Wandering around Vilnius’s old town, you’re certain to see buildings drenched in beauty and history. One of the most striking areas of the city is Cathedral Square, home of the Vilnius Cathedral, the bell tower and an unusual colourful tile on the floor with the word ‘Stebuklas’ on it which translates to ‘Miracle’.
Superstitions and local legend says that the Miracle Tile has wish-granting properties and this is one of the reasons why many tourists flock to the tile for the chance of scoring some luck. Legend says to spin around clockwise three times, jump up on the spot then clap whilst making a wish. Even if your wish doesn’t come true, you’ll make a show of yourself to passersbys who might be after some quick entertainment.
Despite the superstitions, there’s a lot more to the Miracle Tile than what meets the eye. The tile is more commonly recognised as a symbol of one of the largest and most peaceful protests held worldwide and represents a momentous day in Lithuanian history. Between 1939 and 1991, the Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) were a republic under the Soviet Union, despite the protests from it’s people. Several protests were held over the years but the most famous was the Baltic Way. People held hands from capital city to capital city to protest the Soviet Union and to show their dismay with the political rule. From Tallinn all the way through Riga to Vilnius, the human chain was over 370 miles long and made up of over 2 million protestors. The human chain ended right where the Stebuklas Miracle Tile is placed.The Tile’s wish granting properties worked for the people of the Baltic States when each country gained their freedom in 1991. If you’re ever in Vilnius, look out for the tile to appreciate the history and politics of Lithuania, or to see if the tile has the same kind of powers for you.