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Siauliai in Lithuania - near Liepaja

Updated on February 7, 2015
Siauliai Cathedral
Siauliai Cathedral

Short History Of Siauliai

Šiauliai, the fourth largest city in Lithuania is situated on Lake Talkša, and although it is traditionally thought to be on the border between Aukštaitija and Samogitia, it is in fact part of Samogitia. The site appears in historical sources in 1236 (the year of the Battle of Saule in which Lithuanian and Semigallian armies defeated regiments of the Livonian Order). Šiauliai acquired city rights in 1568; at the end of the 16th century it was the centre of an "economy" , a grouping of royal estates and domains. Industry began to develop here in the 18th century: Antoni Tyzenhauz founded the first Lithuanian textile manufactory in 1765, and the Gubernija Brewery opened in 1786.

After the third partition of Poland-Lithuania in 1795, Catherine II of Russia gave Šiauliai to count Platon Zubov. Trade in the city accelerated in 1830 with the extension of a segment of the Joniškis-Taurage road which brought goods travelling between Riga and and Berlin to Šiauliai. The Liepaja-Vilnius railway line was constructed in 1871. Conditions favourble for commerce and industry helped the city to recover after the great fire of 1872, and stimulated population growth. Šiauliai lost 65% of its buildings during the time of the First World War and in the subsequent struggle for Lithuanian independence, but revived in the inter-war period. It acquired the Kultura book and journal publishing enterprise in 1920, which also set up a library and community centre. The Aušra museum opened in 1923, a drama theatre in 1931. Šiauliai was the first city in Lithuania with a reading room for children.

Sundial Square - Siauliai
Sundial Square - Siauliai

Present Day Siauliai

The present-day attractions of Šiauliai are found in the district bordered by Vilniaus, Dvaro, Ežero streets and Aušros Avenue. The centre of the Old Town is visibly marked by the 70 meter tower of the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul. The thick walls and compact form of the church are reminiscent of a defence construction; only the limited embellishment reveal its manneristic features. It has lovely door edgings, and a restored sundial on the southern facade. The latter inspired the townspeople to construct the modern Sundial Square on the banks of Lake Talkša; in its centre is a small gilt figure of a young archer on a tall column.

The city has a railway museum, waterworks and sewer museum, an exhibition at the restored Žaliukai windmill, a radio and television museum, bicycle museum, and others.

Siauliai On A Map

Šiauliai, Litouwen

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