Common Information  
List of Countries  
free counters

Famous people


Julius Slowacki (1809-1849)
He was Polish poet. He was born in the Ukraine (Kremenec). His father E. Slowacki (1772-1814) was a teacher of gymnasium. In 1811 he was invited to teach literature in Vilnius University. He edited newspaper ‘Kurier Litewski’ (Lithuanian messenger).Unfortunately, he died very soon. His grave is in Rasos graveyard. His family came back to Kremenec. In 1818 Slowacki's mother married Augustus Becu, and they went to Vilnius again where future-be poet attended gymnasium (1819-1825).

Even in his childhood Slowacki familiarized with Adam Mickiewicz but later they experienced a conflict due to the fact that A. Mickiewicz especially negatively portrayed Augustus Becu in ‘Vėlinės‘(All soul's Day) . In 1825 Slowacki started his studies of law in Vilnius University. He graduated the university in 1828 and left Vilnius forever. He moved to Warsaw but after the rebellion of 1830-1831 he emigrated and lived in Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy. He also visited Greece, Egypt and Holy Land. He also participated in the political activity of Polish emigrants, created drama works (Balladyna, Lilla Weneda,Fantazy), wrote poems (Anhelli, Bieniowski) and composed lyrical poetry. He is considered to be the second Polish poet of Romanticism after Mickiewicz. His works are full of European Romanticism. He died in Paris because of tuberculosis. In 1929 his body was brought to Cracow and buried in Wawel together with Adam Mickiewicz.

Although Slowacki was less concerned with Vilnius and with Lithuania in general and he was ascribed as not ‘Lithuanian’ but as a ‘Ukrainian’ Polish poet, he did not avoid Lithuanian topics and motives in his works. His drama ‘Mindowe’ (Mindaugas, 1829), ‘The Song of Lithuanian Legion’ (1831) which was devoted to his friend Ludwik Spitznagel (1803-1827), who committed a suicide, is really exceptional work. There he conveyed romantic atmosphere of the period of Vilnius. Although Slowacki argued that Warsaw is ‘much more beautiful than Vilnius’, specialists distinguish a strong influence of Vilnius Baroque to his style of writing.

In Vilnius (Pilies Street, 22) is a memorial board and bust on the wings of swan devoted to Slowacki which was made by Ferdynand Rushchyts, who lived in Becu apartments in 1923-1934.
In the chapel of St. Casimir, Slowacki said in his childhood that he would not ask anything from God before his death but he would ask everything after his death. Trakai is connected with his remembrance also. It is portrayed in his poem ‘Hugonas’ in 1829. Jašiūnai is also of great importance because the young poet used to visit the estate of Sniadecki. His first love was Ludwika (1802-1866), the daughter of Andrej Sniadecki.


*** *** ***

Wojciek Boguslawski (1757-1829)

- polish actor, director and dramaturge. He was born near Poznan' and he acted in Warsaw and Lvov. He was the head of the theatre of Warsaw. He did not accept the rules of aesthetics of King’s Stanislaw August castle and went to Vilnius. In 1785 he established the first public theatre there. The theatre contained the troupe of drama and opera. He was the head of the theatre. He familiarized people who lived in Vilnius with the works of famous playwrights. In 1790 the King dictated to move the theatre to Warsaw.
Boguslawski took part in the rebellion of 1974. After that he moved to Lvov, then worked in Warsaw . In 1816-1817 he toured in Vilnius. He is considered to be the father of Polish theatre. He wrote dramas, opera which is called "Cracowians and Highlanders". He also translated a lot, acted in his own plays and sang the part of basso. There are also remembrances in which exist his activities in Vilnius.
Although the theatre established by Boguslawski was moved to Warsaw, the group of theatre in Vilnius did not disappeared and was open until 1866. This group acted in the corner of Klaipėda and Vilnius Street (they do not exist now). In 1796-1810 it acted in the castle of Radvila (Vilnius Street, 41/9), later on, in town hall.


*** *** ***

Jacub Jasinski (1761-1794) was a general and poet. Participated in the War in Defense of the Constitution in 1792. An enemy of Targowica Confederation, organized an action against its supporters in Vilnius. Killed in Battle of Praga in 1794. A graduate of the Warsaw military school, with time he became the tutor of engineering at his alma mater. Since 1790 chairman of Vilnius military engineering school where he lectured fortification. He fought with distinction in the War in Defense of the Constitution of 1792. After the king joined the Targowica Confederation he remained loyal to the new authorities. In 1789 he became the commanding officer of the Engineering Corps for Lithuania.
During the Kosciusko's Uprising of 1794 he was among the most prominent members of the radical wing of the Jacobites and at the same time a successful military commander of partisan forces in the area of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In April of that year he liberated the city of Vilnius by leading a successful uprising there. In the city main square announced the act of uprising in Lithuania.
Initially supported by Thaddeus Kosciusko and made the commander in chief of all the partisan forces in the former Grand Duchy, he managed to defeat numerous Russian garrisons in the area. However, his radical republican beliefs brought him into conflict with the state authorities and by the beginning of June he was forced to resign as commander in chief of Lithuanian forces.
Jakub Jasinski continued to harass enemy forces in Lithuania and then withdrew with a small partisan troop towards Warsaw. There he perished in November during the defense of Warsaw against the forces of Alexander Suvorov.
Among his literary works are numerous poems of satirical and fabulous character, under huge influence of Voltaire. He was also an author of many patriotic and revolutionary poems and songs.


