The Presidential Palace, called “Prezidentūra” (President’s Office) in everyday life, was built in the square of Simonas Daukantas (a graduate of Vilnius University and the author of the first history of Lithuania published in the Lithuanian language in the 19th century).
Whichever way you chose to approach Daukanto Square, a narrow street will suddenly broaden and blend into the square predominated by a Classical building from the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century: a former nobleman’s house and the present-day Office of the President. The grandeur of the square is somewhat allayed by the Baroque towers above the roof of the palace.
Here follows some information about the Presidential Palace. From the 16th century it served as a residence for Vilnius bishops. In the 18th century, when Lithuania was occupied and annexed to the Russian Empire, the palace served as a residence for the Governor General of Vilnius. Russian Tsar Alexander I, French King Louis XVIII, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, and Polish Marshall and statesman Jozef Pilsudski visited the palace.
In 1997, the building was renovated. Presently, the President of Lithuania and his Chancellery occupy the building, and leaders of other countries are received here. The flag of the President of Lithuania, which flies above the building, is lowered when the President leaves the country. Three national flags are hoisted in front of the building; two of them can be replaced by the flags of high foreign visitors.
Every day at 18.00 you can see the changing of the guards at the Presidential Palace. Free excursions around the Presidential Palace are organised on Saturdays. During these excursions, visitors can see the interior of the historical building and they can even visit the office of the President.
Every Sunday at 12:00 a solemn flag hoisting ceremony is held (5–10 min.). Participating in the ceremony are soldiers of the Honour Guard Company of the Lithuanian Armed Forces dressed not only in ceremonial uniforms but also in medieval armament. The soldiers dressed in reconstructed uniforms of the guards of the Palace of the Grand Dukes of the 14-century Algirdas’ epoch carry the message that the present-day Lithuanian Armed Forces are guardians of the honourable history of the country, a part of its centuries-old history.
Free-of-charge tours of the Presidential Palace are available on Fridays at 16:30 and Saturdays from 9:00 to 14:30. In summer, guided tours are also offered in English on Sundays: 9:00-14:30. Prior registration is required. Groups are limited to 25 people.
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