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Prior to that the area was not a wasteland, the colonies of German and Ruthenian merchants and missionaries existed there, they evolved into German Town and Ruthenian Town respectively, which eventually turned into suburbs and finally fully integrated into the city.
The howling Iron Wolf from the Grand Duke's prophetic dream is depicted below.These two key names, Gediminas and the Iron Wolf (Geležinis vilkas), along with the motif of the howling iron wolf you can find quite a few everywhere in Vilnius, they are branched into the forms of daily life so naturally that are almost imperceptible, unless you're purposely looking for them.As a capital Vilnius has always been a multinational city populated by Lithuanians, Germans, Slavs and Jews from time immemorial.It may be useful to know that the original city location is lost due to erosion, the present days Old Town appeared in the Middle Ages when the inhabitants were forced to settle there from the heights of a Vilnia river bank which became impossible to live.Therefore the varieties of spelling in other languages (Vilna, Wilna, Vilno, Wilno) are, in fact, the same word adapted to the corresponding grammar.The area was inhabited since the Mesolithic era, however it became a capital city only since 1323 when Grand Duke Gediminas transferred the Seat from Trakai to Vilnius.
A monument to Gediminas (author of the concept is a Lithuanian-American sculptor Vytautas Kašuba) stands in Cathedral Square near the site of the former pagan temple.
The Grand Duke is depicted at the moment when he made a final decision, dismounted from his horse and blessed the land which will become the capital; its glory shall echo like an iron-wolf-like sound throughout the world.
Vilnius is the capital and largest city of Lithuania.
It lies in the valley of the confluence of Neris and Vilnia rivers and has 527,930 inhabitants (2013 statistics).
Along with Linz, Austria, Vilnius was the European Capital of Culture in 2009.
The word Vilnius is a masculine form of the Vilnia river's name (which is feminine) and refers to the river surge.