New names of streets and squares in the capital approved: in memory of Antanas Terleckas

The Vilnius City Council has approved new names for streets and squares. In Antakalnis, the economist, politician and public activist Antanas Terleckas has been commemorated, in the Old Town there will be a new square for the banker and philanthropist Juozapas Montvila, and in Perkūnkiemis the name of a new public space – Perkūnas Square – has been approved. The streets of Morta Zauniūtė, Vilius Pėteraitis, Varnėnų and Puntas will also appear on the map of Vilnius.

Antakalnis street named after Lithuanian freedom fighter

The former Ežerėlių Street will be named after Antanas Terleckas. One of the most prominent Lithuanian anti-Soviet resistance activists, resistance fighter A. Terleckas (1928-2023), lived in this street.

“When we talk about the anti-Soviet resistance, the name of Antanas Terleckas is mentioned as one of the most active participants of the resistance during the Soviet occupation. The Historical Remembrance Commission, appreciating the important contribution of A. Terleckas to the continuation of the history of Lithuanian statehood, did not hesitate to propose an exception this time and not to commemorate him only ten years after his death. In the near future, we will propose installing a standard memorial plaque at the former aspirants’ hostel at 4 Gynėjų Street, where A.Terleckas lived and was arrested,” says Kamilė Šeraitė-Gogelienė, chairman of the Vilnius City Commission for Historical Remembrance.

A well-educated economist, he could have had a brilliant career in a state-owned bank. For him, the quest for freedom always came first. A.Terleckas actively opposed the Soviet government. His statements and letters calling for an end to the occupation of Lithuania were broadcast on “Laisvės”, “Voice of America”, “Vatican” and other radio stations. He was one of the editors of the underground publications “Laisvės šauklys” and “Vytis”. For his active resistance and activities, the dissident suffered a lot: he was imprisoned in a Siberian concentration camp in the Ural region and exiled to the Magadan region. Shortly before the Sąjūdis he returned to Lithuania and organised a resistance rally at the Adam Mickiewicz Monument in Vilnius in 1987 to commemorate the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and took an active part in the Sąjūdis’ activities.

Street names by theme

The City Council has approved a few more new street names. The streets of Morta Zauniūtė and Vilius Pėteraitis will appear in Pilaitė. “When we decide on new street names, we try to be consistent with a certain theme. For example, in Pilaitė, the names of most streets and public spaces are related to Lithuania Minor (Mažoji Lietuva), its famous people and place names,” says Gaiva Auglienė, Head of the Land Administration and GIS Department of Vilnius City Municipality, explaining the choice of new street names.

Zauniūtė (1875-1945) was a cultural and press worker and bibliographer of Lithuania Minor. Together with her father Dovas Zaunius, Morta collected folklore. In 1902 she opened a Lithuanian bookshop in Tilžė, which supplied booksellers with banned Lithuanian literature. She is believed to have died while fleeing from the Soviet army during the attack on Klaipėda.

Vorupė and Knypava streets are now connected by a street named after Vilius Pėteraitis (1914-2008). V. Pėteraitis was a Lithuanian linguist and lexicographer. Thanks to him, the Encyclopaedia of Lithuania Minor was published. Its first volume contains 633 articles written by V. Pėteraitis. He was also active in the Resistance Alliance of Lithuania Minor. He was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Gediminas of the GDL for his services to Lithuania.

Morta Zauniūtė and Vilius Pėteraitis streets connect new residential areas. However, new street names are also given to areas that have been inhabited for a long time – garden communities.

The 21st street of Juodvarnių Sodų in Dvarčionys was renamed Varnėnų at the request of the residents. This street used to be called Varnėnų and even a sign has been preserved.

The name of the 19th street in Visorių Sodai was also changed to Puntas Street at the request of the residents. Puntas is the name of a lake in the Molėtai district. It is not the first street in Visorių Sodai named after a lake. There are the streets of Didžiulis, Alaušas, Arinas. The name of Puntas was chosen accordingly.

In Šnipiškės, which has always been famous for its brick houses, the unnamed road near Šnipiškės Square is called Plytdegių. In the 19th century, Šnipiškės was one of the most important centres of brick and pottery production due to its clay and limestone deposits, and today’s Ukmergė Street was home to brickmakers and potters, as well as tilers and stonemasons. Not so long ago, stone tiles were produced in Linkmenų Street, in the industrial buildings of the former Institute of Thermal Insulation.

The names of squares and bridges are legalised

The unnamed square in the Old Town between Trakų and Pranciškonų streets was named after Juozapas Montvila (1850-1911), a public figure, businessman, banker and philanthropist, at the request of the Old Town residents. The square was given this name in the past because in the inter-war period, on the 20th anniversary of the philanthropist’s death, grateful Vilnius citizens built a bronze monument to him, depicting a contemplative J. Montvilas sitting on a chair. The square’s name is now being formalised.

The Vilnius City Council has also approved the name of the new square in Perkūnkiemis, chosen and proposed by the residents themselves. Of the three options – Perkūno, Vakaro and Girulių – the first was the absolute favourite. From now on, the new area will be called Perkūno Square.

The names of the footbridges over the Neris were also formalised: Baltasis tiltas, Vingio tiltas.

The city will also have commemorative plaques for two famous people. At 12 Aušros Vartų Street there will be a typical plaque to Marcelė Kubiliutė (1898-1963), a Lithuanian scout, rescuer of Jews and political prisoner.

The memory of Professor Rimvydas Žigaitis (1933-2010), composer, cultural and artistic figure, will also be commemorated. A typical plaque will be placed on the wall of the house at 33 Adomas Mickevičiaus Street where he lived.