Since the 15th century, present-day Tilto Street and the surrounding area in Vilnius have long been an integral part of the suburb of Łukiszki, which has experienced many changes over several centuries. It was the west road leading to the castles, the site of the camp of the late 14th-century Crusader army that attacked Vilnius, and was close to the site of the Radziwiłł Palace of the late 15th–16th century. This wet, swampy northeastern part of Łukiszki was not very hospitable for habitation, its significance coming from its natural situation and topography, i.e. its location near the confluence of the Neris and Vilnia Rivers, as well as its roads leading west. In addition, a hypothesis has been raised in the historiography that it may have been part of the Swintoroha Valley, a legendary centre of pagan worship. This entity, its likely location, and even its very existence raises many questions, which, in the absence of written sources, archaeological data can help to answer. Recent decades have seen an increase in archaeological research in this part of the city. Particularly useful has been the project in the vicinity of the former Radziwiłł Palace, in the northeast of the suburb, which yielded information that provided a very good reflection of the period when this area was an integral part of the Radziwiłł estate and supplemented and corrected the knowledge historical sources have provided about the development of Tilto Street and the surrounding area, which is especially important in recreating the area’s earliest history, on which written sources have shed little light.
Journal:Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis
Volume 33 (2016): Verbum movet, exemplum trahit. The Emerging Christian Community in the Eastern Baltic = Verbum movet, exemplum trahit. Krikščioniškosios bendruomenės tapsmas Rytų Baltijos regione, pp. 75–98
In the 13th and 14th centuries, Lithuania’s neighbours were already Christians: Orthodox to the east, Catholics to the north and south. Members of these two branches of Christianity met in pagan Vilnius, which was already looking at choosing a new faith. By consolidating historical, archaeological, architectural and geological sources, this article explores the reasons for and the circumstances of Christian settlement in pagan Vilnius, analyses the living spaces of both communities, and aims to determine the importance of Christians and the changes to their role in developing Vilnius. Differences between the Orthodox and Catholic communities are emphasised, but points of connection between the two communities are also sought. The position of Christians in the town reflects the generic state of emerging Vilnius, is inseparably intertwined with shifts in its history, and also shows how Lithuania’s rulers wavered between the Latin and Greek rites.
Volume 18 (2012): People at the Crossroads of Space and Time (Footmarks of Societies in Ancient Europe) II, pp. 256–269
The Civitas Rutenica area, inhabited by Orthodox believers, emerged in Vilnius in the late 13th century and early 14th century. The development of this part of the city can be traced all through the 14th century. The cemetery that was discovered in the central part of Civitas Rutenica reflects cultural and social changes in the Orthodox community. Christian burial rites were practised in this cemetery. Several graves contained luxurious grave goods, including jewellery, some of which was common to the Slavs, and some of which had local origins. As an integrated approach to burial traditions indicates, people of the Orthodox faith were buried in this cemetery. According to written sources, the elite from Rus’ arrived in Vilnius at that time. An analysis of anthropological material reveals some features of the social structure of the Orthodox community.
The Orthodox community which settled in the Civitas Rutenica area in Vilnius started building their houses of worship (Orthodox churches) as early as the first half of the 14th century. At the beginning of the 15th century, there were 12 of them inside the quarter and two outside it. These churches, reflecting Orthodox culture and showing the usual features of their construction, predetermined the further development of this part of the city, and the development of whole areas of Vilnius. Locating them precisely enables us to better understand the urban development of Vilnius, and trends within this development.