Lithuanian Tatars discuss PM's proposal for community building on former cemetery site
Lithuanian Tatars discussed Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis' proposal to construct a community building on the site of a former Tatar cemetery in Vilnius as they held their first-ever congress on Saturday.
The Tatar cemetery and mosque in the capital's Goštauto Street was pulled down in 1968 to make room for new buildings of several institutes of Vilnius University.
Adas Jakubauskas, chairman of the Union of Tatar Communities in Lithuania, told the congress Skvernelis had said a Tatar community building could be constructed on that site in the future.
"When we met with Skvernelis, it was said a pre-design plan was being worked out for that place. The government wants to demolish those buildings and to build something else instead," Jakubauskas said.
"We have a unique opportunity to sign a certain agreement with the government if we need, for example, a culture center in Vilnius. This might be a unique opportunity for future generations," he added.
Some Tatars said a museum or a culture center could be built and others thought the former mosque could be rebuilt as well.
Lithuania's Tatar population currently numbers about three thousand, with the largest communities living in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda and Panevėžys and the districts of Vilnius, Alytus, Trakai and Varėna.