LITVANIJA – LITHUANIA – LIETUVA

Crkva Svete Ane u Vilnjusu-St. Anne's Church, Vilnius

Crkva Svete Ane u Vilnjusu-St. Anne’s Church, Vilnius

Crkva Svetog Nikole u glavnom gradu-St. Nicholas Church in the capital - Copy

Crkva Svetog Nikole u glavnom gradu-St. Nicholas Church in the capital – Copy

Crkva Svetog Petra i Pavla u Vilnjusu-St. Peter and St. Paul's Church, Vilnius - Copy

Crkva Svetog Petra i Pavla u Vilnjusu-St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church, Vilnius – Copy

Crkva Svetog Stanislava i Vladislava-Vilnius Cathedral

Crkva Svetog Stanislava i Vladislava-Vilnius Cathedral

Gradska skupstina Kaunasa-Kaunas City Hall

Gradska skupstina Kaunasa-Kaunas City Hall

Muzej KGB-a-The KGB Museum

Muzej KGB-a-The KGB Museum

Reka Neris pod ledom i ruska pravoslavna crkva-The frozen Neris River and the Russian Orthodox Church Znamenskaya

Reka Neris pod ledom i ruska pravoslavna crkva-The frozen Neris River and the Russian Orthodox Church Znamenskaya

Stara drvena kuca u gradu-An old wooden house in the city

Stara drvena kuca u gradu-An old wooden house in the city

Tradicionalna drvena kuca u mestu Trakai-A traditional wooden house in Trakai

Tradicionalna drvena kuca u mestu Trakai-A traditional wooden house in Trakai

Trakai-dvorac na ostrvu-Trakai Island Castle

Trakai-dvorac na ostrvu-Trakai Island Castle

Zaledjena reka i pravoslavna crkva-A frozen river and the Cathedral of the Theotokos

Zaledjena reka i pravoslavna crkva-A frozen river and the Cathedral of the Theotokos

Brdo krstova-The Hill of Crosses

Brdo krstova-The Hill of Crosses

Neverovatan mi je podatak da se ova mala pribaltička zemlja nekada protezala
sve do Crnog mora, kada su u njenom sastavu bile teritorije današnje
Poljske, Belorusije i Ukrajine. Bilo je to u XIV veku, kada je Litvanija
bila najveća država u Evropi, za vreme vladavine velikog vojvode Algiradasa.

Danas je to jedna od najmanjih zemalja, bez perspektive da bude veća u
dogledno vreme. Litvancima to naizgled ne smeta. Njima je bilo najbitnije da
se oslobode Rusa, mada je ruski jezik i dalje najvažnije sredstvo
komunikacije, bar dok ne nauče engleski. Sve do XIV veka bila je to
poslednja paganska zemlja. Tada je među poslednjim primila hrišćanstvo i
krenula evropskim tokovima. Stalna ruska okupacija od XVIII veka izazivala
je tako dubok otpor prema njima, tako da su i Nemci bili dobrodošli u Drugom
svetskom ratu, sve dok nisu prognali i pobili skoro dve stotine hiljada
Jevreja. Tako je Viljnus, glavni grad, izgubio atribut litvanskog
Jerusalima. U novijoj istoriji baltičkih zemalja najvažniji trenutak je bio
oslobađanje od Rusa krajem osamdesetih godina XX veka.  Tada je obrazovan
ljudski lanac od dva miliona ljudi, u dužini od šest stotina kilometara od
Viljnusa, preko Letonije, sve do Talina, glavnog grada Estonije, lanac koji
je simbolično pokazao njihovo odvajanje od Sovjetskog Saveza.
Viljnus ima i jedinstveni KGB muzej, na čijim su zidovima urezana imena
žrtava. Toliko je hladno, da se smrzavam i od same pomisli na to kako su se
osećale žrtve sovjetskog režima: nestali, streljani i deportovani u Sibir.
Preko puta je prazan prostor, sa koga je uklonjen spomenik velikom Lenjinu,
koga Litvanci ne žele ni da se sete.
Ponovnim ulaskom u Evropu, Viljnus je obnovio svoje sakralne institucije
koje sada deluju impresivno: katedrala – bazilika Svetog Stanislava i
Vladislava, crkva Svetog Petra i Pavla, koju je papa posetio, najstarija
crkva Svete Ane iz XV veka, koju posmatram sa mostića preko brze i
poluzaleđene reke u starom gradu. Tu su i ruske pravoslavne crkve, koje
podsećaju na njihovo vekovno prisustvo u Litvaniji, iako ih sada ima veoma
malo.
Mestašce udaljeno oko trideset kilometara od grada, koje se naziva Trakai,
predstavlja pravi stari arhitektonski biser ove zemlje. Za vreme Velikog
vojvodstva, u XIV i XV veku, to je bio glavni grad, a sada su u njemu ostale
tradicionalne drvene kuće u malim ulicama, u čijoj se blizini nalazi pet
jezera koja se ovde spajaju. Na jednom od njih je ostrvo, na kome je veliki
vojvoda izgradio zamak kao zaštitu od krstaša i ostalih osvajača u XIV veku.
To je danas mesto koje se sigurno najčešće fotografiše i predstavlja
zaštitni znak na svim monografijama i suvenirima koji vizuelno oslikavaju
identitet zemlje.
Litvanija je, posle duge i teške istorije, verovatno pronašla svoje mesto na
Baltiku i u ujedinjenoj Evropi. Tu će skoro sigurno i ostati, jer joj je put
ka Crnom moru nemoguć, bar u nekoliko sledećih vekova dok možda ne ojača i
osmeli se u očekivanju nekog novog velikog vojvode.
Ili će on ostati samo romantični san.

