consisted of the guards and mayors’ headquarters, hired shops, and a pillory and gallows nearby. A city clock and an open gallery were installed in the City Hall tower in 1662. People were eager to decorate and trim up the main symbol of the self-governance.
After the fire in the middle of the 18th century the building was renovated by the famous architects of the Late Baroque Jonas Kristupas Glaubica, and Tomas Russeli. Later (in 1785-1799) the City Hall was rebuilt according to the project of Laurynas Gucevicius. The building was designed following the Mature Classicism. Unfortunately, the author was not able to see his creation finished. The works took longer than expected, and the City Hall was finished already after the architect’s death.
City’s self-governance was annulled in 1811, and the theatre called “Mazasis” (The Small) was housed in the City Hall building, and in 1845 a permanent city theatre settled here. The theatre was running in these premises up until 1922, afterwards the building was abandoned and started to vanish. In 1936-1939 Vilnius City Hall was restored according to the project of the architect S. Narembskis. Lithuanian Art Museum was housed in the City Hall from the World War II until 1995.
Presently Vilnius City Hall is a building of the compact monumental volume, two-storey, and of harmonious proportions. Splendid interiors of the City Hall contrast with the moderate and strict expression of the external architecture. The windows are framed with modest classicist rims, and are evenly laid out in the plane walls. The main façade is emphasized with the portico of six Doric columns and a low triangle pediment.
Lithuanian Artist Palace was moved from the current Presidential Palace in S. Daukantas Square into the Vilnius Town Hall and operated here since 1995. The representational Mayor’s office was restored and the interior of the building settled.
The budgetary institution Vilnius Town Hall started operating in the building in May, 1999. Two years later it was reorganized into the public institution. One of the main fields of activities of the institution is organization and implementation of representational and protocol City events: solemn meetings of the Vilnius Municipality Council, Vilnius Municipality award, premium, titles of honor granting ceremonies, and celebrations of public holidays, welcoming and admission of the City quests. Around 210 cultural events take place in Vilnius City Hall annually.