Vilnius (Lithuanian: Vilnius, before 1939: Vilnius, Belarusian: Тарошк. 588,412 inhabitants (2021).
The name (lit. Vilnius, Belarusian: Vilnius), the ancient Ukrainian name - Free (Free), modern - Vilnius, according to some sources comes from the name of the river Vilnius, on which the city stands.
In ancient historical sources the name Vilna, Wilna, Vilna prevails. Wilno, Vilno and other names have been used in written monuments since the 14th century. In Lithuanian monuments of 1595, 1600, 1653 and later there is a version of Vilnius.
A settlement of 4,000 BC was excavated on the original territory of the city. The first written mention of the city is contained in the letters of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas, in which Vilnius is called the capital of the Grand Duke.
In the 13th and 14th centuries. here (near the confluence of rivers on an area of 4 hectares) built three castles. Since the time of Gediminas, the Upper and Lower Castles have been the residence of the rulers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL). They fought for castles during the princely strife in 1345 and 1381-92. In 1365-1402 he tried to seize the Teutonic Order. In 1390, during the siege, a wooden curved castle burned down. After these events and until 1655, foreign troops did not enter the castles. In the Lower Castle was the palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania (rebuilt in the Renaissance style after the fire of 1520, demolished in the early 19th century) and the Catholic Cathedral (built in 1387, modern appearance of the late 18th century), and from 1413 - residence. Vilnius voivode and local administration. The Seimas of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania met here. After the Union of Lublin in 1569, castles retained the status of the capital, but as the state functions of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania narrowed considerably, the castles began to decline. The cathedral and the remains of the Upper Castle have been preserved (now archeological excavations are being carried out on the site of the palace of the Grand Dukes).
Formation of the city
The urban settlement of Vilnius began to take shape in the 13th century. on the left bank of the river Neris. In the 14th-15th centuries. it grows along the roads to Polotsk (now Belarus), Novgorod the Great, Minsk (now Belarus), Moscow, Lutsk-Lviv-Crimea, Grodno (now Belarus) - Krakow (Poland), Kauna