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Kaunas is also currently the European Capital of Culture

Lithuania created ‘historical capital’ status for 4 of its cities

Lithuania created ‘historical capital’ status for 4 of its cities

The old town sections of these municipalities get recognition for their past significance

The Lithuanian Parliament (Sejmas) established a new administrative category called ‘historical capital’, which will apply to four municipalities that have served as the country’s capitals throughout its existence. More specifically, this indication will label the old-town districts of Vilnius, Kaunas, Trakai and Kernavė.

Apart from the purely patriotic side of such a legislative act, which happened at the end of last week, the move has been defended as a necessity and support towards local development. It would create stronger brands that can encourage tourism and investment.

Emphasizing the historical brands of cities

As such, the status of a historical capital is held by Kaunas Old Town, also called Naujamiestis, Vilnius Old Town, Kernavė and its Kernavė Archaeological Site, Trakai and its Senieji Trakai island castle.

Kernave and Vilnius have also been recognized by UNESCO as heritage sites of global significance. The former is also the first capital of the country, established in the 13th century and now called the “Troy of Lithuania” due to its rich archaeological treasures.

Last week, 102 members of the Seimas voted in favour of such amendments to the Law on Administrative Units and Outside the Territory, with six abstentions.

One of the initiators of the amendments, Social Democrat MP Kęstutis Vilkauskas, said that the special status would allow more freedom to use various legal, organizational, economic, financial and other measures to develop the infrastructure of such territories.

Speaking to LRT, he explained that in these territories "rational development of modern social and engineering infrastructure would make them more attractive and even more visited by both Lithuanian residents and foreign tourists".

"I hope that this will be only the first step, in the future we will have separate programs for the historic capitals, separate funding, and separate tourist routes. This will be an achievement not only for cities, but also for Lithuania,” commented Edita Rudelienė, former mayor of Trakai.

Until now, residential areas could only be granted the status of a resort or resort area.

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