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“Has Your city connections with Lithuania, Vilnius or no? Do You know who was the first Lithuanian traveler who proclaimed his country as wide as Christopher Columbus, Vasco de Gama, or Ferdinand Magellan proclaimed their homeland?”

Vilnius compass – a unique landmark in the heart of Vilnius City Town Hall Square: a granite engraved cloud book about the history of Europe and Lithuania being an integral part of the European cultural and historical heritage.

Vilnius Compass

A historical symbol decorating the Town Hall Square was officially opened in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania – official name of this unique sculpture – Vilnius compass.

The piece of art is incorporated into the pavement as a natural city landmark which is a stylized image of the compass rose that is a mosaic of 100 pieces of granite, symbolically representing the number 100, due to the celebration of the Centennial of the Restoration of the State of Lithuania. The bronze medals include the Coat of Arms of the Radziwill family – one of the richest and one of the most influential noble families’ in Europe and in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania dating back to the XVI-XVII centuries. Radziwill family used to be compared with the Habsburg dynasty by its power in Europe.

Vilnius compass – is probably one of its kind in Europe and all the world, as it has engraved internet reference to The Prince of Windsthe cloud book, which is available now to all the city guests to download in 3 languages to their mobile devices free of charge.

“The symbol has a new, conceptual, solid historical meaning and consists of two parts: a monument and a digital narrative that links Vilnius with the most famous European cities. Such symbol expands the concept of visual arts, it becomes a part of a constant dialogue with the viewers and the readers. “Vilnius Compass” at the same time evokes aesthetical emotions and intellectual insights, stirs imagination and motivates a spirit of traveling,” states the architect Eglė Truskauskienė and the designer Rasa Miliūnaitė-Janėnienė.

The emergence of the first marine symbol in the very heart of Vilnius city was initiated by the public initiative Gold of Lithuania which implemented a historical reconstruction sailing expedition in the year 2009-2011 across the Mediterranean Seas by the routes of Nicholas Christopher Radziwill “The Orphan” who traveled the same seas in 1582-1583 and wrote the best selling book of these times called Hierosolymitana peregrinatio. In 2013, the book The Prince of winds about the reconstructed sailing expedition was published by known Lithuanian writer Tomas Staniulis. Today, everyone can download this book in English, Polish and Lithuanian by scanning QR code engraved on the monument or by “googling” mobile devices using hashtag #VilniusCompass.

“By developing our idea of this unique symbol, we have a desire to give Europe a clear message that Vilnius is a modern European capital city, which has a great history being continued by the people, living here,” states Donatas Juškus, author of the project idea. According to him, a compass in the maritime tradition is an instrument that helps in navigation. “Vilnius Compass will also help to navigate in Vilnius. This is rapidly becoming a popular place for meeting up in Vilnius. You can meet up with friends, acquaintances, foreigners, tourists, locals, get your cloud book for free in the fastest internet country in the world and get ready for the new adventures,” claims Mr. Juškus.

About Nicholas Christopher Radziwill “The Orphan”

  • Nicholas Christopher Radziwill “The Orphan” (1549-1616) was a prominent figure in politics, diplomacy and culture of the Grand Dutchy of Lithuania, and the son of Mikalojus VI Radvila “The Black” and Elizabeth Šidlavietė. He spent his childhood at King’s Sigismund’s August estate in Warsaw. Studied at Tübingen, Leipzig, and travelled to Italy, Austria, France.
  • A warrior, ruler and politician, he participated in military campaigns in Livonia, fought with the Ivan IV armies, and together with the army of Stephen Bator, participated in battles near Polock and Dancig (Gdansk). In 1590, the King appointed Radziwill “The Orphan” Voivod of Trakai, and in 1604, he became the Voivod of Vilnius.
  • Nicholas Christopher Radziwill “The Orphan” is the founder of Lithuanian cartography. In 1613, he financed and published the first topographic map of Lithuania’s territories and land, participating himself in measurements. The map, published in Amsterdam (T. Makowski, the Netherlands), became the basis for many future maps of Lithuania and other European lands and countries.
  • Radziwill “The Orphan” as a big patron saint who financed the construction of castles, parks, churches, monasteries, founded and provided support for printing work, and published Lithuanian books.


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