Trakai Island Castle

The legendary fortress and the residence of the Grand Dukes of Lithuanian

Surrounded by clear lakes and picturesque coastlines, Trakai Island Castle dates back to the magnificent times of Lithuanian history of the 15th-century. It is believed that Kęstutis began building the castle in the 14th century and his son Vytautas finished it in the first half of the 15th century. It was built as a defensive fortress and it was never taken by an enemy.  

After the Battle of Grunwald in 1410, when the Teutonic Knights were beaten, the Island Castle lost its great defensive value and became the residence of the Grand Duke. On 27 October 1430, Vytautas died in this castle.

At the beginning of the 15th century, Trakai was a prosperous city with a large number of visitors, hospitable to travellers, merchants, honourable guests and foreign envoys. From 1413 to 1430, Jogaila (Jagiełło), the King of Poland, cousin of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas, visited the castle 13 times.

The period of oblivion

In the 16th century, the importance of the castle diminished, and the Grand Dukes visited it less and less often. Trakai Island Castle became a prison for noble people. After 1655-1661, during the war with Tsarist Russia, the town of Trakai was robbed and burned down, the castle was destroyed, it was not rebuilt and gradually deteriorated.

Slow revival since the 19th century

In the 19th century, due to the widespread Romanticism, there was a greater interest in the past and thus in the Trakai castles. The artists painted the ruins of the castle, fragments of murals on the walls, and the specialists prepared the restoration projects of the castle. Little by little the restoration of the castle began.

After World War II, the works of preservation, restoration and reconstruction of Trakai castles continued. Eventually, the Trakai Island Castle regained its 15th-century appearance.

In 1962, the island castle was transferred to the Trakai History Museum. It hosts expositions, exhibitions, various events, concerts, festivals and celebrations.
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