Vilnius Historic Centre

Vilnius, the political and cultural centre of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the 13th to the 18th century, is an outstanding example of a Central European city where the cultures of Eastern and Western Europe meet. Vilnius Historic Centre envolved organically over a period of five centuries and is regarded as one of the largest preserved historic centres in Europe covering an area of 352 hectares. With its 112 quarters the old town presents an authentic medieval network of streets, urban structure and impressive historical buildings of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Classicism styles. Its current silhouette complements its historically multicultural urban context. For centuries Vilnius has been home for people of Lithuanian, Jewish, Polish, Russian, German, Belarus, Karaime and Tatar communities.

Vilnius Old Townwas inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List in December 1994 in co mpliance with the second and fourth criteria of uniqueness established for the properties of the World Heritage List:

- Between 13th and 18th centuries, Vilnius, as the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, played an important role in the development of architecture and arts in the whole region (Lithuania, the present Belarus, Ukraine and Poland);

- Vilnius is the most easterly city of the Central Europe, subject to a strong influence of both Eastern and Western European cultures. The Old Town offers a typical example of medieval street patterns with valuable monuments of Gothic, Renaissance, Classical and Baroque architecture.

With its surviving essential features of urbanistic development, the Old Town is the most valuable part of the historic, urbanistic and architectural heritage of Vilnius, and the most important historic and cultural entity in the State of Lithuania. In their entirety, its cultural values symbolise both the rich history of the country and the rebirth of its independent statehood.

Vilnius Historic Centre includes:

- Vilnius Vastles State Cultural Reserve – the historic heart of the Lithuanian capital, the centre of the history and spiritual culture of the State;

- Central part of Vilnius Old Town within the boundaries of the former defensive wall;

- Historic suburbs of Vilnius that formed before the end of the 18th century, in the period of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.