Šiauliai (/ʃˈl/; Lithuanian: [ɕɛʊ̯ˈlʲɛɪ̯ˑ] (listen); Samogitian: Šiaulē; German: Schaulen, pronounced [ˈʃaʊ̯lən] (listen)) is the fourth largest city in Lithuania, with a population of 99,462. From 1994 to 2010 it was the capital of Šiauliai County.

City municipality
Cathedral of Šiauliai
Flag of Šiauliai
Coat of arms of Šiauliai
Saulės miestas (The City of the Sun)
Šiauliai is located in Lithuania
Location of Šiauliai in Lithuania
Šiauliai is located in Europe
Šiauliai (Europe)
Coordinates: 55°56′N 23°19′E / 55.933°N 23.317°E / 55.933; 23.317Coordinates: 55°56′N 23°19′E / 55.933°N 23.317°E / 55.933; 23.317
Ethnographic regionSamogitia
CountyŠiauliai County
MunicipalityŠiauliai city municipality
Capital ofŠiauliai County
Šiauliai city municipality
Šiauliai district municipality
First mentioned1236
Granted city rights1589
EldershipsMedelynas eldership, Rėkyva eldership
 • MayorArtūras Visockas
 • City municipality81.13 km2 (31.32 sq mi)
151 m (495 ft)
 • City municipality101,884
 • Density1,300/km2 (3,300/sq mi)
 • Metro
141,784including Šiauliai district municipality
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
Area code(s)(+370) 41


Šiauliai is referred to by various names in different languages: Samogitian Šiaulē, Latvian Saule (historic) and Šauļi (modern), German (outdated) Schaulen, Polish Szawle, Russian Шавли (Shavli – historic) and Шяуля́й (Shyaulyai – modern), Yiddish שאַװל (Shavel).


Šiauliai church, 19th century
Pedestrian boulevard at night
Venclauskai Palace

The city was first mentioned in written sources as Soule in Livonian Order chronicles describing the Battle of Saule. Thus the city's founding date is now considered to be 22 September 1236, the same date when the battle took place, not far from Šiauliai. At first, it developed as a defence post against the raids by the Teutonic and Livonian Orders. After the Battle of Grunwald in 1410, the raids stopped and Šiauliai started to develop as an agricultural settlement. In 1445, a wooden church was built. It was replaced in 1625 with the brick church which can be seen in the city center today.[1]

Šiauliai was granted Magdeburg city rights in the 16th century when it also became an administrative centre of the area. However, in the 16th to 18th centuries the city was devastated by The Deluge and epidemics of the Bubonic plague.[1]

Former Šiauliai Jewish school

The credit for the city's rebirth goes to Antoni Tyzenhaus (1733–1785) who after a violent revolt of peasants of the Crown properties in Northern Lithuania (so-called in Polish: Powstanie Szawelskie, 1769), started the radical economic and urban reforms.[2][3] He decided to rebuild the city according to the Classicism ideas: at first houses were built randomly in a radial shape, but Tyzenhaus decided to build the city in an orderly rectangular grid. Šiauliai grew to become a well-developed city, with several prominent brick buildings.[citation needed] In 1791 Stanisław August Poniatowski, king of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, confirmed once again that Šiauliai's city rights and granted it a coat of arms which depicted a bear, the symbol of Samogitia, the Eye of Providence, and a red bull, the symbol of the Poniatowski family. The modern coat of arms has been modelled after this version.

After the Partitions of Poland, Šiauliai received a new coat of arms. The city grew and became an important educational and cultural centre. Also, infrastructure was rapidly developing: in 1836–1858 a road connecting Riga and Tilsit was built, in 1871 a railroad connecting Liepāja with Romny was built.[4] Šiauliai, being in a crossroad of important merchant routes, started to develop as an industrial town. Already in 1897, it was the third-largest city in Lithuania with a population of about 16,000. The demographics changed also: 56.4% of the inhabitants were Jewish in 1909. Šiauliai was known for its leather industry. Chaim Frenkel owned the biggest leather factory in the Russian Empire.

