The statue of King Mindaugas is a monument in Vilnius, Lithuania dedicated to Mindaugas, the first known Grand Duke of Lithuania who ruled in the 13th century. The statue stands in the square named after Mindaugas, right next to the historic old town of Vilnius.
The statue created by the Lithuanian sculptor Gediminas Jokūbonis was unveiled in 2003. July 6, commemorating the 750th anniversary of the coronation of Mindaugas as King of Lithuania. The bronze statue depicts Mindaugas standing on a stone pedestal, holding a scepter in one hand and a royal crown in the other.
The statue has become a symbol of Lithuania’s statehood and independence and is a popular tourist attraction in Vilnius. The square where the statue is located also has a fountain and benches, making it a pleasant place for visitors to relax and admire the surrounding architecture.
The history of the King Mindaugas monument begins with the life and reign of the first known Lithuanian Grand Duke Mindaugas. He ruled from 1236 to 1263 and is considered the founder of the Lithuanian state. Mindaugas united Lithuanian tribes and expanded the territory of LDK. He was crowned king of Lithuania in 1253, after converting to Christianity.
The idea of creating a monument to Mindaugas arose as early as the 19th century when Lithuanian actors and intellectuals began to advocate for national identity and statehood. In the 20th century, after Lithuania regained its independence in 1990, there was renewed interest in honoring Mindaugas and other historical figures who played a significant role in the history of Lithuania.
The project of the statue of King Mindaugas was initiated in the early 2000s, and the sculptor Gedimin Jokūbonis was commissioned to create the statue. Jokūbonis worked on the project for several years, creating a detailed model of Mindaugas before casting the final bronze statue. The statue was unveiled in 2003. on July 6, with the participation of Lithuanian officials, artists, and the public.
Since its unveiling, the statue of King Mindaugas has become an important symbol of Lithuania’s statehood and independence. It is often visited by tourists and local residents and is considered one of the most significant public monuments in Lithuania.
There are several legends and rumors about the monument of King Mindaugas in Vilnius. Here are some:
The Crown of Mindaugas: According to one legend, the crown that Mindaugas holds in the statue’s hand was lost for many centuries until it was discovered by a young shepherd in the 18th century. The boy reportedly found the crown buried in a field and brought it to the local priest. The crown was eventually returned to Lithuania, where it is now exhibited in the Lithuanian National Museum.
Stone pedestal: Another legend says that the stone pedestal on which Mindaugas stands was once part of an ancient pagan altar. It is said that Mindaugas, a former pagan who later converted to Christianity, stood on a stone and renounced his pagan beliefs in the presence of a Christian bishop.
Sleeping Mindaugas: There is a myth that if someone sneaks up to the statue of Mindaugas at night and whispers a wish in his ear, the king will wake up and grant the wish. Because of this legend, many hopeful visitors visited the statue late at night.
These legends add to the mystique and charm surrounding the sculpture of King Mindaugas and the history of Lithuania.
Five reasons to visit the King Mindaugas Monument
Here are five reasons to visit King Mindaugas monument:
1. Historical significance: The statue of King Mindaugas is a monument to Mindaugas, the first known Grand Duke of Lithuania, who united the Lithuanian tribes and expanded the territory of the LDK. A visit to the statue provides an opportunity to get acquainted with the history of Lithuania and the origins of Lithuanian statehood.
2. Cultural importance: the statue is a symbol of Lithuanian statehood and independence, an important icon of Lithuanian culture. It has become a popular place for visitors who want to get acquainted with the culture and history of Lithuania.
3. Architectural beauty: the monument stands in the square right next to the historic old town of Vilnius, which is famous for its wonderful architecture and charming streets. The statue itself is an impressive work of art, made of bronze and mounted on a stone pedestal.
4. Relaxing atmosphere: The square where the statue is located is a calm and relaxing place with a fountain and benches where visitors can sit and enjoy the surrounding scenery. It is a great place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a moment of quiet reflection.
5. Local legends: As we mentioned earlier, several legends and stories are associated with the statue, including the lost crown of Mindaugas and the myth of the sleeping king. These legends add to the intrigue and fascination surrounding the statue, making it an even more attractive place for visitors.