*** *** ***

Tomas Vavzhetski (1754-1816) He was born in Ignalina region, died in Belarus and is buried there too. He was the political and military actor of Lithuania and Poland. He was also a lawyer. In 1778, 1782 and 1784 he worked as the supreme assistant of tribunal in Lithuania. In a four-year parliament (1788-1792) he was a member of Patriot party. He assisted in preparation of the Constitution of July the 3rd. In 1794 he was a member of the National Head Council of Lithuania (1794) and also a member of National Head Council in Warsaw (1974). Since 1794 he was a leader, general and lieutenant of Samogitia division. He collected funds and organized military combinations for the battles in Samogitia and Curland. When Thaddeus Kosciusko was imprisoned, he became the supreme leader of rebels. When the army of Russia occupied Warsaw, he retreated to the south with the remaining part of the army. Later he was imprisoned in Poland. He was kept in prison for some time. In 1796 he was amnestied by Peter I and moved to Lithuania. Later, he cooperated with the government of the time and even became minister of justice in Poland.
In 1794 he provided the peasants of Rokiškis, Sevelionys, Kazokai, Būtkiemis and Plytininkai with personal freedom. Because of the initiative of Tomas Vavzhetski and his wife Juzefa, St. Antanas Paduvietiss church in Kalvai was built in 1800-1806. There are evidences that the church was built by the brother of Tomas Vavzhetski whose name was Joseph Vavzhetski. The chapel of Niurkoniai is the memorial of Tomas Vavzhetski that was built to honour his remembrance. It is not only the monument of architecture but also of history. It is devoted to the rebellion of 1784, the only one monument for this event in Lithuania. There is a memorial board in Vilnius cathedral devoted to Tomas Vavzhetski.

*** *** ***


Mikael K. Oginski (1765-1833) was a notable politician and a military commander of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, as well as a noted musician and composer. He started his political career at the age of 18, when he became the field writer of Lithuania, one of the clerks in the administration of the state. He was chosen as the commander of Vilna (Vilnius). In 1768 he was nominated to the rank of the Grand Hetman of Lithuania, thus becoming one of two highest ranking military commanders in the Polish-Lithuanian state. During the Great Sejm of 1788-1791 Oginski was a member of the Patriotic Party. However, following the defeat in the Commonwealth-Russian War of 1792 he resigned his post and retired to his family manor.

Apart from his political and military career, throughout his life Oginski was a noted engineer and musician. He founded the Pinsk-Volhynia road, the arsenal in Vilna and the Oginski's canal, joining the watersheds of Nemunas(Neman) River and Dnieper (1765-1784). He also founded numerous factories and manufactories in the lands belonging to his family. He was also a famed musician and composer, as well as a benefactor of artists. He also modified the design of the harp and wrote several musical works.


*** *** ***


Jonas Cherski (1845-1892)

He was born in July 15, 1845 in Belarus (Svolna). In 1857-1859 he studied in Vilnius I gymnasium and in 1859-1863 he studied in Vilnius noblemen school. In 1863 he joined the rebellion but was imprisoned by Russians very soon. He was imprisoned in Daugpilis castle, condemned and exiled to Siberia. Later, he worked and made research in Siberia.
Because of different merits, he was awarded with silver and gold medals by the geographers’ union of Russia. He moved to Peterburg when the permission of the government was given. He presented approximately a hundred scientific research in the field of geology, archeology and zoology. He was also interested in paleontology and ornithology.
The most important merit of Jonas Cherski is the clarification of geologic structure of Baikal. He died during the expedition in 1892, June 25. He is buried in Kolyma near Omolon river. There are approximately 200 works written about Jonas Cherski. Some of them are published in Lithuanian.
One street is named by his name in Vilnius.


*** *** ***



Stanislaw Moniuszko (1819-1972) - was Polish composer. He was born near Minskas, he studied in Warsaw and Berlin. In 1840 he married a woman from Vilnius and stayed there. He visited Vilnius before his marriage as well. Until 1842 he worked as an organist in St. Jonas church. He studied music privately, directed orchestra of the theatre and was concerned with the publication of the literature of music. He created a number of musicals to Vilnius theatre. He created approximately 300 songs and 4 litanies. In 1846 he created opera ‘Halka’ which was set in Vilnius in 1848 and in 1854.
It was abolished in Warsaw for a long time because of censor. He made concerts in Druskininkai for three years. In 1858 he moved from Vilnius to Warsaw and lived there till his death. In 1862-1865 he wrote the second famous opera ‘Awful estate ’. Moniuszko is considered to be the second most important romantic composer in Poland (the first is Frederik Shopen) his operas are the most famous until today. Regional motives are evident in his works.

According to Moniuszko ‘what is national, familiar and what is the echo of our remembrances of childhood will always be important to those who have born and gown up there’. His ballad ‘Three Budriai’ (words by Adam Mickiewicz), mythological cantata ‘Milda’ and ‘Nijolė’ (words by Juzef Ignacy Krashewski) and many songs are full of Lithuanian topics. Moniuszko lived in Vokiečiai Street, 26, in Vilnius. He used to make concerts in the house of Riomeriai (Bokštas Street, 10). His bust stands in the square near the church of St. Kotryna.

