This unit was developed by Mindaugas Šapoka   Bibliography   Didactic Comments

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Didactic Commentary: Vilnius 16th Century - City Planning and City Development

The purpose of the work with maps is to reveal the fact that Vilnius was a capital of the largest country of Europe. So we can explain the prosperity of the city. Moreover, working with the cartographical material, the users will get acquainted not only with the political geography of that time, but also with the old maps, the geographical vision of the past centuries in cartography. The great quality bounce in the first part of 16 c. can be specifically understood by cartographic representation of Europe and world. It could be connected with the greatest geographical discoveries. It is recommended for a teacher/lecturer during the contact hours to show with the projector not all the maps on the screen, but only a couple of them. A big part of the cartographical material is recommended to explore by oneself, and later, for example, during the next session, to discuss collectively.  

As the practice of material use has shown, a big interest was generated by the “Carta Marina” of a bear pictured in the territory of Lithuania in the right bottom corner. See:  

It would be possible to explain a picture, where a bear climbing up a tree for honey is shown. A pendent stick with sharp spikes tied to a branch by people, was troubling the bear, it pushed the stick, but it swinging on a rope, still grazed. The bear was losing its poise and could even fall down from the tree, in this way it was possible to catch it.

While discussing the issue, connected with the ruler of Lithuania, Alexander, the Great Duke of Lithuania in 1492-1506, it needs to pay attention that the rulers of Lithuania had been elected, it this case it happened in the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius. The election of rulers in Lithuania and Poland made reason for formation of a special form of rule – the noblemen republic. Here we could point that in the end of 15 c. – the beginning of 16 c. the process of turning of the military monarchy of Lithuania into the noblemen estate republic finished.



Keywords: Eastern Europe, Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Vilnius, Jagiellonian dynasty, Christianity, Catholics, Ruthenians, Jews, Tatars.