The Tribute to the Nation and Language monument

On 6 September 2009 at J. Basanavičius square a monument called Tribute to the Nation and Language was unveiled to commemorate the millennium of the name of Lithuania (1009– 2009). In the Interwar period an idea emerged to build a statue of Freedom in the central square of Marijampolė, but the idea failed to materialise. However, it was remembered as the millennium anniversary of the name of Lithuania drew closer. Sculptor Kęstutis Balčiūnas created a monument of pink granite and stainless steel, almost 20 metres in height and weighing 300 tonnes. The rectangle foundation of the monument is decorated with bas-reliefs: the first one is an inscription of the words ‘For the nation, for the language, for commemoration of the millennium of the name of Lithuania 1009–2009’; the second depicts a Krivis (priest) standing at an altar, an oak tree and a stone with runes; the third one is dedicated to Martynas Mažvydas and the first Lithuanian book; the fourth one shows father of our language Jonas Jablonskis and the words from the Postilla of Mikalojus Daukša. The four corners of the base symbolise the four regions of Lithuania. A rising spiral column signifies the hard road to the survival of the Lithuanian nation. At the top of the column is a shining silver rider on a horse. The horse is a symbol of the nation’s drive and its unstoppable movement forward. The rider is a free nation and the spear he is holding is a symbol of the nation’s word and endurance.