Vilnius, Lithuania

By | November 21, 2021

According to abbreviationfinder, Vilnius is one of the ten provinces into which Lithuania is divided. It covers an area of 9,760 km² and housed a population of 850,700 people in 2001. The capital is Vilnius. Most of the Polish population of Lithuania is concentrated in this county, where they represent 29% of the population, and where the Polish language is spoken.


Both Poland and Lithuania claimed Vilnius (Vilnius) after the First World War. The forces Poland occupied Vilnius in 1920, and before the outbreak of World War II, the city was part of northeastern Poland.

Under the terms of the pact between Germany and the Soviet Union, Vilna, along with the rest of the east of Poland, it was occupied by Soviet forces at the end of September of 1939. In October of the same year, the Soviet Union transferred the Vilnius region to Lithuania. At that time the population of the city was 200,000 people, including more than 55,000 Jews. In addition, between 12,000 and 15,000 Jewish refugees from the German-occupied part of Poland found refuge in the city.

Soviet occupation

The forces Soviet occupied Lithuania in June of 1940 and August incorporated Vilna, along with the rest of Lithuania to the Soviet Union. The 22 of June of 1941, Germany attacked the Soviet forces in eastern Europe. The German army occupied Vilna on June 24, 1941, the third day after the invasion.

The Vilna ghetto

In July of 1941, the German military administration issued a series of decrees against the Jews. During the same month, the German Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing teams), assisted by auxiliaries from Lithuania, killed 5,000 Jewish men in the Ponary Forest, 13 km (8 miles) from Vilnius. A German civil administration took control of Vilna in August 1941. At the end of the same month, the Germans killed another 3,500 Jews in Ponary.

In early September of 1941 the Germans established two ghettos (No. ghetto ghetto # 1 and 2) in Vilnius. Those Jews who were deemed unable to work were concentrated in ghetto No. 2. In October, detachments of the German Einsatzgruppe and Lithuanian auxiliaries destroyed ghetto No. 2 and killed its population in Ponary. The prison of Lukiszki served as a collection of Jews who were to lead to Ponary and those who were to be shot. By the end of 1941, the Einsatzgruppen had killed about 40,000 Jews in Ponary.

Jews in ghetto No. 1 were forced to work in factories or construction projects outside the geto. Some were sent to labor camps in the Vilnius region. In periodic killing operations, most of the ghetto residents were massacred in Ponary. From the spring of 1942 to the spring of 1943, no massacre operations were carried out. The Germans resumed the killings during the final liquidation of ghetto No. 1 at the end of September 1943. Children, the elderly and the sick were sent to the Sobibor death camp or were shot at Ponary. To the The men who survived were sent to the Estonian labor camps, while the women were sent to the Latvian labor camps.

Resistance in the Vilna ghetto

The Vilna ghetto had a significant Jewish resistance movement. In 1942 a group of Jewish partisans known as the United Partisan Organization (Fareynegte Partizaner Organizatsye; FPO) was formed and operated within the ghetto. The resistance created hiding places to hide weapons and prepared to fight the Germans. Early September 1943 Realizing that the Germans intended to carry out the final destruction of the ghetto, the members of the resistance fought against the Germans, who had entered the ghetto to begin the deportations. The Jewish council, however, agreed to cooperate in the deportations of Jews from the ghetto, hoping to minimize the slaughter. Therefore, the FPO decided to flee to the nearby forests to fight the Germans. Some fighters from the ghetto escaped the final destruction of the ghetto, fleeing through the sewers to join the guerrillas in the Rudninkai and Naroch forests on the outskirts of the city.

During the German occupation, in Ponary tens of thousands of Jews from Vilna and the surrounding area were massacred, as well as Soviet prisoners of war and anyone suspected of opposing the Germans. Soviet forces retook Vilna in July 1944.

Vilnius today

Vilnius has quickly transformed into a modern city. Many of its older buildings have been renovated, and a commercial and financial area is also being developed in the New Center, in the area north of the River Neris, which aims to become the main administrative and business district of the city.

What to see in Vilnius?

Any walk in Vilna could begin and end at the Cathedral, built in an ancient place of pagan rituals. It was ordered to be built by King Mindaugas in 1251 when he converted to Christianity, but upon his death (barely 10 years later) the temple wasonce again the scene of pagan rites, until finally 100 years later Lithuania was consecrated to Christianity (it was the last European country to accept this faith) and a new cathedral was built right here.

In the same historic center are the churches of Santa Ana and San Pablo, two other points for the tour. And if you like visiting churches, a stone’s throw away are those of Santa Catalina and San Francisco.

The symbol of the city is undoubtedly the Tower of Gediminas, on the hill from where you can see the entire city of Vilnius. It is one of the remains of an old 13th century fortress and its figure is easily visible from almost any corner of the city (even in the country’s currency, the litas).

You can get to the top of the hill on a long walk or with the funicular that has been in operation for 10 years. In a very short trip of less than 1 minute, the almost 80 meters of height are saved. It is a short route that you can take advantage of to get a good overview of the city (the ticket costs 2 litas).


It is a cosmopolitan city with diverse architecture. There are about 65 churches. Like most late medieval cities, it developed around its town hall. The main artery, Pilies Street, connects the [[palace}] with the town hall. Other streets wind between the palaces of the feudal lords and landowners, churches, shops and craftsmen’s workshops. Narrow curvy streets and intimate courtyards appeared on the outskirts of medieval Vilnius. The old town of Vilnius is one of the largest in Europe (3.6km 2).


It is the main economic center of Lithuania and one of the largest financial centers in the Baltic states. Although it has only 15% of the Lithuanian population, it produces about 35% of GDP. Based on these figures, the GDP of the capital based on purchasing power parity, in 2005 the GDP per capita was 24,200 euros, higher than the average for the European Union. Currently, there is an important growth of the manufacturing centers of advanced technologies, especially those of solar and laser technologies.


The city has several universities, highlighting for its prestige the University of Vilnius, which has 23,000 students. The university has a recognized high standard of quality of education, and participates in projects jointly with UNESCO and NATO among others. The university has opportunities to study various postgraduate courses in the English language, as well as courses offered in cooperation with various European universities. The university is currently divided into 14 faculties, 5 institutes and 4 study and research centers. See population of Lithuania.

Vilnius International Airport

The airport international Vilnius is the largest airport in Lithuania. It is located 7 kilometers to the south, the capital of the [[country. It started operations in 1994 although its old terminal was built in 1954. It is a state company, established by the Lithuanian Ministry of Transport in 1991. AirBaltic was the airline that transported the most passengers from the airport in 2006, followed by flyLAL, the national airline of Lithuania.

Scandinavian Airlines System, Lufthansa, Finnair, Aeroflot, Austrian Airlines, Czech Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, and some other regional airlines also operate flights. It is an airport that registers a rapid growth, receiving more than one million passengers annually (1,717,222 in 2007). It is the largest of the four main airports in Lithuania.

Air terminal

The airport is notable for its Arrivals Terminal built in the 1950s. It is a standard Soviet airport design, originally projected for a traffic of 20 aircraft per day. On the outside it is decorated with sculptures of soldiers, workers and aviators, while inside the walls and ceiling are spikes, laurels and stars (characteristic Soviet symbols in public buildings of the first postwar years).

Vilnius, Lithuania