*** *** ***


Joachim Lelevel (1786-1861) - polish historian and also political activist. He was born in Warsaw. He studied at Vilnius University (1804-1808). He studied classical philology with the help of Grotfied Ernest Grodeck. He gained doctoral degree without passing any exam. In 1815-1818 and in 1822-1824 he taught universal history. His first lecture was attended by more than 1500 students in 1822. In 1815-1817 he edited ‘Tygodnik Vilenski’ (a weekly newspaper of Vilnius). His courses met the requirements and outlook of romanticism, and his works had a great influence on his students. Especially to A. Mickiewicz and his friends. J. Lelevel was shifted from the university because of the case of Filomats and Filarets. Then he moved to Warsaw and wrote approximately 150 scholarly works in the field of history. He was a supporter of innovatory positions; he was interested in the material and spiritual welfare of different groups of people. He was also interested in comparative research. He protected republican and democratic ideals. He was one of the motivators of the science of numismatics.
He encouraged Lithuanians to study their language and history. He had relations with Dionizas Poška and Simonas Stanevičius (he was the student of J. Lelevel).
The later historical works of J. Lelevel are of a very difficult style and not always successful enough. He developed democratic conception. In 1859 he declared the records of journey of Ghillebert de Lannoy.
J. Lelevel died in Paris and was buried in Monmart graveyard. But in 1929 his body was moved to Vilnius in Rasos graveyard. He left his library and extremely valuable collection of maps (the university get it in 1926) to Vilnius University. The part of this heritage is kept in the hall of his name.



*** *** ***

Juzef Ignacy Krashewski (1812-1887) writer who was born in Warsaw. He studied literature at Vilnius University (1829-1830). He was chained (1830-1832) because of his participation in the organization of the rebellion and because of his relations with J. Lelevel. The time he spent in prison was used to study the history of Vilnius. He lived in Ukraine (starting from 1838), he also lived in Warsaw (starting from 1860). He emigrated to Drezden in 1863. He died in Geneva and was buried in Cracow. He was one of the most productive writers in the world. His writings were composed of approximately 600 volumes (223 of which were novels). He created poetry, publicities, dramas; but the most important are his historical novels (there is 94 of them). He liked to paint as well.
While living in Vilnius, he was interested in the history of Lithuania. He was also interested in the culture and folklore of Lithuania. He wrote historical poems. He also published scientific magazine ‘Athenaeum’ (1841-1851) in Vilnius. He wrote a monograph ‘Vilnius from the first yars untill 1740’, he wrote also the work under the title ‘Old Lithuania’, which involved more than 400 Lithuanian proverbs and sayings, and presented his research about the national songs of Lithuania. His first novel (St. Mykolas church in Vilnius), also historical novel ‘Kunigas’ was full of the atmosphere of Lithuania.
A special attention was paid to his poetical trilogy ‘Anafiel’ (1840-1845) and especially its first part ‘Witolo rauda’. This work was soon forgotten in Polish literature but in Lithuanian literature it is still well known and favourable. It was called Lithuanian Iliada, Odyssey and even Bible by Jurgis Miksas in ‘Aušra’. Some other works of Krashewski were translated into lithuanian as well.



*** *** ***


Andrej Sniadecki (1768-1838) was a writer, physician, chemist and biologist. His achievements include the creation of termilogy in the field of chemistry.
Sniadecki was born November 30, 1768, in Żnin, in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. After completing his university studies, he was chosen to be the first professor of medicine and chemistry at the Lithuanian Grand Duchy's "Main School," which in 1803 was renamed the University of Wilno(Vilnius). One of his students was Ignacy Domeyko. Sniadecki was also one of the main organizers and head of the recently-created Vilnius Medical-Surgical Academy. Finally, from 1806 to 1836 he headed the local Medical Scientific Society, one of the premier scientific societies in the region.
Sniadecki's most important book was The Beginnings of Chemistry, the first Polish-language chemistry textbook written in Lithuania and prepared for the Commission of National Education. It was considered one of the best scientifical textbooks of the age. Sniadecki was also known as a writer of less serious works; a co-founder of the Wastrel Society, he contributed articles to its satirical weekly, The Gutter News. He also wrote copiously in The Wilno News, the largest and most prestigious daily in Vilnius.
Sniadecki may have been the original discoverer of the element ruthenium in 1807, thirty-seven years before Karl Klaus.
Andrej was the brother of Jan Sniadecki and father of Ludwika Sniadecka. He died May 12, 1838, in Vilnius and is buried at the Vilnius Rasu Cemetery.

*** *** ***


Jan Sniadecki (August 29, 1756, Znin – November 9, 1830, Jašiūnai near Vilnius,Lithuania) was a mathematician, philosopher and astronomer at the turn of the 18th century.
Jan Sniadecki studied at the Jagiellonian University (Cracow) and in Paris. He was rector of University in Vilnius, a member of the Commission of National Education in Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and director of astronomical observatories at Cracow and Vilnius. Jan Sniadecki published many works, including his observations on recently discovered planetoids. His "On the Calculation of Chance, 1817" was a pioneering work in probability.



