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2 Litai 1993, Lithuania

in Krause book Number: 54a
Years of issue: 1993
Edition: --
Signatures: Lietuvos Banko Valdybos Pirmininkas: Kazys Ratkevicius (in office 17 November 1993 – 23 January 1996), Finansu Ministras: Eduardas Vilkelis (in office 1992 -1995)
Serie: 1993 Issue
Specimen of: 1993
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 135 х 65
Printer: TDLR (Thomas de la Rue & Company), London

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2 Litai 1993

Description

Watermark:

watermark 2 lita

Lithuanian coat of arms, under it is a diamond.

Avers:

2 Litai 1993

Motiejus ValančiusThe engraving is made after this photo of Motiejus Valančius by photostudio "A.Strauss & S.Sourevitsch" in Kovna.

Motiejus Valančius (also known by his pen-name Joteika and Ksiądz Maciek, 16 [28] Fevbruary 1801 - 17 [29] May 1875) was a Catholic bishop of Samogitia, historian and one of the best known Lithuanian/Samogitian writers of the XIX century.

Motiejus Valančius was born February 16, 1801, into a well-to-do peasant family in Nasrėnai village, Kretinga district. Early in his youth, he had his baptismal records altered to indicate noble birth; the family name was Polonized to Wołonczewski. This practice, not uncommon among prosperous villagers, was a means of providing educational opportunities otherwise denied to peasant children. In 1816 he entered the Dominican school at Žemaičių Kalvarija and six years later began his studies at the Theological Seminary in Varniai. He transferred to the Vilnius Priest Seminary in 1824, from which he graduated in 1828. Ordained a priest that same year, he spent the next six years teaching religion in Belarus. In 1834 he returned to Lithuania to take up a teaching position at the Kražiai College.

In 1840 he was assigned to the Vilnius Theological Seminary, where he lectured in pastoral theology and biblical archaeology and where he earned his doctorate in theology in 1842. That same year on orders of the Tsar, the Academy, it teaching staff and student body, was moved to St. Petersburg, Russia. Valančius came back to Lithuania because of health problems in 1845 and was appointed rector of the Varniai Theological Seminary, serving in this capacity until 1850. Having been absent from Lithuania during the anti-Russian uprising in 1831, Valančius was considered to be relatively apolitical, and thus the Russian government did not object when he was proposed as Episcopal candidate for the see of Samogitia.

He was consecrated bishop in 1850, the first peasant to head over that diocese. Taking up his duties, he guided the diocese for the next 25 years, years of religious, political and social change not only within Samogitia but in Lithuania as a whole. He expanded and improved the Samogitian parochial school network, wrote a many religious books, and in 1858 inaugurated a temperance movement, which grew to encompass nearly a million members, almost half of the county’s population. he also wrote first Lithuanian language history of Samogitian diocese, that has not lost its scientific value until nowadays.

His pastoral and educational work was interrupted by the uprising of 1863-1864 and was made extremely difficult as the Russian government tightened its reins after the collapse of the revolt. Yet these circumstances did not prevent him from following a course which could not but bring him into direct conflict with the authorities. He made every effort to undermine the government’s scheme of Russification. In 1874 Valančius fell ill and died in Kaunas on May 29, 1875. He was interred in the crypt of the Kaunas Cathedral Basilica.

His services to the Lithuanian cause were lasting and important. His opposition to the Russian government and the tactics he employed in resisting its policies, particularly Lithuanian press ban. He sponsored the illegal practice of printing Lithuanian books in East Prussia and smuggling them into Lithuania by knygnešiai, served to stimulate the emergence of the Lithuanian national movement. An educator, and able Church administrator, historian and ethnographer, and a talented writer, Valančius emerges as one of the most versatile and influential figures in the 19th century Lithuania.

Denominations in numerals are in top left and bottom left corners, also on the right side. In words lower, centered.

Revers:

2 Litai 1993

Trakai Island CastleTrakai Island Castle (Trakų salos pilis) is an island castle located in Trakai, Lithuania on an island in Lake Galvė. The castle is sometimes referred to as "Little Marienburg". The construction of the stone castle was begun in the XIV century by Kęstutis, and around 1409 major works were completed by his son Vytautas the Great, who died in this castle in 1430. Trakai was one of the main centres of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the castle held great strategic importance.

Trakai Island Castle was built in several phases. During the first phase, in the second half of the XIV century, the castle was constructed on the largest of three lake islands by the order of Grand Duke Kęstutis. The construction of Trakai Island Castle was related to the expansion and strengthening of the Trakai Peninsula Castle. Kęstutis moved his main residence and his treasury to the Island Castle.

The castle suffered major devastation during an attack by the Teutonic Knights in 1377. After the assassination of Kęstutis, a power struggle between Jogaila and Vytautas the Great for the title of Grand Duke of Lithuania began. The castle was besieged by both sides. Soon after the reconciliation between Jogaila and Vytautas, the second phase of construction started and continued until 1409. This phase is regarded as the major development in the history of the castle. Apparently, during the truce with the Teutonic Order, the construction works were supervised by the Order's stonemason Radike, four years before the Battle of Grunwald.