World War I and independent LithuaniaEdit

Šiauliai after the First World War

During World War I, about 85% of the buildings were burned down and the city centre was destroyed.[1] After the war and re-establishment of Lithuania, the importance of Šiauliai grew. Before Klaipėda was attached to Lithuania, the city was second after Kaunas by population size. By 1929 the city centre was rebuilt. Modern utilities were also included: streets were lighted, they had public transportation, telephone and telegraph lines, water supply network and sewer.

The first years of independence were difficult because the industrial city lost its markets in Russia. It needed to find new clients in Western Europe. In 1932 a railroad to Klaipėda was built and it connected the city to the Western markets. In 1938, the city produced about 85% of Lithuania's leather, 60% of footwear, 75% of flax fibre, 35% of candies. Culture also flourished as many new periodicals were printed, new schools and universities opened, a library, theatre, museum, and normal school were opened.

World War IIEdit

In 1939, one-fifth of the city's population was Jewish.[5] German soldiers entered Šiauliai on June 26, 1941. The first mass murder of Šiauliai Jews was perpetrated in the Kužiai forest, about 12 kilometres outside Šiauliai, on June 29, 1941. According to one of the Jewish survivors of Šiauliai, Nesse Godin, some 700 people were shot in nearby woods during the first weeks of occupation after having been forced to dig their own graves. Beginning on July 29, 1941, and continuing throughout the summer, the Germans murdered about 8,000 Jews from Šiauliai and the Šiauliai region in the Kužiai forest. One hundred twenty-five Jews from Linkuva were also murdered there, along with ethnic Lithuanian and Russian members of the Communist Party and the Communist Youth.[6]

The Šiauliai Ghetto was established in July 1941. There were two Jewish ghetto areas in Šiauliai, one in the Kaukas suburb, and one in Trakų. During World War II, the Jewish population was reduced from 8,000 to 500. Approximately 80% of the buildings were destroyed.[7][8]

Soviet eraEdit

Šiauliai on January 13, 1991, after the Soviet Army killed peaceful Lithuanians following Lithuania's declaration of independence (March 11, 1990)

The city was largely rebuilt anew in a typical Soviet fashion during the years of subsequent Soviet occupation.


  • 1990–1991 – Kazimieras Šavinis
  • 1991–1995 – Arvydas Salda
  • 1995–2000 – Alfredas Lankauskas
  • 2000–2002 Vida Stasiūnaitė
  • 2002–2003 – Vaclovas Volkovas
  • 2003–2007 – Vytautas Juškus
  • 2007–2011 – Genadijus Mikšys
  • 2011–2015 – Justinas Sartauskas
  • 2015–present – Artūras Visockas


Šiauliai located in eastern part of the northern plateau, Mūša, Dubysa and Venta River divide. Distance of 210 kilometres (130 miles) to Vilnius, Kaunas – 142 km (88 mi), Klaipėda – 161 km (100 mi), Riga – 128 km (80 mi), Kaliningrad – 250 km (155 mi). The total city area 81.13 square kilometres (31.32 sq mi), from the green areas 18.87 square kilometres (7.29 sq mi), water – 12.78 square kilometres (4.93 sq mi). Urban land outside perimeter of the administrative 70,317 kilometres (43,693 miles).

Altitude: Rėkyvos the lake water level – 129.8 m (425.85 ft) above sea level, Talsos lake level – 103.0 m (337.93 ft) in the city center – 128.4 m (421.26 ft), Salduvės Hill – 149.7 m (491.14 ft) above sea level.


The total water area – 1,280 ha, 15.7% in urban areas.

  • Šiauliai Lakes
    • Rėkyva Lake, 1,179 ha
    • Talkša Lake, 56.2 ha
    • Ginkūnai Lake, 16.6 ha
  • Rivers
    • Kulpė
    • Rūdė
    • Vijolė
    • Švedė
    • Šimša
    • Tilžė
    • Šventupis


Under the Köppen climate classification, Šiauliai has a warm-summer humid continental climate (Dfb). The average temperature in January; −3 °C (27 °F) in July; +18 °C (64 °F). The amount of precipitation in a year – 620 mm (24.4 in).

