Imagining the Grand Duchy of Lithuania: the politics and economics of the rebuilding of Trakai Castle and the ‘Palace of Sovereigns’ in Vilnius

Rindzeviciute, Egle (2010) Imagining the Grand Duchy of Lithuania: the politics and economics of the rebuilding of Trakai Castle and the ‘Palace of Sovereigns’ in Vilnius. Central Europe, 8(2), pp. 181-203. ISSN (print) 1479-0963

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Abstract

In 1884 the prominent nation-builder Jonas Basanavičius declared that castle mounds and literature were the only appropriate elements from which to build the Lithuanian nation. Basanavičius’s view, this article suggests, had a lasting infl uence on the public uses of history in twentieth-century Lithuania. The study explores the construction of two iconic images of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Trakai Castle and the ‘Palace of Sovereigns’ in Vilnius. Built in the fourteenth and fi fteenth centuries, Trakai Castle was once the seat of the Grand Duke of Lithuania, but fell into neglect before its reconstruction in the 1960s. Dating back to the thirteenth century, the Palace in Vilnius deteriorated during the eighteenth century, was dismantled at the beginning of the nineteenth, and has been completely rebuilt since 2000. It is striking that the reconstructions of castles were the largest state investments in culture in both the Soviet and post-Soviet regimes. The reconstruction of Trakai Castle was criticized on economic and ideological grounds by Nikita Khrushchev. The rebuilding of the Palace polarized Lithuanian intellectuals. The presentation compares the intellectual, social, and political rationales which underpinned the two projects and explores the changes and continuities in the uses of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania under the Soviet and post-Soviet regimes.

Item Type: Article
Research Area: Sociology
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Psychology, Criminology and Sociology (from November 2012)
Depositing User: Egle Rindzeviciute
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2015 08:55
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2015 08:55
URI: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/32470

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