*** *** ***


Gabriel Narutowicz (March 17, 1865 – December 16, 1922) was the first elected President of the Republic of Poland.

Born in Telšiai in Lithuania, then under the partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Narutowicz had been a professor at the Polytechnical Institute in Zurich Switzerland, since 1908, and had directed the construction of many hydroelectric plants in Western Europe. After Poland regained its independence in 1918, he became involved in the national politics of Poland, and served as the Minister of Public Works, 1920-1921, and as the Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1922.
On December 9, 1922, he was elected by the Polish Parliament (Sejm, convened as the National Assembly of Poland), to be the First President of Poland, and was sworn in on December 11.
On December 16, 1922, five days after his inauguration, while attending the opening of an art exhibit, Narutowicz was shot.

Gabriel Narutowicz's brother, Stanislovas Narutavičius (1862–1932), was a member of the State Council of Lithuania, and his signature appears on the Lithuanian Act of Independence of February 16, 1918.



*** *** ***


- real name Helena Kovalska (1905-1938). She was a nun and a mistyc. She was born in Lodz, in an ordinary family. She was a cottar, a maid; she also worked as a seller. She wanted to go to a nunnery but her parent did not agree with this situation. Nevertheless, she was sheltered by the Gracious Sisters of the Mother of God in Warsaw in 1925. She took a vow in 1926 and she was given the name of Mary Faustina. She worked in the kitchen of the nunnery. In 1931 she experienced the vision of Jesus in Plotsk. From 1933 until 1936 Faustina lived in Vilnius, in Antakalnis, in the congregation house of Magdalenes (Vincas Grybas Street, 29a). She visited St. Mykolas church very often. The Magdalene’s nursed prisoners, prostitutes etc, but they left Vilnius after the war. They moved to Poland.
In Vilnius Faustina asked the painter (Eugeniush Kazimirovski) to paint the portrait of Jesus according to her vision. This particular picture (‘God's grace ’, 1934) is given a special temple near the church of Dominicans in Vilnius. The picture is well known in the world of Catholics but Faustina stated that the picture did not correspond to her vision.
In 1934, October 26 Faustina experienced one more vision in Vilnius. She told the Bishop that Jesus wanted a new congregation to be established. Faustinas’ words were approved only later. In 1936 she was sent out of Vilnius and died in Cracow because of tuberculosis. Faustina was announced blessed (1993) and saint (2000) by the Pope John Paul II. She is the beginner of the cult of God’s Grace. Her diary (published in Lithuanian in 2005) is considered to be one of the most famous Catholic works of mysticism.



** *** ***



Oleg Truchan (1923-1972)

The Australian Post Office issued a souvenir sheet with four stamps in 2004. This issue commemorates the settlement of Hobart Town in Tasmania in February 1804. The stamps and miniature sheet use the John Glover painting of Mount Wellington and Hobart Town from Kangaroo Point; an Olegas Truchanas photograph, Mountains upon mountains; the heritage listed homestead “Cheshunt” near Deloraine, an early 20th century maireener shell necklace, a historic map and a current satellite image of Tasmania, to project a vision of Tasmania across space and time.
Mountains upon mountains - South-West Tasmania –1970 ($1.00)
This Olegas Truchanas photograph symbolizes the twentieth century and the wilderness so notable in Southwest Tasmania. The souvenir sheet has 4 stamps with very nice views of Tasmania. The third stamp in the sheet ($1.00) “Mountains over mountains” consists of the photo by Olegas Truchanas (1923-1972). Olegas Truchanas was one of the first Europeans to realise the value of the primeval beauty of Tasmania’s southwest wilderness. He was born in Lithuania and fought in the Lithuanian Resistance Movement. In 1945, after Lithuania was handed over to the USSR, he fled to Munich. He enrolled at university to study law but was sent with other students to a camp for displaced persons. He immigrated to Tasmania in 1948. Under an Australian law of that time he had to work for two years in industry or public works. He worked at the Electrolytic Zinc Company at Risdon, Hobart, pushing old trucks loaded with metal along worn and rusty rails. He relieved this drudgery by photographing the Tasmanian wilderness, first in monochrome and later in colour. In 1958 Truchanas sailed in a kayak into Strahan, at the top of the vast Macquarie Harbour on the west coast. When he appeared from the southern end of the harbour the people were stunned - they knew that the only road in the area came into Strahan, and that he had not left from there. He had kayaked down the Serpentine and Gordon Rivers, a feat never before accomplished in the years of European settlement. He had no paddle, but had rigged a foot-controlled groundsheet as a sail so that he could read as he sailed along. Truchanas had negotiated the narrow gorges, rapids, rocks and whirlpools of the Gordon River, reputed to carry more water than any other river in Australia. Truchanas devoted his life to exploring and photographing the wilderness, bringing it to the notice of thousands of people who might otherwise not have been aware of its beauty. During the bushfires of 1967 he lost his house and many of his photographs. He drowned on 6 January 1972, trapped in a kayak on the Gordon River. Peter Dombrovskis – his colleague and best friend – found Truchanas’ body.

