I took a morning walk from my Crowne Plaza Hotel. Walking eastwards M.K. Ciurlionio gatve (street) I could see this building with two white domes on my picture in a park on the left (north) at M.K.Ciurlionio 29.
It was the Astronomical Observatory of the Vilnius University , also known as the Vilnius Astronomical Observatory, a departament of the Faculty of Physics of the Vilnius University now. It was founded in 1753 and it was the fourth oldest observatory in Europe and the oldest in Eastern Europe. Former director of the Observatory was Marcin Odlanicki Poczobut(1728-1810), the member of London Royal and Sorbonne Academies, rector of Vilnius University(1780 -1799). The Observatory was closed in 1882 by the tsarist government.
There was commemorative plaque affixed above a gate of a house on my picture at Didzioji gatve # 22 (eastern wall of Town Hall Square - Rotuses aikste). The inscription in both Lithuanian and Polish announced: Adam Mickiewicz (Adamos Mickevicius) was sent into excile to Russia from this house on 6 Nov. (25 Oct.) 1824 leaving Vilnius forever.
Who was Mickiewicz?
The greatest Polish poet and national bard of 19th century living in Vilnius and then in Russia, Switzerland and France. In his epic poems he supported Polish people fighting for independence (uprisings in 1830-1931, 1848, 1863-1864) in a country under Russian (Lithuania, eastern Poland, Warsaw), German (western Poland) and Austrian (Krakow, southeastern Poland) rule.
There was a commemorative plaque both in Lithuanian and Polish language affixed to this house - southern wing of Basilian Monastery - on my picture. It announced that Adam Mickiewicz (famous Polish poet) together with other Filomats was inprisoned at this building from 23 Oct 1823 to 21 April 1824 and that at this place the action of his famous poem "Dziady" czesc III took place. Filomats’ Society (fans of science) and more radical Filarets' Society were secret organisations in occupied by Russia Vilnius.
This Basilian Monastery was built together with Holy Trinity Church in 1514 and rebuilt many times later. At the beginning of 19th century (tzarist Russia) the prison was founded in the southern wing of the monastery. There were numerous Lithuanian and Polish patriots imprisoned there including Filomats and Filarets like Domeyko who later immigrated to South America and became first Ministry of Education in... Chile.
Walking along Bernardinu gatve (Observantine Street, formerly Zaulek Bernardynski in Polish language) towards St. Anne's church I paid attention to lovely, renovated with good taste building on the left.
In the past it was Palace of Olizars' or Lapacinskis' (Palac Olizarów or Lapacinskich). The building was built in 18th century in late baroque and clasical style and was covered by beautiful baroque red-tiled roof (look at my picture). Now, it houses Hotel Shakespeare with a restaurant and pub.
Vilnius in 18th century at least to the beginning of 20th century was inhabited mostly by Polish and Jewish people. Look at the statistics from 1917:
Polish - 54%
Jewish - 41%
Lithuanian - 1,6 %.
Are you surprised?
Keep in mind that Vilnius since 1385 to 1792 belonged to common state of the two nations: Lithuania and Poland (a kind of federation called Commonwealth of the Two Nations). Since 1792 (with short breeaks during national uprisings and Napoleon's war) Vilnius was occupied by tsarist Russia up until as late as 1918.
Narcyz Olizar (1794-1862) was Polish count, poet, memorialist and Polish patriot, insurgent in 1830 who immigrated to Paris, France.
Gustaw Olizar (1798-1865) was like his brother Narcyz, Polish count, poet, memorialist and Polish patriot. He was imprisoned by Russian, tsarist authorities, exiled in Crimea (Ukraine, now) and forced to immigration where he lived in Oostende, Belgium.
Two poets in the past and... Shakespeare Hotel now - coincidence? Really?
The Gediminas Hill is a typical Lithuanian mound, the largest such hill of natural origin in Lithuania. The Vilnius castle was first mentioned on Octorber 2nd 1323 in Gediminas' treaty with the city and bishop of Riga and the German order. At the time the Higher castle was built of timber. Later a brick castle was built. The castle was attacked eight times, but not a sighle attack succeeded. After the 1419 fire Vytautas rebuilt and fortified it. The castle was surrounded by a stone wall.