January 25 in history: Vilnius celebrates its birthday

On January 25 today, the Lithuanian capital Vilnius celebrates its 698 birthday. However, a big celebration will be missed due to the pandemic - strict restrictions are still in force in the neighboring country.

The city was first mentioned in written sources in 1323 as Vilna, but it was not until 1387 that it was granted city rights. Vilnius experienced its greatest prosperity in the 16th century, during the reign of King Sigismund I of Poland and Lithuania. But in 1655, the Russians occupied and destroyed the city.

Vilnius became part of Russia and became the center of Vilnius province. But in 1812, the city was occupied by Napoleon's troops, and it was there that thousands of French soldiers perished from the cold and starvation.

During the First World War, Vilnius came under German control but later changed its "owners" several times. But it was in this city on February 16, 1918, that an independent Lithuanian state was proclaimed. Later, the town was occupied by the Red Army, and again the town changed its "owners," and for a while, it was even included in the Belarusian SSR. However, in 1939, the Vilnius region was returned to Lithuania.

Later, the history is very similar to Latvia - a part of the USSR. But on March 11, 1990, a declaration of independence was adopted.

For more information, visit: govilnius.lt

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