In 1942, the city recorded the lowest Lithuania year mean temperature (+3.6 °C).

Climate data for Šiauliai (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1937-present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 10.5
Mean maximum °C (°F) 5.9
Average high °C (°F) −0.4
Daily mean °C (°F) −2.5
Average low °C (°F) −4.9
Mean minimum °C (°F) −17.3
Record low °C (°F) −36.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 44.2
Average precipitation days 11.32 9.86 9.45 7.12 8.65 10.04 10.12 10.36 9.07 12.17 11.25 11.91 121.50
Mean monthly sunshine hours 37 65 125 176 263 277 261 243 166 100 42 29 1,784
Source 1: Météo Climat[9]
Source 2: NOAA (extremes and sun)[10]


In 1795, there were 3,700 people living in Šiauliai, rising to 16,128 by 1897, when it was the third-most populous city in Lithuania after Kaunas.[1] The Jewish population of Šiauliai rose steadily through the second half of the nineteenth century, from 2,565 in 1847 to around 7,000 at century's end.[11] By the outbreak of World War I, 12,000 of the town's inhabitants were Jews, making Šiauliai majority Jewish.[11] A particular Jew called Shauli Bar-On had encouraged the Jews of Europe to come to Lithuania because he saw enormous potential for success.[citation needed] A battlefield during the Great War, Šiauliai saw thousands of its denizens flee, never to return.[11]

In 1923, Šiauliai population's was third to that of Kaunas and Klaipėda.


Shopping centre Saulės miestas

Beginning in the 19th century, Šiauliai became an industrial centre. During the Russian Empire period, the city had the largest leather factory in the whole empire, owned by Chaim Frenkel. Šiauliai contributed to around 85% of all leather production in Lithuania, 60% of the footwear industry, 75% of the flax fibre industry, and 35% of the sweets industry.[citation needed]

During the Soviet years, the city produced electronics (Nuklonas), mechanical engineering, wood processing, construction industry. Most of the industrial enterprises were concentrated in urban areas.

According to 2005 data,[citation needed] the city has:

  • Manufacturing and service companies – 3195
  • Commercial enterprises – 781
  • Shopping centres – 30, including
    • Akropolis, opened March 2009
    • Saulės Miestas, opened March 2007
    • Bruklinas, opened November 2007
    • Tilžė, opened February 2008
    • Arena, opened November 2007

In 2020, construction of Europe's largest aircraft maintenance and repair centre will begin on the territory of Šiauliai International Airport. The related company will repair Airbus A320, Boeing 737 Classic, Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft and will also provide aircraft administration and parking services. It is planned that the centre will create 1000 new workplaces.[12]


Didždvaris gymnasium
Šiauliai State College
  • 1851 Boys' Gymnasium (now Julius Janonis Gymnasium) was opened
  • 1898 Girls' Gymnasium (now Didždvaris Gymnasium) was opened
  • 1920 Jewish Gymnasium was opened
  • 1920 Šiauliai Teachers seminary was founded
  • 1928 Primary education became compulsory
  • 1930 Vincas Kudirka primary school was opened
  • 1939 The Institute of trade was moved from Klaipėda, it was the first Higher Education school in Šiauliai
  • 1948 Šiauliai Teachers Institute was founded, in 1954 it became Pedagogical Institute, and since 1996, when the Šiauliai faculty of Kaunas Polytechnic Institute was connected, it is Šiauliai University. In 2021 Šiauliai University was reorganised to Vilnius University Šiauliai Academy.

