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by Audrius Slapsinskas, 19 June 2003
The flag and coat of arms of Siauliai district was drawn according to pictures, which was taken from booklet: DISTRICT OF SIAULIAI AND ITS CONTEMPORARY HERALDRY [lal02].
Here is information from this book:
"Siauliai District is a peculiar territory of Northern Lithuania. The biggest part of it lies in the ancient lands of Siauliai (the Sun), the western part in the former lands of Knituva. The present territory of Siauliai District is 1819 km2. Its western part is populated by the western Samogitians (Varniai), the biggest part - by the western Highlanders (aukstaiciai, Siauliai). The number of the population is 51,200 (data of 2001). The Via Hanza (Ryga - Berlin) and Panevezys - Palanga highways, the railway lines Vilnius - Klaipeda, Vilnius - Mazeikiai, Vilnius - Ryga cross the territory.
Siauliai District was formed in 1950 and has undergone several territorial - administrative reforms: in 1962 Siauliai and Kursenai Districts were joined into one with the administrative centre in Siauliai, so the present territory of Siauliai District has been in existence for 40 years.
Since 1963 the rural districts of Bazilionai, Ginkunai, Gruzdziai, Kairiai, Kursenai, Kurtuvenai, Kuziai, Meskuiciai, Micaiciai, Pakape, Raudenai, Smilgiai and Sakyna were included into the territory.
Since 1995 the District Municipality Administration has been reorganised and the territory has been divided into 10 smaller administrative units (seniunijos): Kursenai town, Bubiai, Gruzdziai, Kursenai rural, Kuziai, Meskuiciai, Raudenai, Sakyna, and Siauliai rural. Since 2001 Ginkunai has come into existence. Later the rural unit of Siauliai was subdivided into 2.
Siauliai District Municipality was headed by K. Purvinskas (1965-1969), J. Leinartas (1965-1969), A. Norvilis (1969-1975), V. Budrikis (1975-1978), A. Morkunas (1978-1990). After the restoration of the Independence of Lithuania V.Krasauskas (1990-1994), R. Maciunas (1994-1995), B. Cekanauskas (1995), V. Girnius (1995-1996), A. Jonuska (1997-2000) acted as the heads of the Municipality. R. Jakutis, present Mayor of the District Council, has been elected on April 3,2000.
The Act on the Restoration of the State Independence has brought significant changes into the cultural and spiritual life of local people, new opportunities of free and democratic development have been created for the whole country and the District in particular. Values of the past, historical symbols have been revived. The State symbols - the national flag, the anthem, the historical coat of arms (the Vytis) have been legalised, the historical coats of arms of towns have been revived and many new ones have been created. Kursenai is the first town in the District to get its coat of arms (1994). Later ideas about the creation of the flags and coats of arms for the settlements and centres of the seniunijos were developed and the coats of arms for Sakyna, Kairiai, Gruzdziai, Meskuiciai, Bubiai, Raudenai, and Kuziai were created.
Siauliai District, which occupies a big territory around Siauliai City, never had any coat of arms. In 2001 the Lithuanian Heraldry Commission was addressed to create the coat of arms and the flag for the District. The symbols of the District were confirmed by the President of the Republic of Lithuania on February 19,2002.
The flag and the coat of arms are the heraldic symbols not only of the town as the centre of the rural district (seniunija) but of the rural district itself. New traditions for the use of the coats of arms are being created there by fostering recognition of the past and present, inspiring love for the country and the State and are becoming an inseparable part of the State, city, town and rural district festivals. Introduction of new heraldic traditions created the necessity for the remaining 3 rural districts of Kursenai, Siauliai and Ginkunai to have the coats of arms of their own. These heraldic symbols are going to be included into the present publication.
The initiators of this booklet were driven by the fact that the heraldry of the district and some rural districts has been confirmed by the President of the Republic of Lithuania. The local government and cultural institutions, whose workers organise State and district festivals, the Lithuanian public, especially teachers and students who are interested in the heraldry and history of their country and their locality are to benefit from this publication. We trust that this booklet will act as a stimulus striving to recognise the historical past of the country and the locality.
Siauliai District Coat of Arms
Siauliai gained its significance as a territorial-administrative centre in the II half of the 18th century. Up to that the time Raseiniai was the only court centre in Zemaitija (Samogitia).
