Gediminas' Tower

Vilnius, Lithuania

Gediminas' Tower is the only remaining part of the Upper Castle in Vilnius. The first fortifications were built of wood by Duke of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Gediminas. Later the first brick castle was completed in 1409 by Grand Duke Vytautas. Some remnants of the old castle have been restored, guided by archeological research.

It is possible to climb to the top of the hill on foot or by taking a funicular. The tower houses an exposition of archeologic findings from the hill and the surrounding areas. It is also an excellent vantage point, from where the panorama of Vilnius' Old Town can be admired.

Gediminas' Tower is an important state and historic symbol of the city of Vilnius and of Lithuania itself. It is depicted on the national currency, the litas, and is mentioned in numerous Lithuanian patriotic poems and folk songs. The Flag of Lithuania was re-hoisted atop the tower on October 7, 1988, during the independence movement that was finalized by the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania on March 11, 1990. A reconstruction of the Royal Palace of Lithuania was completed in 2009, and is located near the base of the hill upon which Gediminas' Tower stands.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: c. 1409
Category: Castles and fortifications in Lithuania

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Michael Dzikovskyi (30 hours ago)
Symbol of Vilnius that allow you to take a look over from the great height. IMO 5 Euro entrance fee is a rip-off for what you get here, compared to amount of exhibits in Palace of the Grand Dukes or National Museum. I consider that big fee as a donation to ongoing archaeological work there. The only option to get to WC on the tower is to take the free funicular ride down, the WC is in the room, where funicular stops. The ride down is free until you want to leave the room, because you need 1 euro ticket to leave it (you can buy it there, if you wish to or take another free ride on top and go down by foot).
Alex S (8 days ago)
This is the old castle tower that has significant historical importance and was built at 1409. The great sight is opened from the tower to the city.
Chris Wilson (2 months ago)
Very much enjoyed taking in the history and impressive views over and around Vilnius. Entry to the museum was good value and it's a good work out walking all the way up the cobbled hill! Very much worth a visit.
Ann Wright (2 months ago)
Fabulous view of the city. Great exhibitions inside. Funicular wasn’t working and it’s a steep walk up, and more stairs inside so not suitable for anyone with mobility issues. But if you can it’s worth the visit
Frecky Lewis (4 months ago)
If you can possibly manage it, the climb to this tower is well worth the effort. Even if you don't climb the tower itself, the view of Vilnius from its base is still quite nice. We visited around sunset, which gave us the opportunity to see the city in the final moments of sunlight and then appreciate it as the sky grew darker and the surrounding lights came on. Great experience.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Eketorp Fort

Eketorp is an Iron Age fort in southeastern Öland, which was extensively reconstructed and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Throughout the ages the fortification has served a variety of somewhat differing uses: from defensive ringfort, to medieval safe haven and thence a cavalry garrison. In the 20th century it was further reconstructed to become a heavily visited tourist site and a location for re-enactment of medieval battles. Eketorp is the only one of the 19 known prehistoric fortifications on Öland that has been completely excavated, yielding a total of over 24,000 individual artifacts. The entirety of southern Öland has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Eketorp fortification is often referred to as Eketorp Castle.

The indigenous peoples of the Iron Age constructed the original fortification about 400 AD, a period known to have engendered contact between Öland natives with Romans and other Europeans. The ringfort in that era is thought to have been a gathering place for religious ceremonies and also a place of refuge for the local agricultural community when an outside enemy appeared. The circular design was believed to be chosen because the terrain is so level that attack from any side was equally likely. The original diameter of this circular stone fortification was about 57 metres. In the next century the stone was moved outward to construct a new circular structure of about 80 metres in diameter. At this juncture there were known to be about fifty individual cells or small structures within the fort as a whole. Some of these cells were in the center of the fortified ring, and some were actually built into the wall itself.

In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stone interior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.

Presently the fort is used as a tourist site for visitors to Öland to experience a medieval fortification for this region. A museum within the castle walls displays a few of the large number of artefacts retrieved by the National Heritage Board during the major decade long excavation ending in 1974. Inside the fort visitors are greeted by actors in medieval costumes who assume the roles of period artisans and merchants who might have lived there nine centuries earlier. There are also re-enactment scenes of skirmishes and other dramatic events of daily life from the Middle Ages.

Eketorp lies a few kilometers west of Route 136. There is an ample unpaved parking area situated approximately two kilometers west of the paved Öland perimeter highway. There is also a gift shop on site. During peak summer visitation, there are guided tours available. Visitors are assessed an admission charge.