Students in the city (in 2006):

  • In Šiauliai University – 10,440
  • In Šiauliai College – 2,770
  • In Northern Lithuania College – 700
  • In Šiauliai region College of Management and Languages – 517
  • In Šiauliai Conservatory – 149
  • In Šiauliai Vocational Training Center – 2,663

There are 8 gymnasiums, 7 high schools, 16 secondary schools, 7 primary schools, 9 children's non-formal education schools, 29 kindergartens. 21,000 students studied in general education schools in 2006.


City municipality building

The city park to the creation of Anton Tyzenhaus essentially graduated Vladimir Zubov. The 19th-century park was of a rectangular shape and was similar to English-style freely designed parks. For a small fee, citizens were allowed to walk in the park. In 1931, the Park and Alley chestnut was officially donated to the Šiauliai city municipality.[citation needed]

Šiauliai has 16 parks, covering an area of 1,177 hectares. Didždvario province and Rėkyvos parks add to the cultural values of the registry.


Trains in Šiauliai Train Station
Public transport buses of Šiauliai
U.S. Air Force F-15C in Šiauliai

Šiauliai has always been a major intersection. The famous Saulės battle took place near a trade route from Riga to Bubiai and Tauragė.In 1836–1858 Riga–Tilsit (Sovetsk) highway was built near it.[citation needed] About 1912, first cars appeared on city's streets.[citation needed]

Highways passing through Šiauliai :

  • A9 / E272 Šiauliai – Panevėžys (79 km)
  • A11 / E272 Šiauliai – Palanga (147 km)
  • A12 / E77 Riga – Šiauliai – Sovetsk (186 km).
  • City has is western bypass A18.

In 2006, Šiauliai had 297 km (185 mi) of roads, of which 32% had a gravel surface. The longest streets are Tilžės street – 9.72 km (6.04 mi) and Vilnius street – 5.67 km (3.52 mi) with 1.28 km (0.80 mi) of it being a pedestrian boulevard.

In 1871, the Liepaja-Romny railway was built. The Tilžė–Riga and Šiauliai–Klaipeda railways were built in 1916 and 1931, respectively. The city has a railway station.

In 1930, an air strip was developed. It was expanded in 1961 during the Soviet period and developed into a large VVS base. It is now a military base for NATO, and home to the Šiauliai International Airport.

The first passenger transport company in Šiauliai was founded in 1940.[citation needed] It was Autotrestas, which had 29 buses. In 1944 a motor firm replaced Autotrestas. In 1947 the first taxi company, Šiauliai cars, appeared. Subsequently, to meet the needs of an increasing population, more busses and Taksomotorų Autoūkis were added in 1955. In 2006, a modern bus station with a trade centre was constructed. The city has 27 city routes, the maximum number is 29.


Šiauliai of communication in 1897 could be used not only for mail or telegraph, and telephone. Telephone subscribers in 1923 was 170, while in 1937 – 700 rooms. 1936; the city to install a phone machine.[citation needed]

1957, a television tower, which are equipped with radio and antenna lines. In 1995 launched the construction of cable television lines, 1998 started to install the cable internet, since 2003 – Optical Internet line. In 2008 the city has 14 post offices (central LT-76001).


Šiauliai arena

Since 1924 soccer was played in Šiauliai. By the year 1936 there were 14 soccer teams in the city. Later other sports also started to be played professionally: basketball, handball, rugby, hockey, athletics, cycling, boxing and other sports. On July 25, 2007, in preparation for the 37th European men basketball championship, a modern Šiauliai Arena was opened to the public.

Club Sport League Venue
BC Šiauliai Basketball Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL), Baltic Basketball League (BBL), Eurocup Šiaulių arena
FK Šiauliai Football The A League A Lyga Šiaulių stadionas
ABRO- Saulė Basketball Šiaulių sporto rūmai
RK Šiauliai Handball Lithuanian Handball League (LRL) Šiaulių sporto rūmai
RK Vairas Rugby union Lithuanian Rugby Championship Zoknių stadionas
RK Baltrex Rugby union Talšos stadionas
RK Šiauliai Rugby union Talšos stadionas
Šiauliai central square

