Medininkai Castle was built in the late 13th century or the first quarter of the 14th century. The defensive perimeter of the castle was 6.5 hectares; it is the largest enclosure type castle in Lithuania.

The castle was built on plain ground and was designed for flank defence. The rectangular castle's yard covered approximately 1.8 hectares and was protected by walls 15 metres high and 2 metres thick. The castle had 4 gates and towers. The main tower (donjon), about 30 metres high, was used for residential quarters. Medininkai was first mentioned in 1392. The castle was badly damaged by a major fire in the late 15th century. Because of increased use of firearms, this type of castle was no longer suited for defensive purposes and was later used as a residence. In 1655 during the war with Russia the castle was badly damaged and never reconstructed again. During the Second World War Germans set their gun arsenal in one of towers of Medininkai castle. The tower was burst when Germans retreated. The castle was not repaired until 1960. Only then slow reconstruction works were started, however, full reconstruction was not finished until now.

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Address

5213, Medininkai, Lithuania
See all sites in Medininkai

Details

Founded: 1392
Category: Castles and fortifications in Lithuania

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Mindaugas Pilkauskas (4 months ago)
Wonderful historic place, better to visit in summer. Though, beautiful view im winter.
Дмитрий Саливон (6 months ago)
There is a high fence and a tower, in which is museum and you can climb to the roof to see surrounding. The cost is 4 euros for adults and 1.5 for permission to take photos. The parking is free. The place is nice, we spent 2 hours there.
Rokabra Noname (9 months ago)
Exhibitions on 1st and 2nd floor made greatest impression despite not very many original artifacts are disposed. Good infrastructure for disabled is installed inside, information is both in Lithuanian and English. We liked that all major castles of Lithuania are briefly introduced both in written and paintings. Entrance fee must be payed outside, permission for photographing is charged additionally. WC is in administration builiding. Well spent time.
Redas Šimelis (10 months ago)
Interesting place. New, fresh museum with interesting expo. Would suggest to take a guide if you are history maniac
A Z (12 months ago)
Once an important castle with their own rich picturesque history.. it was demolished and now it is being rebuilt. There is no row of bastions, high walls, deep moat or raised bridges.. just fantastic view from the top of main tower. Quiet and calm place.
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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.