Text: A.Jankauskas, biulletin “PhilLit No.35 2004/2”

*** *** ***


Franciszek Zwirko (1895-1932)

Franciszek Żwirko (September 16, 1895 – September 11, 1932) was a sports and military aviator. Along with Stanislaw Wigura, he won the international air contest Challenge 1932.
He was born in Švenčionys, near Vilnius in Lithuania and attended school in Vilnius. During World War I, he volunteered for the Russian Army, graduated from an officer school in Irkutsk, and served in infantry, fighting against the Germans. He was awarded with St. Anna Cross 4th class. In 1917 he joined Polish corps of Gen. Juzef Dowbor-Musnicki, formed in Russia. After the corps was disbanded in 1918, he enlisted in Gen. Anton Denikin's Volunteer Army and fought against the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War. He completed an air observer course then. After the Bolsheviks' victory in the war in 1921, Zwirko fought his way to Poland across the Soviet-Polish border.

In Poland, he completed an aviation school in Bydgoszcz in November 1923, and a higher pilotage school in Grudziadz. He became a fighter pilot in the 18th fighter squadron of the 1st Aviation Regiment.
He also became active in sports aviation and participated in aviation competitions.
On September 11, 1932, flying to an air meeting to Prague, Żwirko and Wigura fatally crashed in their RWD-6 in the forest in Cierlicko near Cieszyn, when the wing broke in a heavy storm.


*** *** ***


Francisk Skorina (1490-1551)

Skorina was born in Polatsk, in a family of tradesman. He achieved a high humanistic education in his life. He studied at the University of Cracow and gained Bachelor degree in 1506 ( later he gained Doctoral degree). In 1519 Skorina came to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. He brought with him all the equipment of printing. He established the first printing-house in Lithuania. He published his first books there in 1525 (‘Apostle‘ and ‘Small book of travels‘). When the printing-house was burned in a great fire, Skorina left Vilnius and went to Konigsberg. He failed in trying to revive the printing-house and book publishing also. His works were highly technical. His works were of stylish print and rich ornamentation. Skorina’s works began the tradition of publishing books in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

State awards. Order and medal of Francisk Skorina



*** *** ***


Radvila the Black (Nicolaus VI Radziwil Niger, D.G.Dux in Olyka, Nieswiez et Kleck, S.R.I. Princeps, 1515-1565, (pol.: Radziwill, lith: Mikalojus Radvila Juodasis). was a noble of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Palatine of Vilnius, Grand Lithuanian Chancellor and the Grand Hetman of Lithuania.
Radvila The Black was able to gain much political influence thanks to the romance between his cousin Barbara Radziwill(lith:Barbora Radvilaitė) and king Zygmunt II August. This made him one of the most powerful Royal advisers. Mikolaj became Marshal of Lithuania, Grand Chancellor of Lithuania, as well as Palatine of Vilnius, gained immense wealth and became the most powerful magnate in the Commonwealth of that time. The new status of the Radvila(Radziwill) family was further strengthened when, during his diplomatic mission to Charles V and Ferdinand I, a hereditary title of Prince (Reichsfürst (SRI)) was granted to him and his cousin Mikolaj the Red. This was an extremely important title in the Commonwealth.

He formed an alliance with his cousin Mikolaj Radvila "The Red" (Radziwill) against other notable Lithuanian families in the rivalry for the dominant status in the Great Duchy of Lithuania. This alliance marked the formation of a dynastic-like cooperation between Radvila's and showed how family interests could affect magnates relations with Commonwealth.
Coincidentally, despite opposing close ties with Poland, he was the chief negotatiator in the successful negotiation between Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the state controlled by the Order of the Brethren of the Sword, which led to the secularisation of Livonia and its union with Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1562.
He was known for his religious beliefs, as he was one of the most prominent converts and advocates of the Protestant faith in Grand Duchy of Lithuania and thus contributed to the Lithuanian branch of the Polish Reformed Church. He provided financial support for the colporated works written in defense of the Reformed faith, financed a magnificent church and college at Vilnius, supported learned Protestants, and in various other ways fostered the Calvinist faith. He is known to have exchanged letters with John Calvin.
Because Protestants supported usage of local languages, he is also believed to have funded Lithuanian churches and schools.

Nesvizh (lith: Nesvyžius, Pol: Nieśwież) is a city in Belarus. It is the administrative center of the Nesvizh District of Minsk Province and location of a UNESCO World Heritage Site entitled Architectural, Residential and Cultural Complex of the Radvila(Radziwill) Family at Nesvizh. Nesvizh was first documented in 1223. Shortly it fell under the rule of a powerful neighbouring state, later known as Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In the 15th century, while still a minor town, it passed to the Radvila(Radziwill) princely family. Since then and until 1939, the foremost branch of that illustrious family developed Nesvizh as its family nest.

Sigismund II Augustus and Barbara Radziwill (lith.:Barbora Radvilaite):

Radvila's family coat of arm - black eagle - in the coat of arm of city Birzai

Mikolaj Radvila "The Red" (Radziwill)

*** *** ***


Leo Sapiega (1557-1633)
( lithuanian: Leonas Sapiega). He became Great Secretary of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1580, Great Clerk of the Grand Duchy in 1581, Court Chancellor of the GDL in 1585, Grand Chancellor of the GDL from 1589 until 1623, mayor of Vilnia in 1621, Great Lithuanian commander in 1623. Leo is considered as a great political figure of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. A rich and powerful magnate, he was known for his wisdom as a statesman, lawyer and military commander, he was one of the greatest leaders of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at the times of the Duchy's highest cultural flourishing.
He was educated in Lipsk and work in the royal chancellery of King Stefan Batory. He supported a political union with Muscovy in 1584-1600 and led the diplomatic mission to Moscow in 1600 that proposed the union to tzar Boris Godunov, who declined the proposal. He also participated in wars with Muscovy under King Stefan Batory and King Sigismund III Vasa. He became an adviser of King Sigismund III Vasa and supported his plans to take over the Muscovite throne.

