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 (2 years ago)
Wonderful historic place, better to visit in summer. Though, beautiful view im winter.
Дмитрий Саливон (3 years 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 (3 years 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 (3 years ago)
Interesting place. New, fresh museum with interesting expo. Would suggest to take a guide if you are history maniac
A Z (3 years 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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Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

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Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.