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The Oaths of Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas to Vilnius and Lithuania

Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas (1316–1341) was one of the most eminent rulers of the early Lithuanian state. Continuing his policy of incorporating the lands of Rus', he invited people from Central and Western Europe to Lithuania, thus becoming the founder of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania – a European superstate, or an “unproclaimed empire”.
The new ruling dynasty in Lithuania – the Gediminids – took its name from Gediminas. Its representatives (the Jagiellons) later went on to rule not just in Lithuania, but also the kingdoms of Poland, Hungary and Bohemia. Vilnius became the place of origin of Gediminas and his dynasty, while the castles of the Lithuanian capital became the most important residence of the native Gediminid-Jagiellon dynasty, from where its representatives ascended thrones as European monarchs. 
It was precisely in this castle, most probably in the residential donjon, that Grand Duke of Lithuania dictated his famous letters in 1323–1324, addressed to Pope John XXII, the Hanseatic cities and Franciscan and Dominican monasteries, in which he invited merchants, craftspeople, peasants, knights and monks to come to Vilnius.
The ruler’s city of Vilnius is mentioned in writing for the first time in Grand Duke Gediminas’ letter dated January 25, 1323, the first such mention of the eternal capital of Lithuania we know of in written sources. Vilnius’ 700th anniversary is therefore justifiably celebrated in 2023. So as to suitably commemorate this anniversary and to memorialise this particular historic fact, the Vilnius Club initiated the creation of a memorial that would stand near the tower of Gediminas’ Castle in the Grand Courtyard of the reconstructed Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.
Monument author – sculptor Martynas Gaubas
Sponsors – Ina and Darius Zubas
Texts from Gediminas’ letters were chosen by Prof. Rimvydas Petrauskas.
The monument – a gift from the Vilnius Club for the 700th anniversary of Vilnius – was placed under the protection of the National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.
Published:: 2012-00-16 Modified: 2023-10-02 12:01
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