TRAKAI ISLAND CASTLE AND MUSEUM
Trakai Island Castle is a Gothic castle located on one of the many islands of Lake Galvė. Studies show that before the construction of this castle began, there were three small islands here and a swampy area between them.
Trakai Island Castle is a masterpiece of medieval Lithuanian defensive architecture, the only water castle in all of Eastern Europe. During the reign of Duke Vytautas the Great, a new modern Gothic brick castle was built, originally combining defensive and residential purposes. After the Battle of Grunwald (1410), when the Teutonic Order was crushed, the Island Castle became the residence of the Grand Duke. XV a. At the beginning of the 19th century, Trakai was a prosperous city, visited by many merchants, honorable guests, and foreign envoys, who were received in the representative hall of the Island Palace.
In this castle in 1430. October 27 Vytautas the Great died.
16th century After the loss of the military function and the loss of the role of the residence, the significance of the Island Castle decreased, and the Lithuanian Metrics were preserved in the castle in 1511. moved to Vilnius.
The island’s castle becomes a prison for nobles.
All the dukes of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania lived in the castle of Trakai Island. Only Sigismund Augustus broke this tradition, building a palace for himself in Vilnius, at the foot of Gediminas Hill.
After the devastating 1655–1661. during the tsarist invasion of Russia, the city of Trakai was looted and burned, the castle of the island was destroyed and was not rebuilt. Only in the 19th century did interest in Lithuania’s past begin again, and restoration began. Although not much work has been done, they are very important for the preservation of the Island Castle. After the Second World War, the conservation and reconstruction of Trakai castles was continued by Lithuanian specialists. 1953 restoration of the castle began again.
1962 The island castle was transferred to the Trakai History Museum. There are expositions, exhibitions, concerts, festivals and celebrations. Thousands of people visit the castle every year.
TRAKAI PENINSULA CASTLE, SACRIFICIAL MOUNTAIN AND DOMINICONIAN MONASTERY
Trakai Peninsula Castle was first mentioned in 1387-1392. in the “list of Russian cities”, which states that in Trakai there is a castle by the lake with two masonry walls and a wooden upper castle. It is believed that the construction of the Peninsula Castle was started by the Grand Duke of Lithuania Kęstutis around 1350-1377. on the highest point of the peninsula – Victims Hill. According to legend, pagan rites were held there, sacrificed to the gods. XX a. in the second half, the remains of an unfinished palace were found on the Victims Hill. The buildings of this mound entered the defensive complex of the Trakai peninsula castle, and the Crusader chronicles call it the new castle of Trakai. XV a. the fortifications of the castle land and wooden structures were replaced by masonry. The construction of the castle was completed during the reign of Vytautas around 1414–1430. After Vytautas’ death, Švitrigaila and Žygimantas Kęstutaitis resided there.
Trakai Peninsula Castle was a powerful defensive fortress and one of the largest castle castles in Lithuania, occupying an area of 4 hectares and having 11 defensive towers of different sizes. In the second half of the 14th century, when the Crusaders attacked, this castle was the main outpost of Vilnius.
The castle of Trakai Peninsula is called the Great Castle and was one of the residences of the Grand Duke. Losing this role, the Peninsula Castle became a prison where enemies or prisoners of high origin were imprisoned.
After the devastating wars with Sweden and Russia in 1655. the castle was demolished and no longer rebuilt. Only in the 19th century. in the second half, concerned about the condition of the castle, restoration began.
18th c. at the end of the peninsula the castle was handed over to the Dominican monks. Here they began to build a large trinitized church, but when funds ran out, the unfinished churches built a chapel in one nave and a monastery in the other. 19th c. after the tsarist government closed the monastery, the buildings were handed over to the administrative institutions, and the castle territory was turned into a park. Since 1990 The administration of the Trakai History Museum was located in the premises of the former Dominican monastery.
The Dominican monastery complex consists of two two-story rectangular buildings, but the buildings of the monastery do not have distinct stylistic features.
Today, various events take place in the territory of the peninsula castle. One of the most impressive is the medieval festivities, during which medieval life is reborn.
ŠVČ. PARISH CHURCH OF THE VISITATION OF THE VIRGIN MARY
Trakai parish church in 1409. founded by the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas. The church was in the Gothic style. It is not known exactly when the construction was completed and the church was consecrated, but the pastor of the church was first mentioned in 1479. documents. It is believed that the same masters worked as in Trakai Island Castle during the construction of the church and the materials accumulated for the construction of the castle were used. Therefore, it is probable that the Gothic red brick church was built in the late 1990s – early third. At the beginning of the 17th century, taking into account the changes in the liturgy, the Bishop of Vilnius Eustachijus Valavičius rebuilt the church.
1655 – 1661 during the war with Moscow the church was looted and destroyed. After that, it was reconstructed in the Baroque style, and the interior of the church acquired baroque features. During the uprising of 1794, the church burned down: the organ burned down, the church and the roof were damaged. In the 20th century, the church building suffered during the world wars and was poorly cared for during the Soviet era. Trakai Church is currently being restored.