Decembar 2010.
___________________________________________________________

I find it hard to believe that in the past this small Baltic country
extended all the way to the Black Sea and it included the territories of
today’s Poland, Belarus and Ukraine. That was in the 14th century when
Lithuania was the biggest country in Europe, under the rule of the Grand
Duke of Algiradas.
Today it is one of the smaller countries without any possibility of getting
bigger in the foreseeable future. Apparently, Lithuanians do not mind that.
The most important thing for them was to get rid of the Russians, even
though the Russian language is still the main means of communication, at
least until they learn English. This was the last Pagan country in Europe,
until the end of the 14th century. Then, amongst the last it accepted
Christianity and joined the modern European times.
Since the 18th century they have constantly been occupied by the Russians
and consequently grew to dislike them so much that even the Germans were
welcome in the Second World War, until they killed and exiled almost 200,000
Jews. That is how Vilnius, the capital, lost its status of the ‘Lithuanian
Jerusalem’.
In the more recent history of the Baltic states the most important moment
was the liberation from the Russians at the end of the 1980s. Then, two
million people got together to form a human chain, 600 kilometres long, that
extended from Vilnius, across Latvia, all the way to Tallinn, Estonia’s
capital, a chain that was a symbol of their separation from the Soviet
Union.
Vilnius has a unique KGB museum with victims’ names carved into the walls.
It is so cold that I literally freeze at the thought of how the victims of
the Soviet regime must have felt: abducted, shot or deported to Siberia.
Across the road is a big empty space from where a monument of the great
leader Lenin was removed – Lithuanians do not want to be reminded of him
ever.
Having become part of Europe again, Vilnius has restored its places of
worship to their former glory. They all look impressive: the Cathedral –
Basilica of St. Stanislaus and St. Vladislaus, the Church of St. Peter and
St. Paul which was visited by the Pope, and the oldest of all, Church of St.
Anne from the 15th centrury, which I observe from a bridge above a rapid
river, half covered in ice, in the old town. Russian Orthodox churches are
to be seen here too, reminders of the Russian presence in Lithuania for
centuries, even though not many Russians live here nowadays.
A small town about 30 kilometres away from the capital, callled Trakai, is a
true gem of old architectural beauty. This used to be the capital city
during the time of the Great Dukedom in the 14th and 15th century, while
today only traditional wooden houses remain in narrow streets. The
surroundings include five lakes that create a confluence at Trakai, and in
one of the lakes there is an island where the Grand Duke built a castle in
the 15th century, as a protection against crusaders and other invaders.
Today this is for sure the most photographed place and it appears as the
country’s trademark in all the brochures and on handicraft depiciting
Lithuania’s visual identity.
After a long painful history Lithuania has found its place again in the
Baltics as well as in the united Europe. That’s where it will remain because
a passage to the Black Sea is out of its reach, at least in the coming
cenuturies until it gets stronger and gets bolder while awaiting the arrival
of a new Grand Duke.
Or, it will all remain just a romantic dream.

December 2010

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