name = Šiauliai
nickname = Saulės miestas "(The Sun City)"
settlement_type = City municipality
map_caption = Location of Šiauliai
image_shield = Siauliai city COA.gif
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = LTU
subdivision_name3=Šiauliai city municipality
Šiauliai city municipality
Šiauliai district municipality
established_date = 1236
established_title2=Granted city rights
population_total = 128,396
population_as_of = 2007
area_total_km2 = 81
Šiauliai (pronunciation|Siauliai.ogg, IPAEng|ʃoʊˈleı, Samogitian: "Šiaulē", Latvian: "Saule" (historic) and "Šauļi" (modern), German: "Schaulen", _pl. Szawle, Russian: Шавли (historic) and Шяуля́й (modern)) is the fourth largest
cityin Lithuania, with a population of 129,075. It is the capital of Šiauliai County. Unofficially, the city is the capital of Northern Lithuania. It is served by Siauliai International Airport.
The city was first mentioned in written sources as "Soule" in
Livonian Orderchronicles describing the battle of the Sun. Thus the city's founding date is now considered to be September 22, 1236, the same date when the battle took place, not far from Šiauliai. At first developed as a defense post against the raids by the Teutonic and Livonian Orders. After the battle of Grunwaldin 1410, the raids stopped and Šiauliai started to develop as an agricultural settlement. In 1445, a wooden church was built. It was replaced in 1634 with the brick church which can be seen in the city center today.
Šiauliai was granted Magdeburg city rights in 1589. In the 16th century it became an administrative center of the area. However, in the 17th and 18th centuries the city was devastated by The Deluge and epidemics of the
The credit for the city's rebirth goes to
Antoni Tyzenhaus(1733–1785) who after a violent revolt of peasants of the Crown properties in the Northern Lithuania (so-called in Polish: Powstanie Szawelskie, 1769), started the radical economic and urban reforms. He decided to rebuilt the city according to the Classicismideas: at first houses were built randomly in a radial shape, but Tyzenhaus decided to build the city in an orderly rectangular. Šiauliai grew to become a well-developed city, with several prominent brick buildings. In 1791 Stanisław August Poniatowski, king of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, confirmed once again that Šiauliai's city rights and granted it the coat of arm. It depicted a bear, the symbol of Samogitia, the Eye of Providence, and a red bull, the symbol of Poniatowski family. The modern coat of arms was modeled after this version.
Partitions of Poland, Šiauliai got a new coat of arms. The city grew and became an important educational and cultural center. Also, infrastructure was rapidly developing: in 1836–1858 a road connecting Rigaand Tilsitwas built, in 1871 a railroad connecting Liepājawith Romnywas built. Šiauliai, being in a crossroad of important merchant routes, started to develop as an industrial town. Already in 1897 it was the third largest city in Lithuania with population of about 16,000. The demographics changed also: 56.4% of the inhabitants were Jewishin 1909. Šiauliai was known for its leather industry. Chaim Frenkel owned the biggest leather factory in the Russian Empire.
World War I, about 65% of the buildings were burned down and the city center was destroyed. After the war and re-establishment of Lithuania, the importance of Šiauliai grew. Before Klaipėdawas attached to Lithuania, the city was second after Kaunas by population size. By 1929 the city center was rebuilt. Modern utilities were also included: streets were lighted, it had public transportation, telephone and telegraph lines, water supply networkand sewer.
The first independence years were difficult because industrial city lost its markets in Russia. It needed to find new clients in the Western Europe. In 1932 a railroad to Klaipėda was built and it connected the city to the western markets. In 1938 the city produced about 85% of Lithuania's leather, 60% of footwear, 75% of
flaxfiber, 35% of candies. Culture also flourished as many new periodicals were printed, new schools and universities opened, a library, theater, museum, and normal schoolwere opened.
In 1939, one quarter of the city's population was Jewish ( [http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/shavli/shavli2.html#Prologue source] ). German Nazis entered Šiauliai on
June 26, 1941. According to one of the Jewish survivors of Siauliai, Nesse Godin, some 1000 people were shot in nearby woods during the first weeks of occupation after having been forced to dig their own graves. There were two ghettoareas in Siauliai, one in the Kaukas suburb, and one in Traku (see Šiauliai ghettos). During World War II, the Jewish population was reduced from 8,000 to 500. About 80% of the buildings were destroyed.
Šiauliai city municipality council is the governing body of the Šiauliai city municipality. It is responsible for municipality laws. The council is composed of 31 member elected for four-year terms.
The council is the member of the
Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania.
*1995, 1997 – Alfredas Lankauskas
*2002, 2003 –
Perhaps one of Šiauliai's biggest tourist attractions is its famous
Hill of Crosses.
There is an arch at the intersection of Vilniaus Str. and Vasario 16-osios str. Legend tells that if one thinks of a wish and passes under the arch, the wish will come true. But, if one forgets about it and walks back under the arch, the wish will vanish into thin air.
Zubov's Palace, located at Ausros Alley 50, was constructed in the 17th century. The exterior has remained unchanged since 1875. Today the palace houses the Faculty of Arts of Šiauliai University.
Regimantas Adomaitis, movie and stage actor, born here
André Andrejew, a classic Russian and French movie art director, born here
Šarūnas Bartas, film director, born here
Wojciech Buyko, Polish classic photographer, born here in 1882 (†1942?)
Virgilijus Noreika, opera singer, born here
Yosef Shalom Eliashiv( Eliashiv zt"l (Leshem), a native of this city
Jacob Gens, self proclaimed Vilnius Ghetto police commander under the Nezi occupation (1941-1943), born here (1903)
Nesse Godin, Shoah survivor and Shoah awareness advocate in the United States.* Chmouel (Samuel) Kessel, father of Joseph Kessel, French writer, was born here
Robertas Javtokas, professional basketball player
Igor Kisiel, scientist, professor at the Technical University of Wroclaw, born in Illovieciai near Šiauliai
Albrycht Stanisław Radziwiłł, magnate, noble, a duke and a politician. He held the post of Starosta(city foreman) of this city.
Jan Sawicki-Stella, colonel in the Russian army who during the insurrection against Russia in 1863, went to fight on the Polish-Lithuanian side, born here
Meyer Schapiro, art historian, born here
Antanas Sireika, born near Šiauliai was a coach for a hometown basketball team for many seasons.
Wiktoryn Witkiewicz, father of the legendary Russian envoy to Afghanistan Jan Prosper Witkiewicz, has been the Vice-Marshall of Šiauliai in Kingdom of Poland
Mindaugas Žukauskas, professional basketball player
Andrius Spokas, artistborn here
* [http://www.lithuania.iwannaforum.com Lithuania's Forum] - Official Forum
* [http://www.siauliai.lt/siauliai/informacija/index.php?lang=en Official website]
* [http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/shavli/shavli1.html The Pre-Holocaust Jewish Community of Siauliai]
* [http://www.randburg.com/li/siauliaici.html www.randburg.com] — Siauliai City
* [http://www.world66.com/europe/lithuania/siauliai Šiauliai Travel Guide]
* [http://andrius.fotopic.net/c215964.html Photos of Siauliai]
* [http://www.siauliai.lt/tic/tourism/ Šiauliai Tourism Information Centre]
* [http://www.airport.siauliai.lt/ Šiauliai International Airport]
* [http://www.smsvb.lt/aindex.htm Šiauliai City Municipality Public Library]
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