Lost City. The Postal History of Naujoji Vilnia

One Frame Exhibit


Naujoji Vilnia (Polish: Nowa Wilejka), which is now a district in Eastern Vilnius, situated along the banks of the Vilnia (Polish: Wilejka) River, was once an independent city. It became an small town in the second half of the 19th century when the Warsaw – Saint Petersburg Railway was built. It grew as a narrow strip along the rails. In the period from 1871 to 1874 the railway line Libava-Romny was built crossing towns such as Mazeikiai, Radviliskis, Kaisiadorys, and Naujoji Vilnia. The line was mainly used for transporting grains and other agricultural products from Ukraine to the port of Libava (now Liepaja, Latvia). Before the World War I, Naujoji Vilnia was one of the most industrialized cities in Lithuania, growing to 10,000 inhabitants in 1903. When Naujoji Vilnia was passed to Poland in 1922, it had a number of manufacturing factories, including wood products, yeast, knives, paper, and knitting mills. At the same time, the city became a highly militarized territory. During mass deportations to Siberia in June 1941, some 30,000 deportees passed through Naujoji Vilnia railway station. After the World War II, former factories were nationalized by the Soviet authorities and converted into large factories for machine tools, agricultural equipment and others.

This exhibit illustrates the postal history of Naujoji Vilnia for the period between 1903 (when on the 3rd of April, the Emperor Nicholas II order was declared “About the settlement near Libava – Romny railway station Vileiskaya to be transformed into the city named Novo-Vileisk” (the ordinance entered into force on June 26) and 1957+ (when the city was already merged to Vilnius). The history of Naujoji Vilnia during this period reflects vital and dramatic years. More than 10 real or formal powers left their own marks in memory through envelopes and postcards. The name of the city also changed several times. Due to various circumstances, postal material from Naujoji Vilnia of all times is extremely rare.

First Frame