Trakai Castle

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Trakai, Lithuania

Trakai Castle Reviews

jl_ghs316 jl_ghs316
68 reviews
Ok daytrip from Vilnius Sep 05, 2012
I decided to take a daytrip from Vilnius out to Trakai castle based on recommendations from my guidebook. It was a short bus ride and walk to the island that the castle is on. The lake setting and outside of the castle are both very serene and romantic. The inside of the castle itself left something to be desired. It was fairly preserved but the displays were just nothing spectacular. I would only recommend making the trip out to Trakai if you are running short of things to do in Vilnius as I think that the time could be spent better elsewhere or if you are a big fan of castles. The city of Trakai is nothing more than a few tourist shops but there is an interesting Karaism restaurant called Kybynlar. It serves traditional Karaite food.
Trakai Castle
Lake Glave
Inside the walls
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curdo1985 curdo1985
4 reviews
Gorgeous from the outside! Apr 03, 2011
I had high hopes for this castle before seeing, but I was rather disappointed with it especially from the inside! But if you're in Lithuania for a couple of days, then I guess it would be a must-see since it's not that far away at all from Vilnius.
mdanelaite mdanelai…
5 reviews
Most romantic thing to do in Lithuania Jan 16, 2010
Take him/her to the Trakai Castle! Even alone you must visit this place. If you are seeking for something romantic, buy a bottle of champagne, pick a nice day, and rent a yacht. Or simply buy some bubbly grape drink and rent a water-bike for an hour. Lovely time guaranteed! And the castle is rather spectacular. Later swing by Senoji Kibinine, and try a Kibinas with all sorts of fillings. Its the typical food of Trakai.
Chokk Chokk
1733 reviews
A wonderful place on a wonderful day Jul 26, 2008
I crossed the bridge towards the castle and enjoyed a young girl playing violin in the middle of the bridge and at the same time looked at the beauty of the lake and the castle; the castle is sometimes referred to as "Little Marienburg".

The construction of the stone castle begun in the 14th century by Kęstutis, and around 1409 major works were completed by his son Vytautas the Great, who died in this castle in 1430. Trakai was one of the main centres of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the castle held great strategic importance. I was quiet taken by the Lithuanian history when I started to read about it; the area had been a mayor war zone for centuries, just like in Belgium where I was living at the time of the visit.

Trakai Island Castle was built and improved in several phases.

During the first phase, in the second half of the 14th century, the castle was constructed on the largest of three lake islands by the order of Grand Duke Kęstutis. The construction of Trakai Island Castle was related to the expansion and strengthening of the Trakai Peninsula Castle. Kęstutis moved his main residence and his treasury to the Island Castle.

The castle suffered major damage during an attack by the Teutonic Knights in 1377. After the assassination of Kęstutis, a power struggle between Jogaila and Vytautas the Great for the title of Grand Duke of Lithuania began. The castle was besieged by both sides. Soon after the reconciliation between Jogaila and Vytautas, the second phase of construction started and continued until 1409. This phase is regarded as the major development in the history of the castle.

During the second phase two wings were added, and on the southern side a 35 meters high donjon was built. The donjon had movable gates which separated the palace from the forecastle.

The donjon was used for several functions; besides serving as another defensive structure, it had a chapel and living quarters. It was linked to the multi-story Ducal Palace, which had an inner yard. The inner yard had wooden galleries, which ran around the inner wall; these galleries were used to access various support facilities without going inside the palace itself.

The entire southern wing of the southern palace was used for the Ducal Hall. This hall was around 10 x 21 meters in size, and only the Upper Palace in the Vilnius Castle Complex managed to surpass it. The Ducal Hall has preserved some of its original décor.

The principal construction material was so-called red Gothic bricks. Stone blocks were used only in the foundations and the upper parts of buildings, towers and walls. The castle was decorated in a variety of ways, including glazed roof tiling, burned bricks, and stained glass windows. Its overall style after the second construction phase could be described as Gothic with some Romanesque features.

The expansion of the forecastle in the early 15th century marked the third phase of Trakai's development. The walls of the forecastle were strengthened to a thickness of 2.5 meters and raised with additional firing galleries. Three major defensive towers were constructed on the corners. The south-western tower was also used as a prison.

The top store of the towers was designed for soldiers and housed a large number of cannons. A main gatehouse was also constructed which, along with the Ducal Palace donjon, had movable gates. The gatehouse was reinforced with additional sections for firing galleries.

Near the inner walls several buildings were constructed, including stables, kitchens, and other support structures. When the castle was undergoing this expansion in the 15th century, the water level of Lake Galvė was several meters higher than it is today. The castle builders took advantage of this by separating the Ducal Palace and the forecastle with a moat, just wide enough for small boats to sail through. They were connected by gates that could be raised in case of an enemy attack.

During the 19th century, castle reconstruction plans were prepared. Its original frescos were preserved and copied. The Imperial Archaeological Commission initiated the documentation of the remaining castle in 1888.

In 1905 the Imperial Russian authorities decided to partially restore the castle ruins. During World War I, Germans brought in their specialists, who made several attempts to restore the castle. In 1935-1941 parts of the Ducal Palace walls were strengthened, and the south-eastern forecastle tower was rebuilt, including sections of its walls. Lithuanian and Polish preservationists worked on the project, but the work stopped when the war gained in intensity.

After World War II, a major reconstruction project was begun in 1946; active work started in 1951-1952. The major portion of the reconstruction was finished in 1961 and then the castle was reconstructed in a 15th century style.
Trakai Island Castle
Nice round towers
Corner tower
Inside the Trakai Island Castle
6 / 6 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
bernard69 says:
nice review!
Posted on: Dec 22, 2010
cneoridium says:
Good one!
I keep seeing more reasons to go back to Lithuania... My only visit was in the dead of winter while it was still part of the Soviet Union - so a little bleak!
Posted on: Dec 21, 2010
Chokk says:
Thanks both of you - it was truly a great place and worth while visiting
Posted on: Dec 20, 2010
138 reviews
Jul 22, 2007
Trakai Island Castle is located in Trakai, Lithuania on an island in Lake Galvė. The castle is sometimes referred to as "Little Marienburg". The construction of the stone castle was begun in the 14th century by Kęstutis, and around 1409 major works were completed by his son Vytautas the Great, who died in this castle in 1430. Trakai was one of the main centers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the castle held great strategic importance.

The Castle was in ruins , but have not been restored to its Century Appearance. When Lithuania recovered a portion of the Vilnius territory, including Trakai, in 1939, restoration work was continued before being interrupted by World War II and the attendant Soviet and German occupations. Recently it has been resumed under Soviet rule.

The Trakai Castle is a must see if you are in the Area and its perfect for day trips from Vilnius. There are several exhibits about the history of Lithuania inside the castle walls and you can even shoot with bows and arrows (5LT). Outside you can rent sailboats, rowing boats or pedaling boats.

PS: If you see at big blue palace on the other side of the lake its the Tyszkiewicz palace ;)
Trakai. Trakai Castle as seen from…
Trakai Castle the way it was befor…
Trakai Castle postage Stamp
Trakai Castle. On the inside
JoeriNL says:
Wanted to go there, just didn't have enough time...
Maybe next time :)
Posted on: Aug 20, 2010

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