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Kaunas City (Kaunas, Lithuania)

Last modified: 2020-03-20 by rob raeside
Keywords: lithuania | kaunas |
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image by Rob Raeside, 15 May 2001

image by Rob Raeside, 15 May 2001



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Overview

Kaunas city flag (both sides) is based on images at www.kaunas.lt.
Virginijus Misiunas, 15 May 2001

Kaunas (interbellum capital): City flag seen on the old Town Hall.  The narrow top and bottom stripes were bright yellow, in fact the same colour as the cross on top of the bull's head. 
Jan Mertens, 15 August 2003

Description of the flag of Kaunas city: The flag of Kaunas city, designed by A. Lapienis, was adopted on April 19, 1999. There is two type of Kaunas flag: representative, which is kept in the office of Kaunas mayor and ordinary, which is used in holidays, celebrations, hoisted by Municipality, City Hall etc.
Representative flag (dimension is 120x144 cm) consist of three horizontal bands – golden, red, and golden. Front of the flag is charged with silver wild ox. Back of the flag is charged with silver symbols of Saint Nicolas, patron of the city: bishop’s mitre, letter M, and three spheres. There is an inscription "Mylekime teisuma" (Love justice) on both sides of symbols. The cloth has golden-red cord edging on three sides. The spear-head imprinted with the bronze head of wild ox with cross and tied with golden-red cord.
Ordinary flag (dimension is 102x155) consist of three horizontal bands – golden, red, and golden. Both sides of the flag are charged with wild ox. Using of the flag is not regulated. The ordinary flag is used to popularize the city and its symbols among the visitors and the citizens of Kaunas. Description of the flag based on text in Lithuanian from the official site of Kaunas municipality (www.kaunas.lt).
Anon., 24 November 2003

More details on the history of the city are available on the municipal website www.kaunas.lt. Kaunas is today the second largest city in Lithuania, with 381,000 inhabitants (2001 census). The area of the municipality is 15,700 ha. The old city of Kaunas was built on the confluence of the rivers Niemen and Neris. Ir was mentioned for the first time in annals dated 1361. In the XIIIth century, a brick castle was built to protect the city from the Teutonic Knights and the city was fortified. In 1408, great duke Vytautas granted the city municipal rights. Kaunas became a wealthy trade center and river port, which traded with the cities of western Europe. In 1444, the merchants of the Hanseatic League opened a counter in Kaunas, which was active until 1532. During the XVIth century, the first school, hospital and pharmacy were built in Kaunas. At the end of the XVIth century, Kaunas was the best organized city in the Great Duchy of Lithuania. Unfortunately, the city suffered from several disasters during the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries: the Russians attacked the city in 1665; in 1701, the Swedes trashed Lithuania during the war against Russia; the black plague devastated the city in 1657 and 1708; blazes trashed the city in 1731 and 1732. At the end of the XVIIIth century, business picked up again in Kaunas, but was stopped by the Franco-Russian war in 1812. Napoleon's army trashed the city two times. The quick and efficient crossing of the Niemen is one of the most famous episodes of the Napoleonic epic. The Oginski canal, linking the rivers Niemen and Dnieper, was built at the end of the XIXth century. The railway linking Germany and Russia was built in 1862, with a station in Kaunas. The first power plant was built in Kaunas in 1898, which triggered the industrialization of the city. However, the building of new fortifications around the city, from 1882 to 1915, dramatically slowed down the economic development of Kaunas. During the First World War, Kaunas was successively occupied by the Lithuanian Communists, the Poles and the Germans. In 1919, the Russians occupied Vilnius and the State Council, the Council of Ministers and the other authorities of the young Lithuanian state moved to Kaunas. In 1920, the Poles violated the Suvalkai agreement and occupied Vilnius. Kaunas was proclaimed the provisory capital city of the Republic of Lithuania, being then the most important city of the country. In 1920, the Constitutive Parliament proclaimed the independence of Lithuania in Kaunas. during the independence period, Kaunas developed: industry thrived, most boroughs of the city were rebuilt; the first bus lines were opened in 1924 and water conveyance was set up in 1928. This golden age ended with the invasion and occupation of Lithuania by Soviet Union in 1940. After the Second World War, the capital city of Lithuania was transferred to Vilnius. The city, completely trashed during the war, was rebuilt according to the Soviet rules. Most signs of the Lithuanian identity were suppressed. In 1972, Romas Kalantas immolated himself in the public garden located near the National Theater of Music of Kaunas in order to protest against the Soviet occupation. The independence movement really started in 1988. Ancient buildings were progressively rebuilt and the ancient names of the streets were reestablished. The Soviet Army attempted to suppress the independence movement in 1991 but eventually leave the country.
The municipal website shows the municipal flag on www.kaunas.lt/miestas/veliava/veliava.shtml as well as the evolution of the municipal coat of arms on www.kaunas.lt/miestas/herbas/herbas.shtml. Unfortunately, the text on the latter page is in Lithuanian only and I have not been able to understand the details on the history of the coat of arms.
The Current Coat of Arms of Kaunas was designed in 1993 by R. Miknevisius, after medieval seals of the city. The coat of arms is red with a white oxen bearing a yellow cross between the horns.
The former 1969 Coat of Arms of Kaunas was designed in 1969 by V. Banio. It is red with a white oxen standing on a green terrace. The oxen looks much more mighty than in the current version, more or less like an European bison. It does not bear the cross, which seems logical since Kaunas was then under Soviet rule.
The former former coat of arms of Jaunas was designed in 1935 by J. Burbos. It is more or less similar to the 1969 coat of arms, the main difference being the terrace, yellow instead of green, and the oxen
bearing the cross.
Ivan Sache, 29 May 2004


Coat of Arms

Current Coat of Arms

image by Ivan Sache, 29 May 2004

1969 Coat of Arms

image by Ivan Sache, 29 May 2004

1935 Coat of Arms

image by Ivan Sache, 29 May 2004


 
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