The Vilnia (also Vilnelė; Belarusian: Вільня, Vilnia [ˈvʲilʲnʲa]; Polish: Wilejka, Wilenka) is a river in Lithuania. Its source is near the village of Vindžiūnai, 5 km south of Šumskas, at the Lithuanian-Belarusian border. The Vilnia is 79.6 km long[1] and its basin covers 624 sq. km. For 13 km its flow makes the Belarus-Lithuania border, and the remaining 69 km are in Lithuania until it flows into the Neris River at Vilnius. Eventually, its waters, via the Neris's drainage into the Neman River, flow into the Baltic Sea. Its confluence with the Neris lies within the city of Vilnius, and the river's name was probably the source of the city's name.[2]

Vilnia River in Vilnius
CountryLithuania, Belarus
Physical characteristics
 • location5 km (3.1 mi) south of Šumskas
 • coordinates
54°41′20″N 25°17′33″E / 54.6889°N 25.2926°E / 54.6889; 25.2926Coordinates: 54°41′20″N 25°17′33″E / 54.6889°N 25.2926°E / 54.6889; 25.2926
Length79.6 km (49.5 mi)
Basin size623.5 km2 (240.7 sq mi)
 • average5.63 m3/s (199 cu ft/s)
Basin features
ProgressionNerisNemanBaltic Sea

Springs along its length contribute to its flow.[3] A series of wells accessing the river's groundwaters, drilled in the early 20th century, remained a major supply of potable water in the city into the late 20th century.[4] The name of the river derives from the Lithuanian language word vilnis ("a surge") or vilnyti ("to surge"). Beneath it stands the Indo-European root wel-/wl- meaning "to roll", "to spin".

Vilnelė, the diminutive form of the original hydronym Vilnia, came into popular use in Lithuanian and in Soviet times largely replaced the latter because of Polish language influence — Poles translated Lithuanian name of the river with such diminutive form (Wilenka).

In an effort to restore the upstream migration of salmonids in the basin, a fish ladder was constructed on the Vilnia in 2000.[1]


  1. ^ a b "IMPACT OF SMALL HYDRO-POWER PLANTS ON SALMONID FISHES SPAWNING MIGRATIONS" (PDF). Vilnius University Institute of Ecology. Retrieved 2010-02-24.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Marcel Cornis-Pope, John Neubauer (2004). History of the literary cultures of East-Central Europe: junctures and disjunctures in the 19th and 20th centuries. John Benjamins Publishing. p. 15. ISBN 978-90-272-3453-7.
  3. ^ Cetkauskaite, Anolda; Zarkov, Dmitry; Stoskus, Liutauras (2001). "Water-Quality Control, Monitoring and Wastewater Treatment in Lithuania 1950 to 1999". Ambio: A Journal of the Human Environment. 30 (4): 297–305. doi:10.1579/0044-7447-30.4.297. PMID 11697266. S2CID 43418528. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  4. ^ "Changes in groundwater supply and consumption in Vilnius in the twentieth century" (PDF). University of Helsinki. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2010-02-24.