The Great Seimas of Vilnius

National Philharmonic Society, early 20th century

While sitting in the hall of the Philharmonic Society and listening to a classical music concert, try to travel to the beginning of the 20th century in your mind. This period saw events that determined what Lithuania would be like in the future. On 4-5 December 1905, the meeting of the Great Seimas of Vilnius was held here. Around 2,000 Lithuanian representatives from Lithuania, Ukraine, Latvia, Poland and other countries gathered and discussed the country’s autonomy and laid the foundations for the Declaration of Independence of Lithuania.

Why was it held specifically in the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society? The building, which emerged in 1902, was called the City Hall. It had a bookshop and hosted numerous musical and other events that were important for the city. The first Lithuanian national opera – Birutė by Mikas Petrauskas – was also premiered here. By the way, if you go to the men’s toilet, you will see an unusual view – an underground river flowing in the floor and covered with glass.

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