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Vilnius  

Adam Miłobędzki

[Ger. Wilna ; Pol. Wilno ; Rus. Vilno, Vil’nyus ]

Capital of Lithuania, situated on the River Vilnya. Since becoming the capital of the Grand Duchy in 1323 its political fortunes have mainly followed those of Lithuania as a whole. Throughout its history Vilnius has been the artistic capital of Lithuania ; despite its position on Europe’s east–west cultural divide, from the late 16th century to the mid-20th its dominant Polish population brought it under the powerful influence of Latin culture. In two periods in particular, the Late Gothic and Rococo, the art of Vilnius developed a strong regional character, but at other times, notably in the 17th century, it absorbed outside influences, particularly from Italy, in their purer forms. Although the city flourished on trade with neighbouring countries and the Baltic, it was cut off from the main world trade routes; after rapid growth in the 17th century it stagnated at the turn of the 19th, leaving it with a rather underdeveloped industrial base....