As Chancellor he was the main editor and publisher of the last version of the Statute of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, considered to be the first Constitution in Europe. He was co-initiator and a participant in the military expedition to Moscow in 1618 by King Wladislaw IV.
As Sejm (Parliament) Marshal he led the ordinary Sejm in Warsaw from October 4 to November 25, 1582. He was a benefactor of many catholic churches in the Grand Duchy. He established the long-term power and wealth of the Sapieha family.



*** *** ***


Casimir Simonavièius (1600 - 1651) . He referred himself as Lithuanian noblemen, from Grand Duchy of Lithuania, General of artillery, gunsmith, military engineer, artillery specialist and pioneer of rocketry. No portrait or detailed biography of him have survived
Born near Raseiniai in Samogitia (Lithuania), likely in a relatively poor noble family with military service traditions, Simonavičius was educated in the Vilnius University. As he wrote himself, he was fascinated by artillery since childhood, and he studied many sciences to increase his knowledge (mathematics, mechanics, hydraulics, architecture, optics, tactics).
He spent some time in the Netherlands, where he was sent by the King Wladislaw IV to serve in the army of Duke Frederick Henry of Orange during the war with Spain.
In 1646 he returned to Commonwealth, when Wladislaw created the artillery corps and gathered specialists from Europe. From 1648 he served as Second in Command of Royal Artillery, as an expert in the field of artillery and rocketry. However, in 1649 he decided to leave the Commonwealth and work on his book in Amsterdam.
He is the famous for his work Artis Magnae Artilleriae pars prima. Only the first part was finished before his death, although it is rumored he did write a manuscript before his death. The five sections of the Latin first edition deal with caliber, pyrotechnics, rockets, fireballs and the building of firework set-pieces.
"Artis Magnae Artilleriae pars prima" ("Great Art of Artillery, the First Part". also known as "The Complete Art of Artillery"), first printed in Amsterdam in 1650, was translated to French in 1651, German in 1676, English and Dutch in 1729. For over two centuries this work was used in Europe as a basic artillery manual. The book provided the standard designs for creating rockets, fireballs, and other pyrotechnic devices. It discussed for the first time the idea of applying a reactive technique to artillery. It contains a large chapter on caliber, construction, production and properties of rockets (for both military and civil purposes), including multistage rockets, batteries of rockets, and rockets with delta wing stabilizers (instead of the common guiding rods).
K. Simonavičius was the first person in history to conceive of the multi-stage rocket and of rocket artillery. There is an illustration, taken from the book “Arti magnae artillerae”, printed in Amsterdam in 1650, depicted on the stamp. The book was used by many authors of the XVII-XVIII centuries artillery textbooks.


*** *** ***



Ferdinand Rushchyts (1870-1936) - was a painter, decorator and an educator.
In the beginning of the 20th century he was an organizer of the artistic life of Vilnius. In 1903-1904 he contributed to the opening of the art school in Warsaw together with other artists. Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis was his student in the school. Rushchyts called him the new challenger of art. In 1908 the artist moved to Vilnius to live there for ever. He joined to the cultural life of the town immediately. He became the organizer of various events. Here also encourage others to see the beauty of Vilnius. Because of his great efforts the archive of the photographs of Vilnius was started to be stored in 1912. His respect and care to Vilnius was expressed by formatting the album ‘Vilnius befor 100 years’. The cycle of Vilnius imagery painted by Pranciškus Smuglevičius was reproduced in the album. Because Rushchyts attempt, the paintings were published in a separate album. This original document helps the researchers to work and to reproduce the authentic historical symbols.
In the spring of 1915, when Vilnius was occupied by German army, the artist moved to Bagdonov. He lived there for three years. When the war was over in 1919, and Vilnius University was opened, Rushchyts started his pedagogical activities. He was a Dean of the faculty of arts at Stefan Batory University. He was also the member of senate. He organized various events at the University and created different attributes of higher education. Although he worked at the University, he did not forget his prior activities. He designed the covers of books and vignettes. He also created personal medals and various flags for the army. He contributed to every important festival of the town. Unfortunately a hard disease forced Rushchyts to leave the active life of the society and to move to Bagdonov again. The artist died and was buried there in 1936.

In 1937-1938 postmortem exhibition of his paintings was opened in Warsaw, Vilnius, Cracow and Torun. The inheritance of his art from the museum of Poland was exhibited in the house of Radvila. The part of this exhibition was chosen from the funds of Lithuania Art Museum. Some of the works were lent by the Science Museum of Vilnius University. This exhibition was also opened in Lithuania Art Museum starting from 2002, October 15 until 2002, December 15.




