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City guide
 
About Vilnius
Vilnius The capital of the Republic of Lithuania is VILNIUS. Naturally, it is the largest city in the country: according to the data of 2001 the population of Vilnius is 542.287. Of them 57.8% are Lithuanians, 18.7% Poles, 14% Russians, 4% Byelorussians, 0.5% Jews and the remaining 5% comprising some other nationalities.
Current area of Vilnius is 392 square kilometres. Buildings cover 20.2% of the city and the remaining area is prevailed with the greenery (43.9%) and waters (2.1%). The County of Vilnius covers the regions of Vilnius, Elektrėnai, Šalčininkai, Širvintos, Švenčionys, Trakai, and Ukmergė totalling to 965,000 ha.The Old Town, historical centre of Vilnius, is one of the largest in Eastern Europe (360 ha). The most valuable historic and cultural heritage is concentrated here.The buildings in the old town - there are about  1.5 thousand of them
- were built in a number of different centuries, therefore, it is a mixture of all European architectural styles. Although Vilnius is often called a baroque city, here you will find some buildings of gothic, renaissance and other styles. The main sights of the city are the Gediminas Castle and the Cathedral Square, symbols of the capital. Their combination is also a gateway to the historic centre of the capital. Because of its uniqueness, the Old Town of Vilnius was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Vilnius is also the largest administrative centre in Lithuania with all major political, economic, social and cultural centres.

 

 

The coat of arms of Vilnius City
The coat of arms of Vilnius City is St. Christopher (Kristoforas) wading in the water and carrying the Infant Jesus on his shoulders. The emblem was given to the city in the seventh year of its existence, i. e. in 1330.

In pagan times, i. e. until the end of the 14th century, the coat of arms of Vilnius featured Titan Alkis, hero of Lithuanian ancient tales, carrying his wife Janteryte on his shoulders across the river.

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The Legend about Vilnius
The establishment of the City of Vilnius has a very popular legend. Once upon a time the Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas was hunting in the holy woods of the Valley of Šventaragis. Tired after the successful day hunt the Grand Duke settled for night there. He fell asleep soundly and had a dream. A huge iron wolf  was standing on top a hill and the sound of hundreds of other wolves inside it filled all surrounding fields and woods. Upon wakeup, the Duke asked the pagan priest Lizdeika to reveal the secret of the dream. And he told: ‘What is destined for the ruler and the state

of   Lithuania, let it be: the iron wolf means a castle and a town which will be established by the ruler on this site. The town will be the capital of the Lithuanian lands and the dwelling of rulers the and glory of their deeds shall echo throughout the  world’.

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  About Vilnius   The City’s History   Historical Timeline   Streets, Squares, Hills, and Courtyards   Geography   Houses of Worship   Publications about Vilnius   Places of Events   Recommended Destinations   Galleries and Exibition Centres   Interesting to Know


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