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List of World Heritage Sites in Lithuania

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World Heritage Sites in Lithuania. Blue dots mark the sites of Struve Geodetic Arc.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designates World Heritage Sites of outstanding universal value to cultural or natural heritage which have been nominated by countries which are signatories to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972.[1] Cultural heritage consists of monuments (such as architectural works, monumental sculptures, or inscriptions), groups of buildings, and sites (including archaeological sites). Natural features (consisting of physical and biological formations), geological and physiographical formations (including habitats of threatened species of animals and plants), and natural sites which are important from the point of view of science, conservation or natural beauty, are defined as natural heritage.[2] Lithuania accepted the convention on 31 March 1992, making its natural and historical sites eligible for inclusion on the list. The first site added to the list was the Vilnius Historic Centre, in 1994. Further sites were added in 2000, 2004, 2005, and 2023.[3] In total, there are five sites on the list,[4][5][6] all of them cultural. Two sites are transnational: the Curonian Spit is shared with Russia and the Struve Geodetic Arc is shared with nine other countries.[3] In addition to its World Heritage Sites, Lithuania also maintains one property on its tentative list.[3]

World Heritage Sites[edit]

UNESCO lists sites under ten criteria; each entry must meet at least one of the criteria. Criteria i through vi are cultural, and vii through x are natural.[7]

  * Transnational site
World Heritage Sites
Site Image Location Year listed UNESCO data Description
Vilnius Historic Centre A look from above at the remains of fortifications above a river Vilnius 1994 541; ii, iv (cultural) Vilnius was the political centre of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the 13th to the end of the 18th century. The historic centre comprises the areas of the Vilnius Castle Complex (three castles, the first dating back to around 1000 CE, Gediminas' Tower pictured) and the area that was encircled by a wall in the Middle Ages. The street plan is radial, originating out from the original castle site. Despite invasions and partial destruction, the city has preserved a large number of buildings, in Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical styles. Historic sites include the Cathedral Square, the Town Hall, and the Vilnius University complex.[8]
Curonian Spit* Sandy dune, a wooden trail and a wooden sign board Neringa and Klaipėda district 2000 994; v (cultural) The Curonian Spit, a 98-kilometre (61 mi) long sandy dune (a spit) that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea, has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Intense logging activities in the 17th and 18th centuries resulted in the dunes moving towards the Lagoon, burying the oldest settlements in the process. Dune stabilization work started in the 19th century and is still ongoing. It includes building a protective dune ridge, as well as planting trees and hedges. In time, some of the ancient fishermen villages have been transformed into tourist resorts, with lighthouses, piers, churches, schools, and villas. The area is also important for its sand flora and fauna, and as a bird migration path. The northern part of the Spit is in Lithuania, while the southern part is in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia.[9]
Kernavė Archaeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernavė) Mounds covered by grass. Stairs lead to some of the mounds. Širvintos district 2004 1137; iii, iv (cultural) The area around Kernavė has been inhabited continuously since the 9th or 8th millennium BCE, and there are several layers of archaeological findings from different periods. The most prominent remains are from the Middle Ages, from the 13th century, when Kernavė was an important feudal town. It had an extensive fortification system, parts of which (five hill forts) are still visible today. The town was razed by the Teutonic Order in late 14th century but human occupancy of the area continued until modern times. A cultural reserve was established in 1989.[10]
Struve Geodetic Arc* A black stone pillar and a white fence marking the site. Panemunėlis, Nemenčinė, Nemėžis 2005 1187, ii, iii, vi
The Struve Geodetic Arc is a series of triangulation points, stretching over a distance of 2,820 kilometres (1,750 mi) from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea. The points were set up in a survey by the astronomer Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve who first carried out an accurate measurement of a long segment of a meridian, which helped to establish the size and shape of the Earth. Originally, there were 265 station points. The World Heritage Site includes 34 points in ten countries (north to south: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine), three of which are in Lithuania. The site at Meškonys is pictured.[11]
Modernist Kaunas: Architecture of Optimism, 1919-1939 A brown 1930s building in the front. Kaunas 2023 1661, iv (cultural) During the Interwar period, the historic capital of Lithuania, Vilnius, was lost to Poland, and Kaunas was designated the temporary capital. This triggered a construction boom as all the vital infrastructure for a new country had to be built. The architectural style combined the national traditions and the contemporary influences from abroad to form a local school of Modernism. More than 6,000 buildings from the period have survived until today, including the Christ's Resurrection Church, the Central Post Office (pictured), the Bank of Lithuania building, and the Officers' Club Building.[12][13][14]

Tentative list[edit]

In addition to sites inscribed on the World Heritage List, member states can maintain a list of tentative sites that they may consider for nomination. Nominations for the World Heritage List are only accepted if the site was previously listed on the tentative list.[15] Lithuania lists one property on its tentative list.[3]

Tentative sites
Site Image Location Year listed UNESCO criteria Description
Trakai Historical National Park Red brick castle in the background. Lake in front. A wooden bridge with tourists. Sailboats on the lake. Trakai 2003 (mixed) The Trakai Historical National Park covers a cultural landscape with forests, lakes, moraine hills (which formed after the last ice age), and agricultural areas. These diverse habitats are home to several rare plant and animal species. The human occupancy of the area dataes back to the 4000 BCE. The town of Trakai was first mentioned in the 14th century. Two castles have been built for fortifications; the well-preserved Trakai Island Castle and the Trakai Peninsula Castle. Trakai was granted Magdeburg rights in the 15th century. It was a multicultural city, with communities of Karaims, Tatars, Lithuanians, Russians, Jews, and Poles living there.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The World Heritage Convention". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 27 August 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
  2. ^ "Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 1 February 2021. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d "Lithuania". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 6 January 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  4. ^ Jurgita Laurinėnaitė-Šimelevičienė (19 June 2019). "Lithuania | UNESCO World Heritage sites to visit in Lithuania". lietuva.lt. Archived from the original on 20 July 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  5. ^ Gregory Sousa (25 April 2017). "UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Lithuania". WorldAtlas. Archived from the original on 16 December 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  6. ^ Augustinas Žemaitis. "UNESCO sites in Lithuania « True Lithuania". www.truelithuania.com. Archived from the original on 1 April 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  7. ^ "UNESCO World Heritage Centre – The Criteria for Selection". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 12 June 2016. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Vilnius Historic Centre". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 27 October 2005. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  9. ^ "Curonian Spit". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 28 November 2005. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  10. ^ "Kernavė Archaeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernavė)". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 27 February 2006. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  11. ^ "Struve Geodetic Arc". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 18 October 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  12. ^ "Modernist Kaunas: Architecture of Optimism, 1919-1939". Archived from the original on 18 September 2023. Retrieved 18 September 2023.
  13. ^ "Modernist Kaunas: Architecture of Optimism, 1919-1939. Executive Summary". Archived from the original on 18 September 2023. Retrieved 18 September 2023.
  14. ^ "Modernist Kaunas: Architecture of Optimism, 1919-1939 (Nomination Dossier)" (PDF). Kaunas. 2021. Retrieved 18 September 2023.
  15. ^ "Tentative Lists". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 1 April 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
  16. ^ "Trakai Historical National Park". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 12 December 2006. Retrieved 15 December 2019.