—  City municipality  —
Cathedral of Šiauliai


Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Saulės miestas (The Sun City)

Šiauliai is located in Lithuania
Location of Šiauliai
Coordinates: 55°56′N 23°19′E / 55.933, 23.317Coordinates: 55°56′N 23°19′E / 55.933, 23.317
Country  Lithuania
Ethnographic region Samogitia
County Šiauliai County
Municipality Šiauliai city municipality
Capital of Šiauliai County
Šiauliai city municipality
Šiauliai district municipality
First mentioned 1236
Granted city rights 1589
Elderships Medelynas eldership, Rėkyva eldership
 • Total 81 km2 (31 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 • Total 128,396
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+2)

Šiauliai (About this sound Lithuanian ), is the fourth largest city in Lithuania, with a population of 129,075. It is the capital of Šiauliai County. Unofficially, the city is the capital of Northern Lithuania.


Šiauliai is referred to by a various names in different languages: Samogitian: Šiaulē, Latvian Saule (historic) and Šauļi (modern), German: Schaulen, Polish: Szawle, Russian: Шавли (Shavli - historic) and Шяуля́й (Shaulyai - modern), Yiddish: שאַװל (Shavel).


The city was first mentioned in written sources as Soule in Livonian Order chronicles describing the battle of Saule. Thus the city's founding date is now considered to be September 22, 1236, the same date when the battle took place, not far from Šiauliai. At first it developed as a defense post against the raids by the Teutonic and Livonian Orders. After the battle of Grunwald in 1410, the raids stopped and Šiauliai started to develop as an agricultural settlement. In 1445, a wooden church was built. It was replaced in 1634 with the brick church which can be seen in the city center today.

Šiauliai Cathedral standing in the place of the wooden church built in 1445

Šiauliai was granted Magdeburg city rights in 1589. In the 16th century it became an administrative center of the area. However, in the 17th and 18th centuries the city was devastated by The Deluge and epidemics of the Bubonic plague.

Vilnius street pedestrian boulevard

Pedestrian boulevard at night

Hill of Crosses

Šiauliai church in 19th century

Šiauliai after the First World War

The credit for the city's rebirth goes to Antoni Tyzenhaus (1733–1785) who after a violent revolt of peasants of the Crown properties in the Northern Lithuania (so-called in Polish: Powstanie Szawelskie, 1769), started the radical economic and urban reforms. He decided to rebuilt the city according to the Classicism ideas: at first houses were built randomly in a radial shape, but Tyzenhaus decided to build the city in an orderly rectangular grid. Šiauliai grew to become a well-developed city, with several prominent brick buildings. In 1791 Stanisław August Poniatowski, king of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, confirmed once again that Šiauliai's city rights and granted it a coat of arms which depicted a bear, the symbol of Samogitia, the Eye of Providence, and a red bull, the symbol of the Poniatowski family. The modern coat of arms has been modeled after this version.

After the Partitions of Poland, Šiauliai got a new coat of arms. The city grew and became an important educational and cultural center. Also, infrastructure was rapidly developing: in 1836–1858 a road connecting Riga and Tilsit was built, in 1871 a railroad connecting Liepāja with Romny was built. Šiauliai, being in a crossroad of important merchant routes, started to develop as an industrial town. Already in 1897 it was the third largest city in Lithuania with population of about 16,000. The demographics changed also: 56.4% of the inhabitants were Jewish in 1909. Šiauliai was known for its leather industry. Chaim Frenkel owned the biggest leather factory in the Russian Empire.

During World War I, about 65% of the buildings were burned down and the city center was destroyed. After the war and re-establishment of Lithuania, the importance of Šiauliai grew. Before Klaipėda was attached to Lithuania, the city was second after Kaunas by population size. By 1929 the city center was rebuilt. Modern utilities were also included: streets were lighted, it had public transportation, telephone and telegraph lines, water supply network and sewer.

