Trakai Peninsula Castle

Trakai, Lithuania

Trakai Peninsula Castle is one of the castles in Trakai. Built around 1350–1377 by Kęstutis, Duke of Trakai, it was an important defensive structure protecting Trakai and Vilnius, capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, against attacks of the Teutonic Knights. Much of the castle was destroyed in the 17th century. Remaining walls and towers are preserved and protected by the Trakai Historical National Park.

The castle had seven towers connected by a 10 m high wall. The three largest towers, measuring 15 m × 15 m, protected the most vulnerable southwestern flank. A 12–14 m wide moat separated the structure from the town. The castle was attacked in 1382 and 1383 (during the civil war of 1381–1384) and in 1390 (during the civil war of 1389–1392). After the 1422 Treaty of Melno, the castle lost its significance as a defensive structure. It is known that Grand Dukes used it as a residence. Sigismund Kęstutaitis was murdered in the castle on 20 March 1440.

In the 16th century the castle was used as a prison. It was destroyed during the Russo-Polish War (1654–1667) and never rebuilt. The territory was granted to a Dominican cloister in 1678 by Marcjan Aleksander Ogiński, Voivode of Trakai. It was not until the 1770s that the monks eventually built their monastery and church; these buildings are also part of the castle ensemble.

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Details

Founded: 1350–1377
Category: Castles and fortifications in Lithuania

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Augustė Giedrytė (13 months ago)
I live here so you can trust me. The peninsula castle is underrated. There’s a museum this one is not that interesting. This castle is basically a ruin but it’s a fun hang out spot. And there’s a hill to have picnics . The island castle is more popular. The museum there is more interesting and this castle ain’t a ruin but there’s always a lot of tourists there so u prob won’t take your pic.
Povilas Kripas (14 months ago)
Nice getaway place it you're short on time.
Andrejus Necvetnas (19 months ago)
One of the Best Historical and Beautiful places in Lithuania. Many lakes for swimming, Trakai Castle and just a nice place for walking. I personally suggest to rent a boat there and go exploring. + Good place for photoshooting
Patrícia V. (2 years ago)
Wonderful place to visit. I went in autumn and the colours of the tree leeves were amazing! It was so good to walk next to the lake.
Kishore Surendra (2 years ago)
Must visit place in Vilnius. Scenic castle, with a nice bridge connecting it to the mainland. Boat services are also available. It takes 45 minutes to reach by bus from Vilnius central bus station. Overall 2 buses : One bus to reach Trakai bus station from Vilnius bus station, and a bus from Trakai bus station to the castle. Most people go there for good pics and a nice time. So very few paid to enter the castle. People can walk around the castle for free, and can sit in front of the beautiful lake to chill.
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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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In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

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.