In 1758 it was requested by the Raseiniai Seimas to found more courts as Zemaitija occupied a big territory with a great number of inhabitants. In 1764 Zemaitija was divided into two parts (Lat. repartitio) of Raseiniai and Telsiai and in 1775 the centre was moved from Telsiai to Siauliai. In 1790 there were 3 centres in Raseiniai, Siauliai and Telsiai. The 3 centres and their borders were legalised by the Reform Parliament or the 4 Year Parliament (1788-1792) and in 1793 by the Gardinas Seimas. The parts were renamed as pavietai, later (in the 19 th century) as counties. In 1775, when the centre was moved from Telsiai to Siauliai, the court seal depicted the mounted knight of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with the land court officer's coat below. Such a seal from 1788 shows the knight and Liudvikas Pilsudskis', officer's, coat of arms: an arrow spread wide at the bottom with a half-cross on the right. After the reform of 1790 the heraldry of Siauliai land was changed: the knight was replaced by the arms of the Duchy of Zemaitija with a bear as to stress the administrative dependence. Such seals are in several collections: Academy of Sciences Library, Department of Manuscripts, Archives of History of the State of Lithuania, Siauliai Pavietas Land Court.
The seal was redisigned in 1795, introducing the double-headed eagle of the Russian Empire in the upper and the knight in the lower part. Such a composition is found in the seals of 1797 and 1814. In this way the heraldry of Siauliai land of the 19 th century consists of 3 symbols: the double-headed eagle in the upper, and the knight and the bear in the lower part or the knight and the officer's coat.
Such a composition might have remained until the middle of the 19 th century.
In 1842 the province of Kaunas was founded with Siauliai as a part of it. On June 11,1843, a new emblem was given: a greyish (silver) obelisk (a copy of the Borodino monument commemorating the War of 1812) on a field of azure of two merging rivers.
The sketches of the coats of arms of the 6 counties presented for Teodoras Mirkovicius, Vilnius governor, included the one of Siauliai: the upper field of a shield divided per fess was charged with the new Kaunas province coat and the lower field with three shocks of yellowish wheat on a field of green intercrossed with a sickle.
This coat of arms was disapproved by the Vilnius governor who introduced only one shock of wheat, but on April 6, 1845 the Emperor Nicholas I confirmed the first version. The original is in the collection of the Russian State Archive in St Petersburg. It is worth mentioning that the new coat of arms was designed for Siauliai County and later became the coat of arms of Siauliai city.
In 1857 the Heraldry Department led by Bernhard Kohne was founded in the Russian Empire. New coats were created for the Lithuanian provinces, but the one for Siauliai province contained several mistakes. It was redesigned by B. Kohne, nevertheless, remained as a paper variant.
World War I and collapse of the Russian Empire brought independence for the Baltic States. In 1917 the obelisk in Kaunas was torn down by the Germans. After the formation of the Independent State of Lithuania the historical symbols were resurrected.
Speaking about the Siauliai coat of arms there exists the description of the mysterious coat from the 16th century with three symbols: the knight, the bear and three shocks of wheat.
In 1922 Juozas Tumas Vaizgantas in the magazine "Our Past" published the description of Siauliai County which was originally written by Mauricijus Griskevicius and translated from Polish by Davainis Silvestravicius. He wrote that Siauliai District was part of Upyte and had the symbol of its own: "a double white cross on a green hill on a field of azure".
The old heraldry of Siauliai land presents three symbols : the knight, the bear and three shocks of wheat.
Siauliai land belonged to the Duchy of Samogitia although it symbolically as Siauliai land paid taxes to Trakai land.
The design work of the coat of arms for Siauliai District included the wish of Siauliai District Municipality to depict as many as possible historical events: the Sun Battle of 1236, victory of the Samogitians over the Teutonic Order, the Hill of Crosses visited by Paul II in 1993, educational and cultural movement in the period of Press Ban.
However, it was impossible to include all those events in one coat of arms, so the choice was made to depict the bear, the war axe and the shield charged with small cross. The war axe and the figure of the bear taken over from the coat of arms of Samogitia symbolise the victory of the Samogitians over the Teutonic Order.
The shield with crosses is the symbol of the Hill of Crosses as well as the determination of the land to protect the values of Christianity. The silver colour of the bear represents the historical colour of the Samogitian war flag, the azure of the Trakai land flag. They remind the double administrative dependence of Siauliai land. The golden colour is a characteristic colour of nobility, the black - of education and science. The final design is made by Rolandas Rimkunas: the silver bear with a golden axe in his claws and a shield charged with golden and black crosses at his left shoulder on a field of azure. The tongue of the bear is red and his claws are golden.
