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main destination guide sights gediminas monument


SIGHTS IN VILNIUS

Gediminas Monument

    On the 22d of September, 1996 the ceremonious unveiling of the bronze figure of the Vilnius founder Grand Duke Gediminas took place on the Vilnius Cathedral Square. Gediminas started the renowned Gediminaiciai dynasty, whose representatives became members of many European monarchies and had great influence on Lithuanian and European history. Gediminas ruled the country from 1316 to 1341. He carried out many important reforms and started the long-term expansion of Lithuania into the lands of the eastern Slavs.
    The sculptor of the monument was a Lithuanian refugee V. Kasuba. The monument is based on the ancient legend about the foundation of the city. The legend was found in one of the Lithuanian chronicles and its plot has been many times repeated in different books. Many years ago on the place of the modern capital of Latvia a thick forest full of animals and birds spread. The Grand Duke liked hunting there. Once he was chasing an aurochs the whole day and at the sunset he managed to kill the beautiful animal. But it had been rather late already and the Duke and his retinue decided to spend the night in the forest. Soon they rested and feasted by the campfire on a hill on the bank of the Vilnia River. Gademenis fell asleep, exhausted by the hunting, and had a strange dream: on the high hill at the mouth of the Vilnia River a huge wolf stood and howled so loud, as if there were hundred of wolves. The Duke tried to shoot the mysterious animal but in vain - arrows bounced off its iron sides without harming it. The next morning Gediminas ordered to find somebody who could interpret the dream. A pagan priest Lizdeika explained the dream as gods' will. The gods wanted Gademinas to found a castle at the mouth of the Vilnia River. The castle would be as unassailable as the wolf in the dream was. Near the castle a town would develop. The howl of the wolves was the voices of the future town's heroes whose great deeds will make this city renowned throughout the world. Gediminas obeyed and soon on the stated place the construction of the castle was begun. Gediminas moved from Trakai to Vilnius and made it the capital of Lithuania.



Address: Cathedral Square