Vilnius marks Freedom Defenders Day with special projection

Vilnius marks Freedom Defenders Day with special projection

The Lithuanian capital has started preparing for its 700th anniversary well ahead of 2023

Vilnius commemorates the 30th anniversary of 13 January with a special projection on the facade of the Cathedral Basilica honouring 14 freedom fighters that sacrificed their lives for independent Lithuania, informs the city Facebook page. As part of the commemorative light display, the Tricolour (national flag) and the Monument of the Three Crosses are illuminated.

13 January bloodbath

In the early hours of 13 January, 1991, Lithuanians flocked to the TV tower in Vilnius to make a stand against Soviet troops that were sent to suppress the Baltic republic's newly reclaimed independence. Freedom came at a bitter price. The unarmed demonstrators tried to protect the Lithuanian Radio and Television Committee building with nothing but their bodies, but were fired upon by soldiers and trampled down by rolling tanks.

That tragic night in Vilnius 14 defenders of freedom were killed and more than a thousand were injured. The bloodbath, however, was the climactic event that led to Moscow recognizing the independence of all three Baltic nations.

Vilnius prepares for 700th birthday

Another important anniversary is in store for Vilnius – its 700th birthday in 2023, for which the city has started preparing well in advance. On this occasion, special initiatives are being organized this month to throw light on the city's past and reveal future perspectives.

For Vilnius, 2021 marks an introduction to the celebration of Vilnius' 700th birthday, which will last for three years. We will invite not only the residents, but also guests from all over Lithuania and the world to celebrate this event together. Active preparations for the festivities have already begun: the cultural and artistic community is offering original ideas to create a festive spirit, students are creating visions for the future of Vilnius at a special competition, and historians are preparing to dispel myths about the city past at a remote conference on 21 January. This notable anniversary is an opportunity to prove to the world once again that Vilnius is a multicultural city that gives meaning to freedom, tolerance and coexistence of different cultures,” says the Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius, quoted by the city website.

City history re-imagined

In order to revive history in the imagination of the townspeople, a webpage featuring a “Historical Vilnius Menu” has been created especially for the anniversary. It presents seven themes reflecting the 700-year life of the city, including Vilnius legends and symbols, victories and celebrations, disasters and resurrections. Each cognitive topic consists of short historical stories about the most important people, events and ideas for the city.

Under the project "Vilnius - 700", history experts will recall the most important events in Vilnius in special video reports and articles which will be available on the website

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