Statue of the Lamplighter

After the sunset, darkness enveloped the streets of old Vilnius, unless the skies were clear at a night of full moon. The royal residence in the Lower Castle was the only exception. The first street lamps were installed beside the palace back in the second half of the 16th century. Later on, in the early 1700s, more lamps were set by Vilnelė. Lamplighters employed by the court took care of them. 

Across the rest of the city, most windows were pitch dark. Only rich people could afford candles, let alone fireplaces. The city would burst into light during religious and secular holidays, because the Town Hall, main churches, and magnate palaces were illuminated. Gas lighting was first introduced in Vilnius in 1824, just about in time with other cities across Europe and North America.

Many pious residents of Vilnius spoke against the street lights, they insisted that those distort the order set by God according to which nights must be dark. Light, they maintained, encouraged people to drink, sin, commit crimes, and spread diseases.

Learn more about the Old Vilnius after Nightfall by clicking this link.

Address: Šv. Jono St. 8