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.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

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

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Eugenio Bertolini (4 months ago)
It was a normal place, the nature is nice, the castle is not that good in my opinion.
Janika Härm (5 months ago)
Lovely place with lots of information about the history. 8 eur entrance, 4 for students. Great restaurants in vicinity :)
Jann Hodge (5 months ago)
Great little island rich in history.
Tetiana Hrunyk (6 months ago)
The castle is really picturesque, the expositions are rich, with lots of interesting stuff. There are some interactive things to. But the most impressive thing is the nature: the lakes and forests around.
Roman Pavlov (6 months ago)
Great place, fabulous scenery, cool lakes, big castle (with a number of rooms, which is still being restored and enhanced, from the very first look u can see that people take care of it
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Beersel Castle

The moated castle at Beersel is one of the few exceptionally well-preserved examples of medieval fortifications in Belgium. It remains pretty much as it must have appeared in the 15th century. Remarkably, it was never converted into a fortified mansion. A visitor is able to experience at first-hand how it must have felt to live in a heavily fortified castle in the Middle Ages.

The castle was built in around 1420 as a means of defence on the outer reaches of Brussels. The tall, dense walls and towers were intended to hold any besiegers at bay. The moat and the marshy ground along its eastern, southern and western edges made any attack a formidable proposition. For that reason, any attackers would have chosen its weaker northern defences where the castle adjoins higher lying ground. But the castle was only taken and destroyed on one occasion in 1489, by the inhabitants of Brussels who were in rebellion against Maximilian of Austria.

After being stormed and plundered by the rebels it was partially rebuilt. The pointed roofs and stepped gables are features which have survived this period. The reconstruction explains why two periods can be identified in the fabric of the edifice, particularly on the outside.

The red Brabant sandstone surrounds of the embrasures, now more or less all bricked up, are characteristic of the 15th century. The other embrasures, edged with white sandstone, date from the end of the 15th century. They were intended for setting up the artillery fire. The merlons too are in white sandstone. The year 1617 can be clearly seen in the foundation support on the first tower. This refers to restorations carried out at the time by the Arenberg family.

Nowadays, the castle is dominated by three massive towers. The means of defence follow the classic pattern: a wide, deep moat surrounding the castle, a drawbridge, merlons on the towers, embrasures in the walls and in the towers, at more or less regular intervals, and machiolations. Circular, projecting towers ensured that attacks from the side could be thwarted. If the enemy were to penetrate the outer wall, each tower could be defended from embrasures facing onto the inner courtyard.

The second and third towers are flanked by watchtowers from which shots could be fired directly below. Between the second and third tower are two openings in the walkway on the wall. It is not clear what these were used for. Were these holes used for the disposing of rubbish, or escape routes. The windows on the exterior are narrow and low. All light entering comes from the interior. The few larger windows on the exterior date from a later period. It is most probable that the third tower - the highest - was used as a watchtower.