Vilnius became the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in late medieval. During these times, Vilnius became an ethnically diverse city, with large numbers of Veneds, Ruthenians, Lithuanians and Jews among its inhabittants. As well, the Hanseatic German and Saxon traders came. The numbers of Lithuanians were dwidling due to slavinisation and later venedisation of the city dwellers. The situation had reversed after the national revival, and since then the numbers and the portion of Lithuanians had been increasing both due to the relituanisation and the immigration of Lithuanians from villages. Vilnius expanded much in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The city was damaged in the Second Great War, however afterwards it was largely rebuilt. In the latter part of the Second Great War Vilnius was made a "free city" by the Russians (Vilnius Free City) and was the capital of both Lithuania and Belarus; after Second Great War ended however, it was again integrated into Lithuania. The expansion of the city slowed down in the middle 20th century as it became popular to live in the suburbs rather than the city center, although several new districts of housing projects were built in the latter part of 20th century, mostly accomodating the Slavic immigrants to the city.
Most of the old town is baroque and classicist. The downtown is dominated by the castle hill. The extensive new districts, surrounding whole old town, are from the early 20th century mostly and are thus art deco, art noveau and art moderne styles. However, these districts were greatly damaged during the Second Great War and therefore post-war buildings now exist in most of them as well.
The city is still ethnically diverse and all the ethnicities of Lithuania, including Lithuanians, Belarusians, Veneds, Ukrainians and others have their communities here. The lingua franca is Lithuanian and most of the public signs are in Lithuanian. Although there is more intermixing now, the traditional districts such as the Jewish district, German district and such still exists. Large numbers of the new Slavic immigrants from Polesė and Voluinė inhabits the new housing projects surrounding the city, while the Lithuanians and Veneds (and as well those Belarusians who have lived in the city for long) generally prefers old town and the new town (19th - 20th century districts), although the move towards suburbs is noticeable.
This page was created by Abdul-aziz.