The first independence years were difficult because industrial city lost its markets in Russia. It needed to find new clients in the Western Europe. In 1932 a railroad to Klaipėda was built and it connected the city to the western markets. In 1938 the city produced about 85% of Lithuania's leather, 60% of footwear, 75% of flax fiber, 35% of candies. Culture also flourished as many new periodicals were printed, new schools and universities opened, a library, theater, museum, and normal school were opened.

In 1939, one quarter of the city's population was Jewish.[1] German soldiers entered Šiauliai on June 26, 1941. According to one of the Jewish survivors of Siauliai, Nesse Godin, some 1000 people were shot in nearby woods during the first weeks of occupation after having been forced to dig their own graves. There were two ghetto areas in Šiauliai, one in the Kaukas suburb, and one in Trakų. During World War II, the Jewish population was reduced from 8,000 to 500. About 80% of the buildings were destroyed.

The city was largely rebuilt anew in a typical Soviet fashion during the years of subsequent Soviet occupation.


  • 1990–1991 – Kazimieras Šavinis
  • 1991–1995 – Arvydas Salda
  • 1995 - 1997 – Alfredas Lankauskas
  • 2000 – Vida Stasiūnaitė
  • 2002-2003 – Vaclovas Volkovas
  • 2003–2007 – Vytautas Juškus
  • 2007–present – Genadijus Mikšys


Šiauliai Žemaičių located in eastern part of the northern plateau, Mūša, Dubysa and Venta River divide. Distance of 210 km to Vilnius, Kaunas - 142 km, Klaipeda - 161 km, Riga - 128 km, Kaliningrad - 250 km. The total city area 81.13 square km, from the green areas 18.87 square km, water - 12.78 km ². Urban land outside perimeter of the administrative 70,317 km.

Altitude: Rėkyvos the lake water level - 129.8 m (425.85 ft) above sea level, Talsos lake level - 103.0 m (337.93 ft) in the city center - 128.4 m (421.26 ft), Salduvės Hill - 149.7 m (491.14 ft) above sea level.


The total water area - 1,280 ha, 15.7% in urban areas.

  • Šiauliai Lakes
    • Rėkyva Lake, 1179ha
    • Talša lake, 56,2ha
    • Ginkūnai Lake, 16,6ha
  • River
    • Kulpė
    • Rūdė
    • Vijolė
    • Švedė
    • Šimša
    • Tilžė
    • Šventupis


The average temperature in January; −7 °C (19 °F) in July; +18 °C (64 °F). The amount of precipitation in a year - 538.5 mm.

In 1942, the city recorded the lowest Lithuania year mean temperature (+3.6 °C).


Golden boy, Šiauliai

Iron Fox, Šiauliai


  • Šiauliai Drama Theater
  • Amfitheatre


  • Aušros alėjos Palace
  • Ch. Frenkel vila
  • Bicycle Museum
  • Museum of Photography
  • Jovaro the poet's memorial house
  • Radio and TV Museum
  • Venclauskių Palace
  • Railway Museum
  • Cat's Museum
  • Police Museum
  • Fire Safety Museum
  • Water Museum
  • Fire truck museum
  • Šiaulių Sports Museum

Leisure, Entertainment[]

  • Cinemas
    • Saulė
    • Laikas
    • Atlantis Cinemas (Tilžė)
    • Forum Cinemas (Akropolis)
  • Shopping centers
    • Akropolis, opened March 2009
    • Saulės miestas, opened March 2007
    • Bruklinas, opened November 2007
    • Tilžė, opened February 2008
    • Arena, opened November 2007


In 1795 Šiauliai were 3 700 people, but already in 1897 Šiauliai population (16 128 population) was the second provincial city of Kaunas. In 1909 56.4% of the population was Jewish. In 1923 Šiauliai population was in third place in Kaunas and Klaipėda. Under the occupied territory of the area (24 km ²) remained fourth in the city of Kaunas, Klaipėda and Panevėžys.


Šiauliai central square

In 22 December 2005, Šiauliai City Council set some strategic directions and objectives for economic growth until 2015. Šiauliai vision: "Šiauliai - Sun City: the open, pushing and safe."

