capital of Lithuania
Russ. name Vil′na
The capital and largest city of Lithuania, in the southeast part of the country. Founded in 1323, Vilnius developed into a center of Jewish learning in the 1700s and 1800s. The city was occupied by Soviet troops in 1939, becoming the capital of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1940. After a period of occupation by Germany (1941–1944) during which most of the city's Jewish community was exterminated, Vilnius reverted to Soviet rule, eventually becoming the capital of independent Lithuania (1991).