The church is famous for the painting of the Mother of God of Trakai. The painting is believed to have been painted in Constantinople in 1123. and 1390. Emperor Emmanuel II Paleologist presented it to Vytautas. 18th c. At the beginning of the 19th century, Pope Clement XI crowned the painting with a golden crown. This was the second crowned painting in the state of Poland and Lithuania. The first is in Czestochowa, Poland. The crowns of the painting of the Mother of God of Trakai were preserved in this church, which can now be seen in the Vilnius Museum of Applied Arts.
ŠVČ. CHURCH OF THE BIRTH OF THE MOTHER OF GOD
The Orthodox Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Mother of God in Trakai is located in the center of Trakai. This church is a single tower, without a belfry.
Although the Orthodox community was established in Trakai in 1844, it was decided to build a church in Trakai only in 1863. 6,000 rubles were donated for its construction by the Russian Empress Maria Alexandrovna, and 50,000 bricks were donated by G. Adelson, the builder of the Kaunas and Paneriai railway tunnels.
The construction of the church began in 1862. It was led by engineer A. Polozov, who adapted a typical church project to the chosen construction site. The brick building remained an Orthodox cult building of standard structure and forms without any individual features. The built church did not have a belfry.
1863 the church was consecrated, giving it the name of the Church of the Most Pure Mother of God, formerly at the end of the city.
The church was built in 1863. To commemorate the suppression of the uprising against the rule of the Russian Empire in Lithuania.
The Orthodox Church suffered during the First World War, when the church towers were demolished and the roof was torn down by firing on the positions of the Russians who had established themselves in the city. As a result, Mass was held in their own homes for a long time. Only in 1938 the overhaul was carried out and Mass was moved to the church again.
The church is the property of the Orthodox community.
New Trakai became the homeland of the Karaites, who in the 14th century. At the end of the 19th century, Vytautas the Great brought him from the Crimea and settled in the part of the city between the two castles – the Peninsula and the Island.
The first kenesa is believed to have been built in the time of Vytautas, creating a Karaite in this city. 16th century in the first half of the kenesa burned down during the city fire and in 1533. was restored. 1655 during the war it was destroyed with the whole city and rebuilt only later because the city was emptied and the community had no money for it. 1794 the building burned again during the city fire. The Karaites of Lutsk and Crimea helped to rebuild it at their own expense. The works were not yet completed when in 1812. the kenes was burned by the French army. 1824 The Karaites of Trakai appealed to the Supreme Spiritual Board of Other Faiths in St. Petersburg for funds to build a brick kenesa. Without money, a wooden kenesa was built, but the inside and outside were bricked. In the same year the kenesa was consecrated. The last major repair was carried out in 1903-1904. Since then, the appearance of the kenesa has changed little.
ŠV. THE BUCKET COLUMN WAS NOT TAKEN
An important accent of Trakai city is St. Nepomuk chapel pillar. It is believed to have been built in the 17th century. In the market square as an advertising column. And only later was a statue of the saint erected on it and it was called the patron saint of fishermen and towns surrounded by water – St. John Nepomuk’s Chapel Pillar. Legend has it that the caretaker of Užutrakis, who survived the storm in the lake, built it. The sculpture was demolished after 1863. uprising. Later rebuilt. The chapel pillar was also destroyed during the First World War. O 1961 in the autumn, by order of the Soviet authorities, the statue of St. John of Nepomuk was removed and thrown into the lake. However, the staff of the Trakai History Museum found and preserved the statue. 1990 May 16 restored and consecrated St. The statue of John Nepomuk was solemnly restored to its former location.
The image of this saint is used in the coat of arms of the city of Trakai, so it is undoubtedly an important symbol of the city of Trakai.
UŽUTRAKIS MANOR AND PARK
The peninsula between Galve and Skaistis lakes has been mentioned in historical sources since the 14th century. It was then called “Algirdas Island” and belonged to Tartar nobles, and later changed many owners until the 19th century. in the second half it was acquired by Count Juozapas Tiškevičius. After his death, the manor was inherited by his youngest son Joseph together with his wife, the Polish Duchy Jadvyga Svetopolk-Četvertinska. Here they founded the homestead of Užutrakis manor, known today, whose holdings amounted to 800 ha, and 80 ha were intended for the family residence.
Užutrakis Manor and Park is located in the Trakai Historical National Park, on a peninsula between Lakes Galve and Skaistis. It is a neoclassical-style two-storey palace with a terrace, a regular-shaped building with 4 monumental facades, designed by the famous Polish architect Juzef Hus, who became the compositional center of the manor house.
