Vilnius is the largest city and the capital of Lithuania, with a population of 553,904 (850,700 together with Vilnius County) as of December 2005. It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County.
Vilnius has also been known by many names in different languages throughout its history. Some historians identify the city with Voruta, a legendary capital of Mindaugas who was crowned in 1253 as King of Lithuania.
The city was first mentioned in written sources in 1323, in letters of Grand Duke Gediminas that were sent to German cities and invited Germans and members of the Jewish community to settle in the capital city.
In 2009 Vilnius will be the capital of European Culture. Among the initiatives promoted by Lithuania for this event, the historical centre of the city has been restored and its main monuments have been renewed.