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Imagining the Grand Duchy of Lithuania: The Politics and Economics of the Rebuilding of Trakai Castle and the Palace of Sovereigns in Vilnius
Linköping University, Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture, Department of Culture Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2010 (English)In: CENTRAL EUROPE, ISSN 1479-0963, Vol. 8, no 2, 181-203 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In 1884 the prominent nation-builder Jonas Basanavicius declared that castle mounds and literature were the only appropriate elements from which to build the Lithuanian nation. Basanaviciuss view, this article suggests, had a lasting influence on the public uses of history in twentieth-century Lithuania. The study explores the construction of two iconic images of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Trakai Castle and the `Palace of Sovereigns in Vilnius. Built in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Trakai Castle was once the seat of the Grand Duke of Lithuania, but fell into neglect before its reconstruction in the 1960s. Dating back to the thirteenth century, the Palace in Vilnius deteriorated during the eighteenth century, was dismantled at the beginning of the nineteenth, and has been completely rebuilt since 2000. It is striking that the reconstructions of castles were the largest state investments in culture in both the Soviet and post-Soviet regimes. The reconstruction of Trakai Castle was criticized on economic and ideological grounds by Nikita Khrushchev. The rebuilding of the Palace polarized Lithuanian intellectuals. The presentation compares the intellectual, social, and political rationales which underpinned the two projects and explores the changes and continuities in the uses of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania under the Soviet and post-Soviet regimes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
School of Slavonic and East European Studies,University College London , 2010. Vol. 8, no 2, 181-203 p.
Keyword [en]
Trakai Castle, Palace of Sovereigns, Vilnius, Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, Republic of Lithuania, heritage
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-66895DOI: 10.1179/174582110X12871342860243ISI: 000287456600008OAI: diva2:405246
Available from: 2011-03-21 Created: 2011-03-21 Last updated: 2011-03-21

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Rindzeviciute, Egle
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Department of Culture StudiesFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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