October 13, 2012

Trakai Island Castle

Trakai Island Castle (Lithuanian: Trakų salos pilis) is an island castle located in Trakai, Lithuania on an island in Lake Galvė. The castle is sometimes referred to as "Little Marienburg".

This is a file from wikimapia.org, Author: ArnoutSteenhoek
According to the chronicle legend, after a successful hunt, Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas  found a great place near the town of Kernave and decided to erect a castle on it and move the capital here. In the second half of the 14th century, here in the Old Traki (Syaneyi Trakai), was standing stone castle. Rules to them in 1337-1382 son of Gediminas Kęstutis. Around 1350 in the castle was born Vytautas. In 1375, Kęstutis moved his capital from Old Traki to New Traki, which was protected by Lake Galvė. The construction of Trakai Island Castle was related to the expansion and strengthening of the Trakai Peninsula Castle. Castle in the Old Traki in 1391 was destroyed and never rebuilt. In 1405, a plot of land with the remains of the old castle was given to the Benedictine monks. The monastery stands on the old citadel.
The castle was damaged 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 and was severely damaged. Soon after the reconciliation between Jogaila and Vytautas, the second phase of construction started. This phase is regarded as the major development in the history of the castle. Apparently, during the truce with the Teutonic Order, the construction works were supervised by the Order's stonemason Radike.
This is a file from tautaiv.blogspot.com

Name: Trakai Castle
Location: Island Trakai

Region:  Lake Galvė


Type: Gothic

Material: Gothic bricks


Start of construction: 14th century

Condition:  opened to the public 


Website:  trakaimuziejus.lt

Trakai Island Castle was completed in 1409. It was the most powerful and the most majestic of all the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It was one of the most impregnable fortresses in Eastern Europe: the castle was never captured by its enemies. Trakai Island Castle originally combined defensive and representational functions, ie, functions of the fortress and palace. He is an excellent example of Gothic architecture. Center of the architectural ensemble of the castle is a princely palace, surrounded by thick walls and fortifications which is under protection of defensive towers. The state rooms of the palace is decorated with stained glass windows and frescoes, the main subjects which were scenes from the life of the great princes. Dwellings connected by an internal wooden galleries. Between the bedroom and the prince of the treasury chamber was a secret passage that led to the courtyard. The castle was equipped with air heating: Hot air rises through the pipes and warmed the cold stone walls. About unprecedented wealth castle reflected in the fact that, as is clear from the Lithuanian chronicles, even seat in the castle were gold.
Island Castle was once the main residence of the Grand Duke Vytautas.
At the beginning of the 15th century Trakai was granted Magdeburg rights. It was the decision of Grand Duke Vytautas, and in 1441, the order was confirmed by the Grand Duke Casimir. Cities that have such rights were required each year to pay tribute to the prince, as well as to repair and protect the castle.
After the Battle of Grunwald July 15, 1410 the castle lost its military significance, as the main enemy of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Teutonic Order, was defeated. At that time the castle experienced its heyday. In Trakai were magnificent receptions and parties. Many foreign guests and travelers described events held in the castle. Trakai was also visited by the Emperor of Rome, the kings of Poland and the Czech Republic, the ambassadors of Greece, Moscow, Tver and Ryazan Dukes. In 1477, the castle was visited by Contarini, ambassador of Venice.
In 1430, after the death of Duke Vytautas, Trakai was captured by the Lithuanian prince Svidrigailov. But soon he was driven away by Vytautas brother, Duke Sigismund. Until 1535 Trakai Castle was considered the seat of the Lithuanian princes. Here long enough were kept all documents from the office of the dukes (Lithuanian Metrica).

This is a file from the www.allcastles.ru
In the 15th century Trakai became a prison for prisoners of noble families. It happened after the Dukes of Lithuania became Kings of Poland  (king's palace was then in Krakow). Duke Sigismund III during his rule was willing to make the castle as his summer residence.
When between the city of Kaunas and Vilnius was installed the direct way, Trakai was located away from the main trade routes. Therefore, in the 16th century Trakai lost its significance.
In 1616 the Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland, Sigismund III issued a decree banning the military units to enter the territory of the city and looting of local residents. But despite of this fact, residents of Trakai regularly subjected to robbery. In 1655, during the war between Russia and Lithuania, Trakai Castle was abandoned and destroyed. By the end of 19th century castle was a ruin.
 This is a file from the ww.panoramio.com, Author: Yustas
During the 19th century, castle reconstruction plans were prepared. Its original frescos were preserved and copied by Wincenty Smokowski. 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 southeastern 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. The castle was reconstructed in a 15th century style.
Trakai Island Castle is now a major tourist attraction of Lithuania. Since 1962 inside the castle is a museum of the history of Trakai and souvenir shops. 

In the preparation of this article, were mainly used materials of websites: www.wikipedia.org and www.allcastles.ru.


  1. очень красивый замок.. вот бы экскурсию по всем этим замкам!!! ммммммммм

  2. Был здесь несколько раз, замок не только очень красивый сам по себе, но и в очень красивом месте.

  3. Да согласен замок очень красивый... полезная и интересная информация в статье, супер...

  4. I had been there in the far 1997. Simply wonderful.