Twin towns – sister citiesEdit

Iron Fox
Chaim Frenkel Palace (villa)

Šiauliai is twinned with:[13]

Notable peopleEdit

View of Šiauliai
Šiauliai Cockerel Love Clock is a popular meeting and dating place

According to the population census of 2001, ethnic Lithuanians comprise 93%, Russians – 5%, and the remaining 2% consist of Ukrainians, Belarusians, Jews, Roma, Latvians, Armenians and other ethnic groups. About 94% of the city's population consider Lithuanian their native language, 5% are Russian speakers and the remainder speak Ukrainian, Belarusian, Latvian, Roma, Armenian etc. About 80% of those older than 20 have a command of the Russian language, while only 17% can speak English and 7% – German.[14]

The list of notable people who were born in Šiauliai:

Significant depictions in popular cultureEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "History of the city". Šiauliai. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  2. ^ Petrauskas, R (2016). Galia ir tradicija. Lietuvos Didžiosios Kunigaikštystės giminių istorijos. Vilnius: Baltų lankų leidyba. pp. 206–208.
  3. ^ Merkys, Vytautas (1985–1988). "Tyzenhauzas, Antanas". In Jonas Zinkus; et al. (eds.). Tarybų Lietuvos enciklopedija. Vol. 4. Vilnius, Lithuania: Vyriausioji enciklopedijų redakcija. p. 324. LCC 86232954. (in Lithuanian)
  4. ^ Cohen-Mushlin, Aliza; Kravtsov, Sergey; Levin, Vladimir; Mickūnaitė, Giedrė; Šiaučiūnaitė-Verbickienė, Jurgita (2010). Synagogues in Lithuania N-Ž: A Catalogue. VDA leidykla. ISBN 9786094470042. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  5. ^ Urieli, Assaf. "Shavl – שאַװל – Šiauliai, Lithuania". Kehila Links. JewishGen. Retrieved April 26, 2012.
  6. ^ "Mass Murder of the Šiauliai Jews at Kužiai Forest". Holocaust Atlas of Lithuania. Vilnius, Lithuania: Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum. 2010.
  7. ^ Levin, Dov (2008). "Šiauliai". Encyclopaedia Judaica. The Gale Group.
  8. ^ Bubnys, A (2002). The Fate of Jews in Šiauliai and Šiauliai Region" – The Šiauliai Ghetto: Lists of Prisoners 1942. Vilnius.
  9. ^ "Météo Climat stats for Siauliai". Météo Climat. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  10. ^ "Siauliai Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  11. ^ a b c Stanislawski, Michael. "Šiauliai". The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe. YIVO. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  12. ^ "Šiauliuose iškils didžiausias Europoje orlaivių techninės priežiūros ir remonto centras". DELFI (in Lithuanian). Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  13. ^ "Tarptautiniai ryšiai". siauliai.lt (in Lithuanian). Šiauliai. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  14. ^ "Population by Sex, Age, Nationality and Religion". Official Statistics Portal. Department of Statistics to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  15. ^ Арлоў, Уладзімер (2020). ІМЁНЫ СВАБОДЫ (Бібліятэка Свабоды. ХХІ стагодзьдзе.) [Uładzimir Arłou. The Names of Freedom (The Library of Freedom. ХХІ century).] (PDF) (in Belarusian) (4-е выд., дап. ed.). Радыё Свабодная Эўропа / Радыё Свабода - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. pp. 204–205.
  16. ^ Арлоў, Уладзімер (2020). ІМЁНЫ СВАБОДЫ (Бібліятэка Свабоды. ХХІ стагодзьдзе.) [Uładzimir Arłou. The Names of Freedom (The Library of Freedom. ХХІ century).] (PDF) (in Belarusian) (4-е выд., дап. ed.). Радыё Свабодная Эўропа / Радыё Свабода - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. pp. 118–119.
  17. ^ "Lithuania (M2TW-K-TC faction)". wiki.totalwar.com. Retrieved November 27, 2019.

External linksEdit