True Lithuania

Religious and mythological figures

Lithuania being a Christian country many streets are named after Saints. Lithuanian abbreviation “Šv.” indicates a saint on the street names. Religious figures, primarily Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary, are also well represented in folk art and roadside chapels. Rūpintojėlis traditional wooden sculpture of a sad/contemplating Jesus is a popular theme.

The only local Lithuanian saint is St. Casimir (Lithuanian: Kazimieras) but St. George is also considered a patron saint. Interwar bishop of Vilnius Jurgis Matulaitis has been beatified.

Gods and goddesses of the pagan pantheon are not forgotten in the street names either, including Žemyna, Gabija, Medeina and, of course, Perkūnas.

Among the mythological figures the fisherman Kastytis and sea princess Jūratė (two doomed lovers) are the most popular.

A howling Iron wolf, the subject of a legendary grand duke Gediminas's dream interpreted by pagan priest Lizdeika as an instruction to establish Vilnius city, is an another well-known myth "character", used as a symbol of Vilnius and Lithuania on many occasions.

Iron Wolf statue on top of Vilnius train station. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

Many other myths deal with supposed creation of various geographic features and are based on folk etymology (e.g. lake Plateliai created after a local old woman commented "Kāp platē lėij", which means "How much it rains" in the local Samogitian dialect and caused entire cloud to fall down and turn into a lake). Most of these are well known only in their subject locations where there may be street names and sculptures dedicated to them.

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