Starting from the 19th century Šiauliai become an industrial center. During the Russian Empire period, the city had the largest skin factory in the whole empire, owned by Chaim Frenkel. Šiauliai contributed to around 85% of all skin production in Lithuania, 60% of footwear industry, 75% of flax fiber industry, and 35% sweets industry.

During the Soviet years, the city produced electronics, mechanical engineering, wood processing, construction industry. Most of the industrial enterprises were concentrated in urban areas.

According to 2005 data, the city have:

  • Manufacturing and service companies - 3195
  • Commercial enterprises - 781
  • Shopping centers - 30


The first steam machine is equipped with 1867, Governorate beer brewery. In 1900 Šiauliai Chaim Frenkel skins factory is equipped with 50 kW Dynamo machine, which was used to produce electricity the factory premises, and to illuminate the area and suko of 16 and 12 horsepower power. Šiauliai average annual per capita is 2,170 kWh of electricity (in Lithuania - 3264 kWh in Europe - 6482 kWh).

Šiauliai city municipality council is the governing body of the Šiauliai city municipality. It is responsible for municipality laws. The council is composed of 31 member elected for four-year terms.


  • 1851 Boys Gymnasium (now Julius Janonis gymnasium) was opened
  • 1898 Girls Gymnasium (now Didždvaris gymnasum) was opened
  • 1920 Jewish Gymnasium was opened
  • 1920 Šiauliai Teachers seminary was founded
  • 1928 Primary education became compulsory
  • 1930 Vincas Kudirka primary school was opened
  • 1939 The Institute of trade was moved from Klaipėda, it was the first Higher Education school in Šiauliai
  • 1948 Šiauliai Teachers Institute was founded, in 1954 it became Pedagogical Institute, and since 1996, when the Šiauliai faculty of Kaunas Polytechnic Institute was connected, it is Šiauliai University.

Students in city (in 2006):

  • In Šiauliai University - 10 440
  • In Šiauliai College - 2770
  • In North Lithuania College - 350
  • In Šiauliai region College of Management and Languages - 517
  • In Šiauliai Conservatory - 149
  • In Šiauliai Vocational Training Center - 2663

There are 8 gymnasiums, 7 high schools, 16 secondary schools, 7 primary schools, 9 children non-formal education schools, 29 kindergartens. 21 000 students studied in general education schools in 2006.



The city park to the creation of Anton Tyzenhaus essentially graduated Vladimir Zubov. The 19th century Park was the middle of regular rectangular shape, and age at the end was close to the English style of the free layouts. Citizens for a small fee was allowed to walk in the park. In 1931, Park and Alley chestnut was officially donated to the Šiauliai city municipality.

Šiauliai has 16 parks, covering an area of 1177 hectares. Didždvario, province and Rėkyvos parks add to the cultural values of the registry.



Šiauliai has always been a major intersection. The famous Saulės battle took place near a trade route from Riga to Bubiai and Tauragė.In 1836-1858 Riga-Sovetsk highway was built near it.

About 1912 first cars appeared on city's streets.

Highways passing through Šiauliai :

  • A9 / E272 Šiauliai - Panevėžys (79 km)
  • A11 / E272 Šiauliai - Palanga (147 km)
  • A12 / E77 Riga - Šiauliai - Sovetsk (186 km).
  • City has is western bypass A18.

In 2006 Šiauliai had 297 km of roads, of which 32% had gravel surface. Longest streets are Tilžės street - 9.72 km and Vilnius street - 5.67 km with 1.28 km of pedestrian Boulevard.


In 1871 Liepāja-Romny railway was built.In 1916 Tilžė-Riga and in 1931 - Šiauliai-Klaipėda railways were built. The city has a railway station.


In 1930, an air strip was developed. It was expanded in 1961 during the Soviet period, and is now a military (NATO) base, and home to the Šiauliai International Airport.

Public transport[]

The first passenger transport company in the city of Šiauliai was founded in 1940. It was autotrestas, which had 29 buses. In 1944 instead of autotresto was organized motor firm. In 1947 the first taxi Šiauliai machines. And then, a growing city, increasing the number of passengers - in 1955 founded the city of Siauliai bus and taksomotorų autoūkis. In 2006, a modern bus station with the trade center. The city has 27 city routes, the maximum number is 29.


