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The square by the Palace of the Grand Dukes will be named after Bona Sforza

The Council of Vilnius City approved the proposal of the Commission of Historical Memory to name the square of the museum of the Palace of the Grand Dukes after Bona Sforza. It is believed that the wife of the Grand Duke of Lithuania and the King of Poland, Sigismund the Old, and the mother of King Sigismund Augustus, had the Italian garden in that place in the beginning of the 16th century.

The square of approximately 12 ares by the eastern wing of the museum of the Palace of the Grand Dukes, on the foot of Gediminas Hill, is owned by the State Cultural Reserve of Vilnius Castles.

“It is symbolic that we are starting the year by highlighting the significant traces of prominent women left in Vilnius history. The name of the Grand Duchess of Lithuania and the Queen of Poland, Bona Sforza, given to the square should serve to remind and learn more, to search for inspiration in the outstanding personality who was fostering our city in the past. It has to be stated that due to the formed sociocultural context, the women have been often left in the shadow wantonly, and it is the high time to change the situation,” – said Mr. Gediminas Jaunius, Chair of the municipal Commission of Historical Memory.

Vilnius Commission of Historical Memory has set forth the goal for this year to create better balance in the names of the capital’s names and to commemorate both, prominent women and men.

In 2021, the bas-relief of Bona Sforza made from bronze and marble, covered by gold and enamel (sculptor – Jonas Gencevičius) was unveiled in the Renaissance Garden of the museum of the Palace of the Grand Dukes. The garden was opened to visitors in 2018.

Photo by Saulius Žiūra

Bona Sforza is a historical personality that links Lithuania with the capital of Apulian region, Bari. Bona Sforza was born in the famous family of Milanese Sforza and moved to Bari after her father’s death as it was managed by her mother. B. Sforza was buried in the Basilica of St. Michael in Bari (Italy). Thus, Lithuania and Bari are connected by the historical links and cooperation of the cities. On the occasion of the millennium of the name of Lithuania, one of Bari streets was even named after Lithuania (Via Lituania).

When the nameless square in Vilnius is named after the prominent personality, the Queen of Poland and the Grand Duchess of Lithuania, her input to spread of the Renaissance culture and fostering of Vilnius will be honoured.

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