During the second phase, two wings were added, and on the southern side a 6-storey (35-meters or 115-foot high) donjon was built. The donjon had movable gates which separated the palace from the forecastle. The donjon was used for several functions; besides serving as another defensive structure, it had a chapel and living quarters. It was linked to the multi-storey Ducal Palace, which had an inner yard. The inner yard had wooden galleries, which ran around the inner wall; these galleries were used to access various support facilities without going inside the palace itself.

The entire southern wing of the southern palace was used for the Ducal Hall. This hall was around 10 by 21 meters (33ft×69ft) in size, and only the Upper Palace in the Vilnius Castle Complex could surpass its proportions. The Ducal Hall has preserved some of its original décor.

The principal construction material was so-called red Gothic bricks. Stone blocks were used only in the foundations and the upper parts of buildings, towers and walls. The castle was decorated in a variety of ways, including glazed roof tiling, burned bricks, and stained glass windows. Its overall style after the second construction phase could be described as Gothic with some Romanesque features.

The expansion of the forecastle in the early XV century marked the third phase of Trakai's development. The walls of the forecastle were strengthened to a thickness of 2.5 metres and raised with additional firing galleries. Three major defensive towers were constructed on the corners. The southwestern tower was also used as a prison. The top story of the towers was designed for soldiers and housed a large number of cannons. A main gatehouse was also constructed which, along with the Ducal Palace donjon, had movable gates. The gatehouse was reinforced with additional sections for firing galleries. Near the inner walls several buildings were constructed, including stables, kitchens, and other support structures. When the castle was undergoing this expansion in the XV century, the water level of Lake Galvė was several metres higher than it is today. The castle builders took advantage of this by separating the Ducal Palace and the forecastle with a moat, just wide enough for small boats to sail through. They were connected by gates that could be raised in case of an enemy attack.

Trakai Island Castle lost its military importance soon after the Battle of Grunwald, when the chief enemy of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was defeated by the Lithuanian-Polish army. The castle was transformed into a residence and newly decorated from the inside. New frescos were painted on its walls, which have been partially preserved. Foreign emissaries were welcomed in the Ducal Palace. It is known that Jogaila visited the castle thirteen times between 1413 and 1430. In 1414, the Flemish traveler Guillebert de Lannoy described the castle in these words:

“The old castle stands on one side of the lake, in open ground, the another one stands in the middle of a second lake, and is within a cannon shot of the old one. It is completely new, built from bricks following French pattern.”

Grand Duke Vytautas the Great died in the castle without being crowned as King of Lithuania in 1430. During the rule of Sigismund Augustus, the castle was redecorated in a Renaissance style, and it served as the royal summer residence for a short period of time. Lithuanian Metrica was kept in the castle until 1511. Later the castle served as a prison. During the wars with Muscovy in the XVII century, the castle was damaged and was not reconstructed again. It gradually fell into disrepair.

During the XIX century, castle reconstruction plans were prepared. Its original frescos were preserved and copied by Wincenty Smokowski. The Imperial Archaeological Commission initiated the documentation of the remaining castle in 1888. In 1905, the Imperial Russian authorities decided to partially restore the castle ruins. During World War I, Germans brought in their specialists, who made several attempts to restore the castle. Between 1935 and 1941, parts of the Ducal Palace walls were strengthened, and the southeastern forecastle tower was rebuilt, including sections of its walls. Lithuanian and Polish preservationists worked on the project, but the work stopped when the war gained in intensity. After World War II, a major reconstruction project was begun in 1946; active work started in 1951-1952. The major portion of the reconstruction was finished in 1961. The castle was reconstructed in a XV-century style.

Trakai Island Castle is now a major tourist attraction.

coat Lithuania

The coat of arms of Lithuania, consisting of an armour-clad knight on horseback holding an olden sword and shield, is also known as Vytis (pronounced [ʋiːt̪ɪs], "the Chaser"). The Lithuanian coat of arms is one of the oldest national coats of arms in Europe. It is one of very few containing symbolism adopted from ducal portrait seals rather than from coats of arms of dynasties, which is the case for most European countries.

Article 15 of the Constitution of Lithuania, approved by national referendum in 1992, stipulates, "The Coat of Arms of the State shall be a white Vytis on a red field". Heraldic shield features the field Gules (red) with an armoured knight on a horse salient Argent (white). The knight is holding in his dexter hand a sword Argent above his head. A shield Azure hangs on the sinister shoulder of the knight with a double cross Or (yellow) on it. The horse saddle, straps, and belts are Azure. The hilt of the sword and the fastening of the sheath, the stirrups, the curb bits of the bridle, the horseshoes, as well as the decoration of the harness, are Or (gold).

The blazon is the following:

Gules, a knight armed cap-à-pie mounted on a horse salient argent, brandishing a sword proper and maintaining a shield azure charged with a cross of Lorraine Or.

Denominations in numerals are in bottom left and top right corners. Lower, centered, in words.

Comments:

Designer: Giedrius Jonaitis.

Since 01.03.2007 is not a mean of payment.