Šiauliai of communication in 1897 could be used not only for mail or telegraph, and telephone. Telephone subscribers in 1923 was 170, while in 1937 - 700 rooms. 1936; the city to install a phone machine.

1957, a television tower, which are equipped with radio and antenna lines. In 1995 launched the construction of cable television lines, 1998 started to install the cable internet, since 2003 - Optical Internet line. In 2008 the city has 14 post offices (central LT-76001).


Šiauliai arena

Šiauliai since 1924, played soccer, 1936 were 14 teams. Then started to play basketball, handball, rugby, hockey, kultyvuojama athletics, cycling, boxing and other sports. In 2007 25 July, in preparation for the 37th European men basketball championship, a modern Šiauliai Arena was erected.

Club Sport League Venue
BC Šiauliai Basketball Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL), Baltic Basketball League (BBL), Eurocup Šiaulių arena
FK Šiauliai Football The A League A Lyga Šiaulių stadionas
ABRO- Saulė Basketball Šiaulių sporto rūmai

International relations[]

Twin towns - sister cities[]

Šiauliai is twinned with:


According to the population census of 2001, ethnic Lithuanians comprise 93 %, Russians - 5%, and the remaining 2 % consist of Ukrainians, Belarussians, Jews, Roma, Latvians, Armenians and other ethnic groups. About 94 % of the city's population consider Lithuanian their native language, 5 % are Russian speakers and the remainder speak Ukrainian, Belarussian, Latvian, Roma, Armenian etc. About 80% of those older than 20 have command of the Russian language, while only 17% can speak English and 7 % - German.

The list of famous people who were born in Šiauliai:

  • Regimantas Adomaitis, movie and stage actor, born here
  • André Andrejew, a classic Russian and French movie art director, born here
  • Šarūnas Bartas, film director, born here
  • Wojciech Buyko, Polish classic photographer, born here in 1882 (†1942?)
  • Virgilijus Noreika, opera singer, born here
  • Yosef Shalom Eliashiv (image), rabbi, and grandson of a kabbalist Rabbi Shalom Ben Hayim Haikel Eliashiv zt"l (Leshem), a native of this city
  • Jacob Gens, self proclaimed Vilnius Ghetto police commander under the Nazi occupation (1941–1943), born here (1903)
  • Nesse Godin, Shoah survivor and Shoah awareness advocate in the United States.
  • Robertas Javtokas, professional basketball player
  • Samuel Kessel, father of Joseph Kessel, physician was born here
  • Igor Kisiel, scientist, professor at the Technical University of Wroclaw, born in Illovieciai near Šiauliai
  • Albrycht Stanisław Radziwiłł, magnate, noble, a duke and a politician. He held the post of Starosta (city foreman) of this city.
  • Jan Sawicki-Stella, colonel in the Russian army who during the insurrection against Russia in 1863, went to fight on the Polish-Lithuanian side, born here
  • Meyer Schapiro, art historian, born here
  • Antanas Sireika, born near Šiauliai was a coach for a hometown basketball team for many seasons.
  • Andrius Spokas, artist born here
  • Olegas Truchanas, Lithuanian photographer, went to school here, recognized in Australia for his ecological conscious photography
  • Wiktoryn Witkiewicz, father of the legendary Russian envoy to Afghanistan Jan Prosper Witkiewicz, has been the Vice-Marshall of Šiauliai in Kingdom of Poland
  • Mindaugas Žukauskas, professional basketball player was born here
  • Marius Žaromskis, mma fighter

See also[]

  • BC Šiauliai
  • Telshe yeshiva


  1. ^ source
  2. ^ "The History of Omaha Sister Cities Association." Omaha Sister Cities Association. Retrieved 12/8/08.

External links[]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:


City resources[]

Template:Municipalities of Lithuania

Born in Šiauliai[]

 Birth yearFatherMother
Morta (c1210-1262)1,210
Agna of Šiauliai (c1242-c1263)1,242

Married in Šiauliai[]

Died in Šiauliai[]

[create] Documentation