Regardless of which way you come to Daukantas Square, narrow streets leading down to it broaden and merge with the square, which is dominated by classical buildings of the eighteenth – beginning of the nineteenth century: former nobleman's houses and the current President‘s Palace.
History, residents and visitors of the presidential palace
The President‘s Palace stands at the square named after Simonas Daukantas, the writer of the first Lithuanian history book in Lithuanian. The Palace has been burned down several times, and devastated during wars and other disturbances. When Lithuania became part of the Russian Empire, the palace was turned into the headquarters of the Russian Emperor. It was the smartest and most respectable palace at that time, a residence of the Czar Pavel I, or the French King Louis XVIII during his raids, or the French Emperor Napoleon. In Soviet times, it was a dancing club and even partying place for officers, and the artists’ house. In 1997 the building was restored and the Lithuanian presidency was moved here.
Architecture, halls, park
The Presidential Palace is located in the two storey house of late Classicism style of the nineteenth century. While adapting the Palace for the Presidential residence, it was decided to restore the historic interior, so it is highly ornate, with many halls reminding the classical era: The White Hall is the main, it is used for awards and for the President’s meetings with the public, the Blue Hall is used for confidential presidential conversations; in the Green Hall the President meets with his chief advisers, the Palace also has the halls of Maps, Delegations, Negotiations, Meeting rooms, each unique in its interior, and decorated with late Classical furniture, and paintings. The Presidential Park is also impressive; it is one of the oldest in Vilnius and still has historical plants preserved: archaic oaks, lindens, maples.
Presidential gala signs
The Presidential palace facade is decorated with Lithuania Coat of Arms – Vytis, over which flies the flag of the President. It is raised when the President is in the Palace, and lowered when he goes away from Vilnius. A solemn flag replacement ceremony is held every Sunday at noon. It involves not only the Lithuanian Armed Guards of Honour wearing modern parade uniforms, but also the medieval armour. After the flag replacement, two soldiers in the fourteenth-century military uniforms stand in guard for one-hour.
Highlights of important celebrations
The Presidential Palace organises open public events, during which the residents and visitors of the country are invited to various concerts, meetings and exhibitions in the building. During ceremonies the soldiers wearing the 14th century style armour demonstrate a special medieval military formation program. The beginning of the ceremony is announced by the sounds of trumpets and drums that accompany soldiers magnificently marching into the square across the main gate of the Presidential Palace. They demonstrate a programme of medieval military drill formation for the public and then the Guards of Honour perform on the ceremony of flag replacement.