Vilnius is celebrating with gifts, flags and readings of Gediminas’ letters

Today is an extraordinary day for the people of Vilnius – the capital has turned 695! Since the early morning, the residents and visitors of Vilnius have been lavished with a great number of gifts all across Vilnius, the new-borns that have happened to be born on this day have been given bodies “Vilnius loves you”, the Vilnius flag has been hoisted at the Town Hall, a number of events have been held at schools and museums, and we still have something in store for us in the evening – the people are welcome to join in a record event on Vilnius Street entailing the blowing out of birthday candles on 695 cupcakes along with their best wishes to the city.

At 10 o’clock, the Mayor of Vilnius, Remigijus Šimašius, was sharing a huge birthday cake with the residents and guests of the city. All the newlyweds have also been given Vilnius birthday cakes.

“I am certain that there are not many cities that could boast this kind of their birthday celebration. Vilnius was born 695 years ago, when the ruler of the city and the entire country, Duke Gediminas, came up with an idea of telling the world about Vilnius. We will have the pleasure of listening to this letter being read aloud today. You are all welcome to look at the original letter displayed today at the gallery of art. It is with great dignity, openness and confidence that Gediminas invited people to come and settle here for good. Since the very beginning, Vilnius has been an open, tolerant and friendly city, which we try to continue despite of all. My greetings go to the residents of Vilnius, let’s celebrate the birthday of our city, let’s continue to make it the place to be proud of”, said Mayor Remigijus Šimašius.

The airport has been welcoming all the visitors with live music concert given by city ensemble Mikrookéstra. The string ensemble, founded by accordionist Martynas Levickis, has been playing V. A. Mozart. At the landing, the Ryanair passengers hear the following greeting: “Welcome to Vilnius, which is celebrating its 695th birthday today.”

On the occasion of the capital’s birthday, flags have been raised at the Town Hall Square with the participation of Mayor of the City, Remigijus Šimašius, and representatives of several generations living in Vilnius: student of Vilnius Lyceum Ernestas Ramanauskas, the laureate of Little St. Christopher Award, opera singer Ieva Prudnikovaitė, and the riflemen of the 10th King Mindaugas Royal Rifle Corps.

At 12.30, the Vilnius Gallery of Art has opened up an exhibition “The message to the world by the ruler of Lithuania: our land and dominions, from now on, are open to all the good-willed.” Mayor Šimašius has read out a passage from the letter of Duke Gediminas inviting, 695 ago, artisans, merchants and farmers to come and settle in Vilnius. Readings of Gediminas’s letters will continue until 3 p.m. People are welcome to see the original letter, which was found in Riga, at the Latvian State Historical Archives, and is now exhibited at the Vilnius Gallery of Arts.

The programme “Vilnius Day at the Palace of the Grand Dukes” will continue at the Palace until 6 p.m. and include, among other things, the battle of minds, educational activities, etc. Detailed event programme:

Vilnius has prepared a surprise for babies born in Vilnius on this day – the first new-borns are dressed with bodies decorated with the attributes of Vilnius celebrating its birthday. About 30 or more babies are expected to see the light of the day today.

As the biggest surprise for the residents of Vilnius has come the game “695 gifts for Vilnius residents”. This involves plenty of give-aways offered across the city for the password, which will be given on the municipality Facebook. The game will continue until 9 p.m. It will be crowned by a free concert given by singer Girmantė Vaitkutė and her band at the Piano Man bar at 9 p.m. Birthday gifts will be given here as well.

More than 30 friends and sponsors joined the game “695 gifts for Vilnius residents” generously offering more than 695 gift gifts worth about 30 thousand euros! Gifts will be good both for big and small, including free tickets to musical performances, cinema, most popular city tours, sports arenas and clubs, delicious coffee, UBER rides, microcomputers, photo-sessions, books, free visits to the most popular museums and a wealth of other gifts.

On the 25th of January, the schools will be giving a history lesson about Vilnius. Teachers of 5-12 grades are invited to organise lessons on Vilnius history outside schools, e.g. in museums, with educational activities. The City of Vilnius is grateful to the team of teachers of history for the guidelines developed for the special history lesson to be given on 25 January. Kindergartens and schoolchildren were happy today to get funny birthday stickers from the City of Vilnius. More than 100 thousand people are wearing them today.

Everybody is welcome for the 6 p.m. event at Vilnius Street (next to Gediminas Avenue). The first 695 people will get a birthday cupcake and tea from the nearby coffee shops. The people will speak out their wishes for Vilnius blowing out the candles on their birthday cupcakes and posing for a photo to mark the celebration!

At 7 p.m., the traditional St. Christopher Awards celebration will take place. 10 most merited residents of the City will get St. Christopher (the patron of the City and the travellers) statuettes. According to the custom, they will be awarded by Mayor Remigijus Šimašius.