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“Šiauliai records”

Šiauliai and Šiauliai region are known for more than one record. Lithuanian Book of Records contains not only the geographical maxima and minima of Šiauliai region but also the achievements of Šiauliai residents: public figures, artists, collectors…

Rėkyva (Rėkijavas) Lake is the tenth among ten largest lakes of Lithuania. Its area is 1150,9 ha; the maximum depth, 7 meters; the length of the shoreline is 14,10 km.


- Among the oldest place names of Lithuania mentioned in historical sources for the first time, the name of Šiauliai land (and possibly locality too) is the fifth (year 1236). Thus, the place name of Šiauliai is older than the one of Vilnius (year 1323), Trakai (1337), Kaunas (1361), and Klaipėda (1252).


- There is also the oldest enterprise in Lithuania operating in Šiauliai:  it is Šiauliai brewery “Gubernija”. In written sources, it was first mentioned in the inventory lists of The Royal Manor in 1786. It is noted there that oak foundations of the enterprise are rotten and must be repaired. Specialists believe that the enterprise was built about 1665-1675.


- UAB “Rūta” is the oldest operating confectionery enterprise in Lithuania. It produces sweets of various kinds, flavours and shapes. This company can also claim to be among the most frequently recurring names of enterprises. According to the data of 1994, as many as 66 enterprises had the name “Rūta” (not repeating their title in the names of affiliates).


- Šiauliai University is the youngest in Lithuania. It was established in 1997, upon reorganization of Šiauliai Pedagogical Institute and Šiauliai Polytechnic Faculty of Kaunas University of Technology. Today, there are about 10 thousand students and listeners at the university.


- Šiauliai airport in Zokniai is the largest airport in Lithuania. It occupies the area of about 10 sq. km. It has two aircraft runways: the main is 3,5 km long and 45 m wide, covered by approximately 2 metres  thick layer of concrete,  asphalt concrete and reinforcement, and the spare is 3,2 km long.


- It is a former secret airfield with aircraft repair enterprise of Soviet Union (later Russian) armed forces. On 26 October, 2006, after the technical reconstruction of the runway, the official opening ceremony of the main runway of Šiauliai Military Airport took place. The military say that currently this runway is the best in the Baltic countries. The first to test the runway surface were two Spanish fighter planes F-1 “Mirage”. The airport can receive the world’s largest aircrafts too.



- The largest sundial was built in Šiauliai commemorating 750 year anniversary of the city. The basis of this sundial is the round amphitheatre square with a 17 meter high classical style column in the middle, topped with a 4 meter high gilded bronze sculpture of the archer, built by sculptor Stanislovas Kuzma. All square is a clock face with cast metal figures (12, 3 and 6), representing the year of founding the city of Šiauliai – 1236, while the shadow of the column moving along them shows the time. The architects of  Sundial Square are A. Černiauskas, A. Vyšniauskas R. Jurgėla.


- The sundial located on the southern wall of the façade of St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral is one of the oldest and best-preserved sundials in Lithuania. It was installed around 1625. The sundial shows the time from 7 a.m. till 5 p.m., and if the sundial should be introduced to the visitor of the city, it can be said that this is the only sundial in Lithuania showing the exact astronomical time of Šiauliai land! Other oldest sundials are: on the stone near Kretinga monastery, dated ~ 1610,  and on the wall of Pažaislis monastery, dated ~ 1700. Exact dates of installation of sundials are not known.


- The largest stained glass in Lithuania is the one created by Professor Kazys Morkūnas “The Battle of the Sun” in Šiauliai concert hall “Saulė”. Its area is 200 sq. m. (52 meters long). It is created from pieces of coloured glass, joined metal and concrete frames. Depicting the battle between the armies of Lithuania and the Order of the Sword in 1236 it perpetuates the 750 year  anniversary of the first mention of Šiauliai name in the historical chronicles. The previous work of the same size by the same author is “Nugalėtieji” (“The Defeated”) in Kaunas Ninth Fort Museum.


- The largest picture – 80 meters long, 1,5 meters high, covering an area of 120 sq. m. – is a joint work of sixty artists representing different  fields of art and different ages, painted during 33 hours in Šiauliai Art Gallery on 19-20 January, 1995. The work is titled “Policestas” (“Incest”). The painting was exhibited in the galleries of Lithuania.


- The smallest ex-libris in Lithuania is 5,2 mm high, 4,8 mm wide and is created by a painter from Šiauliai Paulius Arlauskas on 7 May, 1999, using the etching technique and no magnifiers. The bookplate is dedicated to Jonas Nekrašius. The miniature bookplate bears an inscription “JON exlibris”.


- The biggest exhibition of self-portraits created by one author – 40 works created over 50 years – was exhibited in the solo exhibition of Šiauliai painter Antanas Kištopaitis in Šiauliai “Laiptai” Gallery on 20 September-9 October, 1996.


- On 3 June, 2000, during the 6 festival of Lithuanian rural musicians and bands “ANT RUBEŽIAUS”,  the record of the longest townspeople’s table was improved: dozens of people were sitting around a 159 meters long and 80 centimetres wide table, stretching from Kaštonų Avenue towards Šiauliai hotel, loaded with foods. The previous record (126 m 85 cm) was achieved on 16 October, 1993, in Vingis Park, during the Autumn Goodies Fair.


- Unfortunately, Šiauliai residents could not enjoy this record for long. On 23-29 July, 2001, during the Sea Festival in Klaipėda, about 1 km long table with two rows of benches, stretching from Atgimimo to Lietuvninkų Square, was built.


