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Trakai Island Castle (Trakų salos pilis)

 

 

Location: 28 km from Vilnus Map

Constructed: 14th century by Kęstutis

Tel. (528) 53 946

Open: May- Sept 10am- 7pm

Oct- Feb: 10am- 5pm Tue- Sun

March- Apr, Oct 10am- 6pm

www.trakaimuziejus.lt

 

 

 

Trakai Island Castle is located 28 km from Lithuanian capital of Vilnus on the island on the Lake Galve. The citadel was constructed in 14th century by Lithuanian king Kęstutis. Castle was badly needed as a defence against attacking Roman Catholic Crusaders. His son Vytautas the Great continued expansion of military fortifications completing the project in 1409.

 

Thick walls and good defenses served its purpose well. Trakai Castle was never captured by invading armies. He subsequently died in the castle in 1430. Trakai Castle consists of Prince's palace and a courtyard. The castle serving as the residence of the Grand Dukes also threw lavish feasts and receptions for foreign diplomats and distinguished guests. By the end of the 16th century Trakai Castle lost its military significance and slowly went into decline. Eventually it was turned into a state prison for king's enemies. Its thick walls, numerous guards and deep lake was suppose to keep everyone on the Trakai Island.

 

Main hall of Trakai Castle is located on the first floor. Its windows are decorated with stained glass windows and roof is made in a form of a Gothic cross vault. Prince's palace has nine apartments on the first and second floors. Private room of the Grand Duke also has a secret passage way into a court yard in case he needed to escape in emergency. The heat to apartments in the main building came from a kitchen situated in the huge basement of the castle. The basement also was used as a space for storage of food and treasure of the kingdom.

 

In 1419 the castle was damaged by fire. Black tires were replaced with green glazed tiles. Archaeologists managed to find both types during excavations on the site. After completion of restorative work and archaeological digs Trakai Castle was opened to the public as a Trakai History Museum. The main hall of the Prince's Palace has great acoustics so in summer music concerts are held here.

 

Karaim Cemetery of Trakai Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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