Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania

Vilnius, Lithuania

The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania was built originally in the 15th century for the rulers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Royal Palace in the Lower Castle evolved over the years and prospered during the 16th and mid-17th centuries. For four centuries the palace was the political, administrative and cultural center of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Soon after the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was incorporated into Tsarist Russia, Tsarist officials ordered the demolition of the remaining sections of the Royal Palace. The Palace was almost completely demolished in 1801, the bricks and stones were sold, and the site was bowered. Only a small portion of the walls up to the second floor survived, that were sold to a Jewish merchant Abraham Schlossberg around 1800 who incorporated them into his residential house. After the 1831 uprising, the czarist government expelled Schlossberg and took over the building as it was building a fortress beside it. Before the Second World War it was the office of the Lithuanian Army, during the World War II it was the office of the German Army, and after World War II it was used by Soviet security structures and later transformed into the Palace of Pioneers. Fragments of Schlossberg's house have become part of the Eastern Wing of the restored Royal Palace.

A new palace has been under construction since 2002 on the site of the original building. The Royal Palace was officially opened during the celebration of the millennium of the name of Lithuania in 2009.



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Founded: 19th century
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Lithuania


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Marissa Horst (2 years ago)
Wow. I have never been to a museum that provides such a detailed, rich and comprehensive reproduction of the history of its city/country. We love history, and we LOVED this museum. It was fantastic. The museum has 4 different routes. Route 1 is by far the longest, and provides a history of the foundation of Vilnius/Lithuania and how it's intertwined with neighbouring countries. It also shows a reconstruction of the architecture of the palace and building around it. This route can take between 2-3 hours, depending on how much you read. The other three routes are a lot shorter: Route 2 shows reconstructions of historical rooms within the palace, Route 3 shows what everyday life was like in the palace and Route 4 shows temporary exhibitions. Which route to take is personal preference. You can do all 4 in an afternoon, but if you're interested in the history of Lithuania then Route 1 is more than enough. It is possible to get separate tickets for the individual routes. We went as a couple, but we saw families with kids as well.
Arturas Chmelenko (3 years ago)
If you visiting Lithuania and you are interested in history then you should buy a ticket to visit all 4 routes, but if you are not that into history then book just 1 or 2 routes. Be prepared to read a lot as it has loads of interesting information
Bill Dosis (3 years ago)
Huge attraction. The expeditions 1 and 2 are bigger and more interesting that that expeditions 3-4 and you need much more time to see them (we recommend to get the audio guide for 1 euro as the sound is very clean). You can pass through expeditions 3 and 4 faster if you are already exhausted from the first two. Have in mind that you can get a ticket for specific expeditions if you don't want to pay for all of them.
Saulius Zilis (3 years ago)
The history here is absolutely wonderful and extensive. We hired an English speaking tour guide and she was one of the curators of the exhibits and gave us such a wonderful explanation of the different exhibits. Lots of information that wasn't on the placards as well as some fun trivia about Vilnius and Lithuanian history. Very wheelchair friendly as well.
CL Huang (3 years ago)
The palace of the Grand Dukes is a very beautiful reconstructed palace. Highly recommended to spend the whole afternoon (at least 4 hours) to enjoy the exhibition. Please do rent the 1€ audio guide, they explain the architecture, history, how people live in the past and even some related background stories, totally worth every penny! The employees were all friendly. It was an very awesome experience.
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