Trail of the Rulers in Vilnius

Map of the city of Vilnius in the late 18th century, with the defensive wall and city gate marked. 19th century

A ruler could not be present in the capital city at all times – he had to look after the larger territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and fight in battles. Therefore, the arrival of a ruler in the city was often regarded as a big event.

Traditionally, Jogaila arrived in Vilnius to celebrate winter feasts and meet with Vytautas. He went there at least 25 times, mostly in early winter, and would spend anywhere from a day to a few months. Subsequent rulers also liked coming to Vilnius with their families. When a ruler came to the city, solemn parades along the main streets leading to their residence were organised. Rulers would come to Vilnius on the old road from Krakow, so when you walk down the streets of Rūdninkų, Didžioji or Pilies, you can imagine following the footsteps of Jogaila or Vytautas. This route was also taken by honourable guests of the city and state, and high officers – this route was a certain highway of the time.

The above-mentioned streets are no less important nowadays ­– while walking from the Valley of Šventaragis, the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania and the Cathedral, remnants of Vytautas the Great can be observed. Passing the House of the Signatories, Vilnius Town Hall, the Great Seimas Palace of Vilnius and the Gate of Dawn (Aušros Vartai), you will touch different periods of history, during which present-day Vilnius and Lithuania developed.

Didžioji g., Rotušės a.
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