One of the largest cities in Lithuania, Šiauliai lies in the north of the country and is named after a Sun Battle that took place nearby. Settled since at least the 11th century, it flourished as an industrial hub in the 18th century when it was incorporated into Russia.
Things to do in Šiauliai
While exploring Šiauliai, keep an eye out for its eye-catching sculptures that range from a monumental sundial to the “Rūdė" fountain. Marvel at the four-metre-high monument depicting the Lithuanian Dawn Goddess and the stained-glass “Sun Battle” window, then climb to the famous Hill of Crosses. Established in the 19th century, it features hundreds of thousands of crosses that stand as a memorial to Lithuanian national identity.
The city-owned Aušros Museum operates several branches throughout Šiauliai, including the Bicycle Museum where more than 250 bicycles are on display. Admire the vintage radios, turntables and gramophones exhibited at the Radio and Television Museum, then see historic photographs of Lithuania and a camera obscura at the Photography Museum.
Within the early-20th-century Frenkel’s Villa are Oriental artworks, period furnishings and exhibits about life in Šiauliai throughout the decades. Once home to the Jewish industrialist Chaim Frenkel, the residence served as a Jewish grammar school before being taken over by the Nazis as officers’ quarters during World War II. Under Soviet rule, the villa was used as a military hospital and is now surrounded by a beautiful garden where summer concerts are held.
Getting around Šiauliai
Šiauliai is just under three hours’ drive from Vilnius and two hours from Kaunas International Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe. Trains connect from Klaipeda and Vilnius to the Šiauliai railway station and buses travel throughout the city. The centre of Šiauliai can easily be explored on foot.