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Vilnius compass – Monument of N. Ch. Radziwill, “The Orphan”

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Vilnius compass – Monument of N. Ch. Radziwill, “The Orphan”

Pilgrimage Sea Voyage to the Holy Land (1582 – 1584) by Nicholas Christopher Radziwill, “The Orphan” 

Download the book “The Prince of Winds: 7000 nautical miles on the roads of MK Radvila” for free!

Vėjų valdovasPrince of windsWladca wiatrow

Dear reader,

This historic sign engraved as a mosaic into the pavement of Vilnius Town Hall pays homage to the Pilgrimage Sea Voyage to the Holy Land (1582 – 1584) made by Nicholas Christopher Radziwill, “The Orphan” (1549-1616).

Nicholas Christopher Radziwill “The Orphan” was a state figure, patron of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy, and a writer. The nobleman was one of the first Lithuanians in the 16th century to make the trip to the peaks of the Egyptian pyramids, described the Memphis Acropolis and the flood of the Nile, thus opening the road to the East to the society of the Great Duchy of Lithuania.

Radziwill “The Orphan” visited the three continents around the Mediterranean Sea: South Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. He described this journey in his book Journey to Jerusalem, first published in 1601 in Amsterdam – latin: Hierosolymitana Peregrinatio.

The first compass in Vilnius

The first compass in Vilnius is located at the Town Hall Square. It’s the first digital narrative connecting the capital of Lithuania with the most famous cities in Europe. The first marine compass, which helped to discover the main cultural aspects and axes of Vilnius on the map of Europe:

  • Northern: Vilnius – Rome – Athens – Alexandria
  • Western: Jerusalem – Malta – Barcelona – Gibraltar

Do you know the first Lithuanian traveller who is renowned in his own homeland and is as well-known as Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan or Mark Pol?

The Symbol

  • “I have a dream that the “Vilnius Compass”, which is a recognisable symbol in all cultures, will become a new attraction point for culture and tourism in Vilnius,” says the Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius.

The “Vilnius Compass” was built in 2017 to commemorate the name of Nicholas Christopher Radziwill “The Orphan” – a unique symbol of the city created by private sponsors and Vilnius organisations. On the one hand, it is an artistic element of the central Vilnius Town Hall Square, on the other, a link to a modern online e-book, the pages of which reveal and connect the history of the past Lithuania and of modern Vilnius.

Why “Vilnius Compass”?

The launch of the “Vilnius Compass”- a maritime mark in the heart of Vilnius Old Town was initiated by the public company Gold of Lithuania, which completed a historic reconstructive journey along the Mediterranean Sea in the years 2009-2011, reconstructing the sea voyage of Nicholas Christopher Radziwill “The Orphan”. This trip the Nobleman embarked upon more than 400 years ago inspired sailors to raise a huge Lithuanian flag in 60 Mediterranean ports, inspiring Vilnius City and Lithuania to open cultural and economic relations and networking doors to Europe more broadly.

In 2013, the book “The Prince of Winds: 7000 Nautical miles after the legend of Nicholas Christophorus Radziwill “The Orphan”  (“Versus Aureus”) was published by the project writer Tomas Stanius. Download the book here.

The place

  • “The sign engraved on the pavement of the Vilnius City Hall helps not only to develop an intriguing narrative, but also precisely connects the location, personality and the idea of ​​geographic discovery,” says the Historical Sign Architect Eglė Truskauskienė.

Tradition – A new meeting point

In the maritime tradition, the compass is an object that keeps ships from getting lost. Thus, the “Vilnius Compass” is a new meeting place. Meet with friends, acquaintances, foreigners, tourists and locals. Meet with the goal to plan a new trip with your friends. Download the free book here in Vilnius, the country with the world’s fastest internet, and get ready for a trip through the Mediterranean Sea countries.

  • “By acquiring the maritime city land mark Vilnius Compass, Lithuania’s capital has become one step closer to the sea, and to the modern capital cities of the world, where people are free, brave, and believe in their ideas about life,” says Donatas Juškus ,the author of the project.

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.
  • Mecenat financed the construction of castles, parks, churches, monasteries, founded and provided support for printing work, and published Lithuanian books.


The author of the idea“Vilnius Compass”: Donatas Juškus.
Author of the “Gold of Lithuania 2009-2011: Piligriminės jūrinės ekspedicijos į Šventąją Žemę M.K. Radvilai Našlaitėliui atminti” .

Writer of the project “Vilnius Compass”: Tomas Staniulis.
Co-author of the “Gold of Lithuania 2009-2011: Piligriminės jūrinės ekspedicijos į Šventąją Žemę M.K. Radvilai Našlaitėliui atminti” .

Architect — Eglė Truskauskienė

Designer – Rasa Miliūnaitė-Janėnienė

Main sponsors:
Lawyer Robert Juodka
Donatas Juškus
Go Vilnius
Captain Artūras Dovydėnas
UAB “Gatvių statyba”
Rotary Vilnius Senamiestis
Vilniaus Klubas