Botanical Gardens. In the former curve of River Vilnia between Pilies Hill and Sereikiškių Garden, where we have tennis courts today, there used to be the grand duke’s mill with the first Vilnius paper mill set up as early as the the beginning of 16th c. nearby. Until mid 18th c. there were hardly any green spaces in this location. It was part of the city district of Sereikiškės. In 1787 this area was acquired by the Education Commission, which instigated by the famous naturalist G.Forster decided to move Vilnius University Botanical Gardens, then located in the yard of today’s 22 Pilies street, to more spacious Sereikiškės. However, the real founder and developer of the Botanical Gardens was the famous naturalist, Vilnius University Professor S.B.Jundzilas (S.B.Jundzill) (b.1761, d. 1847). As early as the beginning of the 19th c. his efforts resulted in the Botanical Gardens of exemplary maintenance, with their territory divided into quadrangles. Greenhouses and conservatories were built in 1807 (roundabout in the location of today’s Folk Cultural Centre). In 1808 the garden was extended onto the other side of River Vilnia at the foot of Plikojo and Bekesh Hills, where formerly Jesuits had their works of wax candles. The garden was pictorially designed by architect M.Szultz. The garden was adorned with splendid vegetation, canals, bend of River Vilnia, bridges and a small island. The third decade of the 19th c. was the heyday of the garden. The garden gave a push for the development of the Lithuanian botanical science and the start to Vilnius public green spaces and fostering of city landscape.
In 1842, when the Medical Academy was closed down, the Botanical Garden was liquidated. For some time it was the garden of the Governor General. Later a summer residence of the gentry club was set up in the part of the garden at the foot of the Plikojo Hill.
At the end of the 19th c. former Botanical Gardens were converted into entertainment garden with a summer theatre, open stage and the famous Shuman’s restaurant. At the same time it was incorporated into the whole complex of the foot of the Castle Hill. The course of River Vilnia was changed. After World War I a small sports grounds named L.Zeligowski Park and tennis courts were built in the garden. Since 1957 the territory of tennis courts was joined to the then Jaunimo (today’s Sereikiškių) Garden.

The Hill of Three Crosses (Trijų Kryžių), or Plikasis Hill. In the 13th c. the third Vilnius castle, the so called Crooked Castle, used to stand here. In 1390 it was burnt down by the sword-bearers and never rebuilt. The hill is also memorable because seven Franciscans are thought to have died the death of martyrs when pagans, in the absence of Grand Duke Algirdas, tied down to crosses and threw into the rives saying ”swim with the idol that you tell us to worship. Later three crosses were built in commemoration of this event which were regularly renewed in the course of time. In 1916-1918 the fallen down wooden crosses were replaced by bulky concrete built to design of architect A. Wiwulski which eventually became part of Vilnius panorama. Wonderful views of Vilnius open from the Hill. In the after-war years the crosses were blown up, and rebuilt again with the Independence. Over the 16th- 19th c. the Hill belonged to Vilnius Capitula, later to military services. The Hill was incorporated into the territory of Vilnius Castles along with the Kalnų Park only in the 60s of the 20th c.

Bekesh Hill is the next hill behind the Hill of Three Crosses. In 1580 a Hungarian-born friend of Lithuanian Grand Duke Stephen Bator and a military leader Caspar Bekesh who was member of the Antritrinitors Cult was buried here, and a while earlier – in 1579 – another Hungarian military leader Wadush Panonian who was killed at Polock. On the grave of Bekesh S.Bator built a brick monument of octagonal shape. River Vilnia flowing at the foot of the hill was eroding it until in 1838 five walls of the monument fell, and other walls went down in 1841. A small cemetery is thought to have been here in the 17-18th c., and at the beginning of the 20th c. paths leading from the Botanical and Bernardine Gardens to hill top were designed.

Gediminas’ Grave Hill is the next hill in the hill chain surrounding the Castle territory and its green spaces. The legend has it that the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas was buried here, however, no historical sources support this. Only remains of a small 12-13th c. settlement were found here during archaeological excavations. This is a high round hill with steep slopes. On the hill top there is an even landing with a supposed grave of Vilnius founder made of stones in the shape of an altar. The hill was re-landscaped after the Independence in 1989-1990. The stairs and the altar were built then. A broad panoramic view of Vilnius opens from the hill. One can see Gedmino Castle and the Hill of Three Crosses from here.

Kalnų (Hills) Park. This location has up to now been little investigated. It should, however, be of much interest from the historical and archaeological point of view. A settlement of the 13th c. or even older is thought to have been in the amphitheatre of Kalnų Park. Over the 16th –through to the beginning of the 19th c. this territory along with Stalo(Table) Hill belonged to Vilnius Capitula. Later Russian military services built various buildings, military warehouses, etc. here. Its slow redevelopment began in between the world wars. A stadium was built and fitted out here in 1949, and an amphitheatrical Kalnų Park stage surrounded on all sides with hills overgrown with trees – at about 1970. Kalnų Park was incorporated into the Castle territory along with Trijų Kryžių, Bekesh, Gediminas’ Grave and Stalo Hills.

Tinklapio istorija


zemelapis m