*** *** ***



Yazep Drazdovich
(1888-1954) was born in October 1 in a poor family of noblemen, in Vilnius region. His first education was gained in Dysna, later on (1906-1910) he studied the Art School of professor I.Trutnev in Vilnius. As a result of his interest of native places and the studies of native architecture, the albums of graphical paintings (‘Vilnia’, ‘Trakai’, ‘Medininkai’, ‘Kreva’, ‘Naugardukas’, ‘Lida’ etc) were born. Yazep Drazdovich also contributed to the establishment of Vilnia Belarus Museum. He was the founder of art studio near Vilnius Gymnasium. Some of his art works are exhibited in the National Museum of Lithuania Republic today.


*** *** ***

Petr Sergievich
(1900-1984) was born in Stavrov village, in Belarus. He studied painting in the faculty of arts at Vilnius University (1919-1922 and 1925-1927). He also studied in the Cracow Academy of Arts (1924-1925). He was a honoured art activist of Lithuania SSR(1969). He died in Vilnius, in 1984.

*** *** ***


Frydrich Struve (1793-1864) - German scientist and the professor on Tartu University. Struve geodesic arc was named by the name of astronomer F. G. W. Struve. The oldest part of Struve geodesic arc was made in Vilnius, in 1816-1821. The creation of the network of triangulation was started in the territory of Estonia and Latvia in 1822 and lasted until 1831. All the work was organized by F.Struve, the professor of Tartu University. The geodesic institute of Finland offered to record some of the geodesic items of the arc as the world’s heritage monuments of UNESCO. It was the first international nomination in the list of World’s heritage.

More about it:


*** *** ***


Constantin Ostrozhski (1460-1530) also known under his Ruthenian name Konstantin Ivanovich Ostrozhski was a Lithuanian duke and a Grand Hetman of Lithuania since September 11, 1497, until his death. He started his military career under king John I Albert. He took part in successful campaigns against the Tatars and Muscovy. For his victory near Ochakov against the forces of Mehmet Girey he was awarded with the title of Grand Hetman of Lithuania. In 1514 another war with Muscovy started and Ostrogski became the commander in chief of all the Polish and Lithuanian forces (amounting to up to 35,000 soldiers). On September 8, 1514 he achieved a brilliant victory in the Battle of Orsha, defeating the 80,000-strong army of Vasili III. Nevertheless this victory brought Lithuania no political advantages. The numbers of both armies in the battle remain disputed.
He died in 1530 as a well-respected military commander. Despite his steady loyalty to the Catholic kings of Poland as well as an old feud with an Orthodox Muscovy, Ostrogski himself remained a devout Orthodox in traditions of his family. He gave generously for construction of Orthodox churches and sponsored the creation of many church-affiliated schools for the orthodox children. As one of the wealthiest Orthodox nobles he was buried in the Kiev Pechersk Lavra in Kiev.

Constantin Wasyl Ostrozhski (1526-1608) was a Lithuanian nobelman, starost of Volodymyr-Volynskyi, Marshal of Volhynia and voivode of Kyiv Voivodship in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Son of Constantin Ostrozhski.

*** *** ***

Artur Grottger (1837-1867) - was a polish artist, who painted series of six images named "Lithuania", dedicated January 1863
Insurrection against tsar regime. One of them ("The Battle") was reproduced in part on polish stamp in 1946 (Michel 427).

The story of the January Insurrection told in a series of six prints, secretly published between 1864 and 1866. These patriotic images were immensely popular, and would have been kept hidden, and brought out "to lift up the heart," in a great many of our ancestors' homes in the latter years of the 19th century.
Seria "Lithuania" in 6 paintings:
1. The Lithuanian Wilderness. Death broods over the primeval Lithuanian forest.
2. The Signal. In their cabin, as her husband nods off, the young wife hears the signal calling for the rebels to defend their country.
3. The Oath. The young man takes the oath of the Insurrectionary.
4. The Battle. The Lithuanians go into battle.
5. The Ghost. As the wife comforts her baby, and dreams of her husband away in the war, his ghost --shot through the heart-- looks on.
6. The Vision. In Siberia (or perhaps in the coal mines of America), a vision of the Blessed Virgin comforts the widow in her brutal labor.

More about those images you can find (in english):



*** *** ***

Alexander the Good (Alexandru cel Bun) was a Voivode (Prince) of Moldavia between 1400 and 1432, son of Roman I Muşat.
In 1402, he was sworn vassal of Jogaila, the King of Poland/Duke of Lithuania.
The treaty was renewed in 1404, 1407, 1411 and 1415.
Alexander participated in two battles against the Teutonic Knights: in 1410 at Grunwald and in 1422 at Marienburg.
Due to a territorial claim of Poland and the previous failure of the Polish king to fulfill his part of the vassality treaty during an Ottoman attack in 1420, Alexander launched an attack on Poland during the Lithuanian Civil War (1431–1435). The attack ended with the treaty of Suceava on November 18, 1431.
Alexander the Good had four legitimate wives – one of them Rymgajla (daughter of Kęstutis and sister of Vytautas the Great of Lithuania; divorced in 1421).




*** *** ***

Ivan Crucki (lith.: Jonas Chruckis) 1810.02.08 Ula (Vitebsk.) - 1885.01.13 Zacharniči (Polock), painter, academist. ~1827 has graduated Polock gymnasium. Since 1828 has studied in St.Petersburg,
Year 1839-50 or 1856 lived in Vilnius. Was famous of using flamand painting tradition.