No less famous is the park of Užutrakis manor, created by the world-famous French landscape architect and botanist EF Andre. The park was conceived as a water park. On the Užutrakis Peninsula, a complex system of ponds, more than twenty interconnected and connected to at least one of the great lakes, was installed. Užutrakis Park is characterized by a unique diversity of vegetation. There is an extraordinary collection of grasslands, rich in alien trees and shrubs offered by both local and park architect EF Andre. Bats live in the old park.
The homestead and park of Užutrakis manor are being further restored. Currently, Užutrakis manor and park are used to organize various events.
THE HILL OF ANGELS
2010 near the homestead of Užutrakis manor, Angelų Hill was established near Būda village. The prayers of the people who have visited the picturesque area are already heard by 25 majestic oak angels, symbolizing Love, Faith, Hope, Peace of Spirit, Strength of Spirit, Health and other Christian values.
The first 17 sculptures of angels, almost 5 meters high, symbolizing Christian values, were created by a group of artists gathered by the famous Lithuanian folk artist Algimantas Sakalauskas, later carvers from all over Lithuania joined the project.
However, not only famous creators from all over Lithuania and foreign countries, but also some ordinary people or organizations wanted to place their angels on the hill, guarding the values important in their lives. Here you can even find the “Angel of Seniors”, which is carved from the old oak of Eržvilkas, after which the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas once spent the night. During the Soviet era, this oak was considered a symbol of awakening national self-consciousness, so the occupying authorities tried to destroy it. But the people cut down the tree and hid it. Many years later, the owner of the oak, after learning about the “Hill of Angels”, decided to resurrect it, creating an angel from the old oak.
Now every visitor to the Hill of Angels can bring their angel to this hill. They liked to hang the smaller angels of their desires on specially built metal “suns”. Others place their guardian angels just below the most favorite oak sculpture of an angel.
VYTAUTAS THE GREAT WAY
In commemoration of the 570th anniversary of the death of the most famous Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas, a unique project was planned and implemented – wooden sculptures can be seen on the way from Vilnius to Old Trakai. Wood carvers have created 9 sculptures embodying significant historical facts related to this prince.
The first sculpture is Vytautas the Great himself. His victories are symbolized by St. Sculpture of George. Two raiding Karaites remind that 600 years ago Trakai became their home. Vytautas’ mother Birutė can be recognized in the face of the Mother of God Mary. In addition to the already mentioned Vytautas the Great and St. The sculptures of St. George, to the end of the authentic Wallachian village of Old Trakai, where the Castle Hill with the buildings of the Benedictine monastery, the garden and the neo-Gothic church stand, are accompanied by the rhyming St. Casimir, St. Catherine of Alexandria, Kęstutis and Birutė, St. Benedict, St. Sculptures of Mary with the Baby, Lunch and Escape from Egypt.
THE HOLY REVELATION OF THE LORD OF OLD TRAKAI TO THE VIRGIN MARY AND ST. BENEDICT CHURCH AND MONASTERY
Old Trakai is the homeland of the Gediminas dynasty, the old capital. This area was first mentioned in 1337. In the chronicle of V. Marburgietis. It is said that in the 14th century. In the first half of the 19th century, Duke Gediminas built a castle in the current village of Senai Trakai in the Trakai district, at the same time moving the capital from Kernavė here. 1345 – 1382 The castle was ruled by Gediminas’ son Kęstutis, and in about 1350. the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas was born there. 1375 Kęstutis moved his capital from Old Trakai to the lake-protected New Trakai.
After Kęstutis’ murder, Skirgaila, who ruled the castle, burned down the castle himself as he approached the soldiers of the Order. Yes 1391 Old Trakai Castle was destroyed and was not rebuilt. 1405 The Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas gave the castle to a Benedictine monastery and built a Gothic church, which was built in the 19th century. was rebuilt at the end of.
VARNIKI BOTANICAL – ZOOLOGICAL RESERVE Cognitive Trail
One of the most interesting places to visit in the Trakai area is the Varnikai Botanical and Zoological Reserve, which is 3.5 km long. Of these, 1.3 km is a boardwalk leading through the Ilgelis swamp.
The total area of the whole cognitive trail massif covers 611.3 ha, of which as many as 450 ha occupy 100 – 130 m. old naturally formed mixed forest, where 130 – 150 m grows. oak. The reserve contains 600 species of higher plants, 16 of which are listed in the Lithuanian Red Data Book. 118 moss species were also found here (4 protected, and 3 more were discovered for the first time in Lithuania), 204 lichen species (4 protected), 441 taxa of planktonic algae were identified in the reserve territory, 15 protected insect species were detected.
The nature trail includes two types of relief and landscape: a hilly relief formed by the edge of the glacier with an old forest growing in it and a young forest planted by man, and an organogenic relief with remnant lakes (Ilgelis swamp).
The route of the Varnikai Cognitive Trail consists of 10 information stations, where you can see the most beautiful and hard-to-reach places of the reserve, provide visitors with knowledge about nature and local landscape. and soil moisture: at the top of the hill – oaks, on the slopes – mixed forest, at the foot – swamp