- The Hill of Crosses is both unique in the world and famous for its records. The largest number of worshippers – about 300 thousand – gathered at The Hill of Crosses on 7 September, 1993 to attend Mass and the homily given by the Roman Catholic Church Pope John Paul II. The worship was broadcasted by all Lithuanian television companies.


- The largest number of the clergy who participated in the worship – about 150 – took part  holding Mass at the Hill of Crosses (Šiauliai district) on 7 September, 1993. The Mass was attended by Pope John Paul II, several cardinals, several dozens of bishops and over 100 priests.


- The largest number of crosses on the mound – over 100 thousand (every day, people leave dozens of new crosses on the hill, thus, their number is changing in hours!) – is found on the Hill of Crosses, also known as Pilius Hill, Šventkalnis, Jurgaičiai and Domantai Mound. Crosses are put here by the sick, unwell and unfortunate people because this place is considered to be magical. It is believed that first crosses appeared at the end of the 14 century-the beginning of the 15 century. Their number varies: in 1850, there were 20 crosses; in 1900, 130; in 1914, 200 crosses and a brick chapel; in 1920, 50 crosses; in 1938, over 400; in 1960, about 5000. Between 1961-1975, crosses were destroyed time and again, but people continued to put new ones. In the beginning of September, 1990, the students of The Pedagogical Institute counted 55 331 crosses: 40 944, laid or hanging, were up to 0,5 meter long; 6648 were up to 1 meter long; 6497, from 1 to 2 meters long; 1112, from 2 to 4 meters long; and 130, higher than 4 meters long. From standing crosses 12 226 were wooden; 2001, metallic; 107, granite; 37, concrete; 16, from various materials. In addition, there were 226 paintings and sculptures and 96 pole shrines.


- Thirteen year old Šiauliai resident Mindaugas Peleckis, who has written the book of poems, fairy tales and fantasy “Vienaragis” (“Unicorn”), is the youngest book author in Lithuania. The book was published by the publishing house “Periodika” in Vilnius in the edition of 5 thousand copies.


- The largest number of children was raised by Šiauliai actress Stanislava Jaškevičiūtė-Venclauskienė (1874-1958) and the lawyer Kazimieras Venclauskis (1880-1940). Between 1909 and 1940, their family was raising more than 100 children. Only two of them – Danutė and Gražbylė – were their own children while others were orphans and abandoned. Many people deserving for Lithuania grew up in this family.


- Šiauliai is also famous for its collectors: the most numerous collection of dolls from around the world was collected by Didždvaris gymnasium teacher Elvyra Balčiūnaitė. She started collecting souvenir dolls in 1978; in 1989, she had about 400 dolls from more than 60 countries; and in 2000, as many as 750.


- The most numerous collection of signatures, which in 1991 contained 2400 signatures of artists and performers, was collected by Šiauliai resident Rimantas Vincentas Vaitiekūnas during 33 years. Signatures in this collection are put together with short wishes of opera, ballet, theatre, cinema, pop performers, writers, artists and conductors. Art celebrities from 57 countries around the world signed on paper sheets, photos, cards, various brochures, concert programs, etc. In 1991, R.V. Vaitiekūnas demonstrated part of the collection at the exhibition held in Šiauliai.


- Over 30 years, Šiauliai pharmacist Vanda Kavaliauskienė collected the largest cat topic collection. In total, in 1991, her collection contained 12 450 exhibits: 2100 gifts, toys; 6500 interesting descriptions, poems; 900, books, magazines; 600 paintings, art photographs; 600 postcards; 250 stamps;1500 other items (slides, calendars, stickers, labels, napkins, cards, dishes,  cat food packaging examples, makeup sets, perfume, etc.) from 52 countries worldwide. On 17 May, 1990, based on this collection, the Cat Museum was opened in Šiauliai. It is the only Cat Museum in Lithuania and the second in the world. On 1 January, 1991, it contained 4100 exhibits; and in 2006, 14 000! The museum visitors are welcomed by the very “director” of the museum cat File.


- The largest leather cowboy hat in Lithuania was presented on 12 September, 2003, during the folk and country music festival “Baltas kelias” held during Šiauliai city days. The overall diameter of the hat is 142 centimetres. It was sown at Jonas Sinkevičius’ company in Vilnius at the request of the club.


- On 1 September, 2004, the rural music club “Juonė Pastuogė” celebrated its 10-year anniversary, and the ensemble “Jonis”,  20-year anniversary. On that occasion, during the festive concert, the chef of the inn “Juonė Pastuogė” Linas Dermauskas, the director of the inn Edmundas Grubliauskis and the musician from VETOBANK Rolandas Kažemėkas cooked 1000 kg of COUNTRY MUSHROOM SOUP. They used: 100 kg of mushrooms, 60 kg of carrots, 40 kg of onions, 160 kg of potatoes, 60 kg of milk, water and spices. The soup was distributed to the audience free of charge.


- The heaviest COUNTRY BIKE in Lithuania was made on the occasion of the 3rd Baltai country music festival “Baltas kelias” (“The White Way”), which took place on 9 September, 2005, during Šiauliai city days.  Its wheels are made from millstones; and the frame, from pure metal. The bicycle weighing 121 kg was made by blacksmith Simas Mazeliauskas from Mažeikiai. During the festival the bike was tried out by the musicians and the very mayor of Šiauliai city. Now you can see it in the music club-inn “Juonė Pastuogė”.


- A distinctive record is the longest review of The Lithuanian Book of Records.  It also belongs to Šiauliai residents: the article Šiaulių žemė “Lietuvos rekorduose” (Šiauliai Land in “Lithuanian Records”) was published in the newspaper of Šiauliai district “Laikas” (254 lines, 7,5 thousand characters).


If you want to get to know the land of Šiauliai better, visit its famous places by all means. Come, see and tell others!