Painted portret of his wife 1835 as well as Balinski, M. Romer, 1847, autoportrets (1881, 1884), landscapes of Vilnius area (Šnipiškės, Vilnius Kalvarija, St.. Rapolo church. Took part with litography of J. K. Vilčinskis Vilnius album. Painted interiors on religious theme for Vilnius and Kaunas churches.
Source: Visuotinė Lietuvių enciklopedija, Vilnius 2003. (russian language)



Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly (1761-1818)
Prince Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly (27 December [O.S. 16 December] 1761 – 26 May [O.S. 14 May] 1818; was a Russian Field Marshal and Minister of War during Napoleon's invasion in 1812 and War of the Sixth Coalition.

Barclay de Tolly, a member of the Scottish Clan Barclay, was born in Pamūšis, Courland and Semigallia (in present-day Pakruojis region, Šiauliai County, Lithuania) where his father owned the manor. Raised in Jõgeveste, Livonia, currently in Estonia. The commonly accepted birth date of 27 December 1761 is the actual day of his baptism in the Lutheran church of the town Žeimelis, Lithuania. He was a German-speaking descendant of a Scottish family which had settled in Livonia in the 17th century. His grandfather served as the mayor of Riga, his father Bogdan Barclay de Tolly was admitted into the ranks of Russian nobility, and the future Field Marshal entered the Imperial Russian Army at an early age.The beginning of Napoleon's army march through Lithuania, the largest Russian - First Western Army led by the war minister Barclay de Tolly, with about 130,000 troops the chief office was placed in Vilnius. Here stood the Tsar Alexander I of guards.

First Western Army Corps were located in Lithuania from Raseiniai by Lida. Under pressure of Napoleon's troops, Barclay's de Tolly army was forced to retreat. Leaving Vilnius, he issued a proclamation, informing the residents of Vilnius, the army will leave Vilnius for some time and will move into the depth of the empire; proclamation urged residents to keep calm and loyalty to the Emperor Alexander.
General Field Marshal Barclay de Tolly died in 1818 May 26, Instenburg (in lithuanian: Isrutis) now - Chernyakhovsk, Kaliningrad Oblast., Russia). Buried in Bekloro Manor (Jõgeveste, Estonia). For him, as military leader monuments in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Riga and Tartu are built.




Catherine I 1684 – 1727
Catherine I, the real name of Marta Elena Skavronskaitė, was born 04 15 1684 in Livonia, Lithuanian peasant origin Samuel Skavronskis family. He was born somewhere near Jekabpils, for some time he lived there, since 1699 served in Aluksne (then - Marienburg), Lutheran pastor at Ernst glucosidase. In 1702., The Russian army occupied Marienburg, Field Marshal Earl B. Sheremetyev Marta made ​​her maid. Later she went to A. Meņshikov and 1703 Peter the Great took Marta and made ​​her cohabitant. In 1705 Marta adopted Orthodoxy and has called Catherine Aleksejevna. In 1711 Peter stood with his first wife Evdokija Lopuchina and 1712 February 19 married Catherine. Even during the lifetime of Peter the Great, Catherine was declared emperor. Peter's guard the day of his death (1725 01 28) swore to Catherine. Catherine I died 05 17 1727 in St. Petersburg.

It seems that not so much of Lituanica - only that her father was a lithuanian, as it comes from Zarasai, although it maybe sufficient to assign and referre to Lituanica. But keep in mind that part of the district Jēkabpils Daugavpils (Ilūkstes) Akniste and other ethnic Lithuanian land has always belonged to Lithuania, and only in 1921 after the contract was transferred to Latvia. In order to recover the Latvian Palanga and Sventoji in return was to give ​​other places. S. Skavronskis, being a Lithuanian, probably settled in Lithuanian populated area, so one could say that the Marta Elena Skavronskaitė born in ethnographic Lithuania.
Text: Ricardas Vainora


Peter Skarga (1536-1612) - theologian, preacher. Born in central Poland, and studied at the University of Krakow. In 1564 became a priest. In Rome joined the Jesuit Order. 1573-1584 lived in Vilnius. He was Vice Rector of the Jesuit College, then in 1579-1584 became first Vilnius Academy (University) Rector. Converted to Catholicism a few Radziwill family members, has been taking care especially of Jurgis Radziwill. Published a polemic writings, in total 11 of his books were printed in Vilnius. While living in Vilnius P.Skarga was establishing the Jesuit colleges in Polotsk, Riga, Dorpat (Tartu).

In the name of P.Skarga The Great Courtyard of Vilnius University is named, which is equipped with a commemorative plaque. In chapel of St. Casimir is the pulpit on eagles' wings, traditionally associated with P.Skarga (though made in ​​the eighteenth century.). Wooden crucifix (made in sixteenth century) in the church of St. John is considered P.Skarga's gift.




{more info }

{more info }

{more info }

{more info }

{more info}


Vytis on Coat of Arms

Flag of Lithuania

Jan Sniadecki

Stanislaw Moniuszko

Lithuania flag


December 2014

News Archive


 Copyright © 2006 Lituanica on Stamps // Design: