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World > Lithuania > Vilnius
City Guide Vilnius
General Information
Wilna, Lithuanian word Vilnius, is the capital of Lithuania and of the district Wilna. With about 542.000 inhabitants it is the biggest city of the country. It lies at the mouthpiece of the Vilnia in the Neris, around 40 km away from the border to Belarus. Vilnius is the seat of the catholic archbishop and since 1579 an university city. Until World War II the polish Vilnius was mainly populated by Polish people and a big Jewish community. Besides a lot people from White Russia lived over there. World War II led to a drastic exchange of population. From the 80.000 Jews that had lived in Vilnius only a few thousands survived the holocaust und even less stayed to live in Vilnius. The biggest part of the Polish population was relocated to the West of Poland or expelled. In contrast to that a lot of Lithuanian people as well as Russians came from the rural areas to live in the city. They were needed to rebuild the city to the capital of the Socialistic Soviet Republic of Lithuania. Administration and science and especially the big factories got settled. The city experienced a quick rise of population. In 2001 Vilnius counted 542.287 inhabitants, from which Lithuanians make out 57,8%, Polish 18,7%, Russians 14%, White Russians 4%, Jews 0,5% and 5% are people of other nationalities.