In 2001 the Lithuanian Heraldry Commission was addressed to create the coat of arms and the flag for the District. The symbols of the District were confirmed by the President of the Republic of Lithuania on February 19, 2002."
Audrius Slapsinskas, 24 June 2003
Description of the flag of Siauliai district: The white cloth is charged with the coat of arms of Siauliai district. The coat of arms is surrounded by eleven eight-pointed stars, which represent eleven municipalities of Siauliai district. The relationship of the width of the flag to the length is 1:2. The relationship of the length of the flag to the length of staff is 1:1.7. The flag of Siauliai district was confirmed by the President of the Republic of Lithuania on February 19, 2002. Author - R. Rimkunas. Description of the flag based on decree of the municipality of Siauliai district (full text in Lithuanian: <www.siauliai-sav.lt>).
Audrius Slapsinskas, 24 November 2003
by Audrius Slapsinskas, 19 June 2003
Three rural areas - Ginkunai, Kursenai and Siauliai Rural Districts do not have their own coats of arms. These territories are breathly presented at DISTRICT OF SIAULIAI AND ITS CONTEMPORARY HERALDRY [lal02].
"Ginkunai - There are no historical sources about the period when Ginkunai is first mentioned as a settlement. However, in the book published by J. Puzinas in 1930 coins from Rome are mentioned among other findings. In later publications it is said that the settlement was inhabited in the first centuries A.D. while in the 14 th - 15 th centuries it traded with the East European countries. Presently Ginkunai is the centre of the rural district with the population of 3,500 in 6 villages (data of 2001). Ginkunai is located 3 km to the north west from Siauliai. The locality was named Ginkunai after Ginkunas, local nobleman (1673). The estate of Ginkunai was founded at the end of the 18th century and had several owners until 1801, when it became the ownership of count Platonas Zubovas and belonged to the Zubovai family until 1840. At the beginning of the 19th century there was a pub, a hospital, a blacksmith's shop, a sawmill, a dairy. In 1890 Sofija and Vladimiras Zubovai built a manor. A school was founded there. The Zubovai were concerned about the development of education and cultural life in the settlement and donated part of their income from the estate to those matters. In 1933 the primary school was named after Sofija ir Vladimiras Zubovai. The most advanced farming methods made the estate the model farm, the first in the district catle control association was formed, classes on agriculture and farming were run. Presently there is a primary school, a library, a post office, the centre of culture in Ginkunai.
Kursenai Rural District - The territory includes 98 villages with the population of 6,200. The biggest villages are Drasuciai, Micaiciai, Ringuvenai, Pakumulsiai, Varputenai. The Ketunai estate owner J. Poklevskis-Kozela built a wooden church in Micaiciai in 1808, which was reconstructed in 1857. Priest J. Tumas-Vaizgantas worked there in 1901-1902. In 1945 Jesus the Crucified church was closed but reopened in 1989. The Varputenai estate is first mentioned in the 16 th century. From 1778 it belonged to the Jelenskiai family. In 1787 Matas Jelenskis built a wooden church there. The estate was described on several occasious by English writer Herman Old in "Gyvenimo sokis" ("Dance of Life") in 1923, who was taken by the beauty of the park, by Motiejus Valancius. The territory is famous for its numerous legendary mounds and ancient burial sites, archeological findings from which date back to the 6th -15th centuries: Pusgudziai (Gaidpile) mound, Romuciai mound with Svajones (Dreams) hill, Silenai mound with a water mill and its machinery are preserved from 1923.
Siauliai Rural District - Siauliai Rural District with the population of 7,500 includes 64 villages. The biggest villages are Pakape, Aukstelke, Bridai, Voveriskes, Tolociai. The estate in Aukstelke is first mentioned in 1795. The church was built in 1885, burned down during WWI, restored in 1932 and reconstructed in 1967. The name Aukstelke is associated with the pagan mound Aukstoji alka (Higher site of worship) crossed by the rivulet Sventupis. Numerous legends and stories exist about the past of the territory stones - of the road called Ruze were so big that they were called the devil's stones. The church in Pakape boasts of the wooden sculptures of the Crucified, St. Barbara and a brass bell from the 19th century. Normanciai mound close to Pakape was called Bauske (Punishment) as serfes used to be punished there. Kebliai, Sapnagiai, Pakape ancient burial sites are rich in various archeologic findings."
Audrius Slapsinskas, 24 June 2003