Vilnius was born of a prophetic dream that Gediminas, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, had while sleeping in a forest. The priest, who interpreted his dream, directed him to build a city where the forest sat, and Vilnius was born.
Vilnius has certainly earned its place in human history. Gediminas opened the gates of Vilnius to Germans and Jews from nearby Hansa towns. Attacks by the English and Tatars resulted in the building of a massive defensive wall, with three towers and nine gates, the ruins of which still exist today. Under Sigismund II Augustus, the King of Poland, a wave of Polish immigrants swept in. Plundered by the Russian Tsars, it re-emerged as the “Jerusalem of the North”. It was bandied about in the wars between the Russians and the Poles for several years before it finally gave the first cry for autonomy from Soviet rule, a tiny state that tipped the scales for the U.S.S.R. Protected under the aegis of UNESCO, explore the Vilnius University, Gates of Gediminas and more Vilnius’ history with Exeter International.
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