The exhibition about the origins of Lithuania, opened in Poland, features unique archaeological exhibits from Lithuania

2023 11 27

On November 26, 2023, an exhibition “Początki Litwy / Lietuvos ištakos / Origins of Lithuania” was opened in the Museum of the Origins of the Polish State in Gniezno. The exhibition presents the Baltic tribes, tells us about the coalescing of the Baltic tribes and the creation of the state, as well as the birth of the city of Vilnius. In the exhibition, you can see museum treasures from the 5th to 14th centuries which are rarely publicly exhibited. An important part of this exhibition consists of 450 unique archaeological artifacts, valued at almost two hundred thousand euros, from the collections of the National Museum of Lithuania.

The head of the National Museum of Lithuania, Dr. Rūta Kačkutė pointed out that this exhibition, organized by the National Museum of Lithuania together with the Archaeological Site Museum of Kernavė, is one of the largest and most comprehensive exhibitions held abroad dedicated to the Baltic tribes and the history of the formation of the Lithuanian state.

According to the head of the museum, this exhibition is particularly important in further strengthening the cultural ties of the neighbouring countries. This is another big step in presenting the cultural heritage of the Baltic tribes in the international forum. The main focus of the exhibition dedicated to the origins of the Lithuanian state is the archaeological findings revealing the history of the Selonian, Samogitian, Semigallian, Lithuanian, Curonian and Aukstaitian tribes. For the first time, valuable archaeological findings give the Polish public the opportunity to get acquainted with exclusive material cultural heritage of the Balts in such detail, to understand the development of tribal consolidation and the prerequisites for the transformation from individual clans to the homogeneous state of Lithuania.

“The political and cultural centres of Kernavė, Trakai and Vilnius in eastern Lithuania formed the core of the state, which, with ups and downs, has been our home for almost 800 years. A home where the roots of our strength as a Lithuanian nation lie, a home that we are proud of and that we defend”, – said Dr. R. Kačkutė. Among the exhibits, visitors will see a rich collection of Baltic jewellery, weapons reminiscent of the Baltic army, a unique treasure of silver alloys, artifacts that tell the earliest history of the city of Vilnius, and other valuables kept in the museum’s treasuries.

“By studying these archaeological finds, we have the opportunity to better understand the daily life and warfare, crafts and religion, economy and trade of the Baltic tribes, as well as the history of the early state of Lithuania. Of the state that was born thanks to the tribal nobility, yet whose every region contributed to the creation of a common linguistic and cultural identity. While growing and developing in the 13th-14th centuries, Lithuania became a powerful state both militarily and culturally”, – emphasized Dr. R. Kačkutė during the opening of the exhibition.

Among the artifacts of the exhibition are not only jewellery made by the Baltic craftsmen decorated with delicate patterns and characterized by a variety of forms, but also weapons, and various details of horse clothing. Axes and swords decorated with silver, spearheads of intricate shapes, arrowheads, knives, ornamented stirrups, gouges and other works of blacksmithing and jewellery will invite visitors of the exhibition to get to know the magnificent world of the Baltic tribes.

The joint exhibition of the Museum of the Origins of the Polish State, the National Museum of Lithuania, and the Archaeological Site Museum of Kernavė can be visited until the end of September 2024.

Phot. Bartosz Janiczek, Rekografia

Lietuvos Istakos Gniezne Muziejus 2