Lithuanian celebrities are divided into two main groups: theatre–literary and sports ones. It happened so that the biggest part of famous people who made the republic well-known in different times is either the representatives of Bohemia or outstanding sportsmen. Besides these celebrities there’s one more group in Lithuania which is beyond any competition. This group includes national heroes.
There are at least three national heroes in Lithuania. They are all the dukes of medieval Lithuanian Grand Duchy. The first of them is Mindovg which is the most respected hero in Lithuania. It was he who founded the first Lithuanian state. Mindaugas is the name is chosen for boys very often today.
Gediminas, who ruled after Mindaugas, is famous for many dids, also as the founder of Vilnius. One of the main attractions of the capital of Lithuania is a tower of red brick which is now bears the name of Gediminas and is a symbol of Lithuanian statehood.
The third hero is duke Vitovt, its due to him Lithuania became prosperous in its Golden Age. Its boundaries in those times (15-16th century) stretched from the Baltic States to the Crimea. Commanded by Vitovt the greatest victory in the history of the principality was gained in the battle of Grunwald in 1410 when Lithuanian-Polish-Russian army smashed the Teutonic order. Vitovt is considered to be the last Great Lithuanian Duke.
It’s impossible to imagine Lithuanian culture without Mikalous Churlionis. This unique person combined two genius in himself at once – the painter and the composer. Music and painting by Churlionis is a kind of acquaintance with that part of Lithuania which is considered to be called “metaphysical”. There are two museums in Lithuania which offer people to get acquainted with this master’s heritage: Churlionis National museum of art in Kaunas and the artist’s house-museum in Druskininkai.
One more famous name is Thomas Mann. Despite the fact that Mann is a great German writer this name is also respected in Lithuania. The Nobel Prize winner is one of the first ones who could tell the world about a wonderful part of Lithuanian Baltic the peninsula Kurshskaya Kosa. The silence and serenity of these places arouse the writer build a country house in one of the parts of the peninsula in the village Nida. Today one of two museums of amber is opened on its basis.
In the newest Lithuanian history there’s a whole constellation of famous theatrical figures. Among them the most well-known are the director-experimentalist Eimuntas Nyakroshus (the best theatre director of Europe in 1992) and the actor Donatas Banionis (you can see his roles in films such as “Solyaris” by Andrei Tarkovskiy and “A red tent” by Mihail Kalatozov). Moreover he is a respected citizen of Lithuanian town Panevezhis.
Perhaps none of present day Lithuanians has done for the image of the country so much as the basketball player Arvidas Sabonis has. At the age of 17 he became the champion of the world (an unexampled case), at the age of 33 became one of the brightest stars of NBA. Today the name Sabonis in Lithuania is a common name. The champion owns several properties of Lithuanian real estate including the hotel "Pusu Paunksneje" 4* in Palanga and one of the most popular night clubs in Kaunas «11».
A lot of famous people have Lithuanian roots. Leonardo Koen has a grandmother from Kaunas, a notorious Monica Levinski consider herself to be Lithuanian, to this list we can also refer a creator of the minutest American coin Lincoln Penny, Victor Branauskas and the first director of FBR Alexander Bialskis.
And not so long ago Lithuania became the homeland to one more personage. It was, as it’s admitted to be called, “an evil genius of Hollywood”: the hero of the films “The lamb’s silence”, “A red dragon” and “The Cannibal”. It’s a man-eater Cannibal Lector. A creator of this personage is a writer Thomas Harris wrote in his last novel the suburbs of Vilnius as Hannibal’s place of birth . After the premier of the film “Hannibal:ascention” (a screen version of the novel) appeared a special tour in Lithuania “Hannibal in Vilnius” during which except for many other things the tourist is offered to take part in “Hannibal’s Fist”.
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Zachary Petkewicz is of Lithuanian origin due to his original family name, Petkevicius.