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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Details

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

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

CL Huang (50 days 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.
Camille Le Baron (2 months ago)
Excellent experience visiting the Palace. Lithuania has a fascinating history that needs to be shared and known. The Palace or the Grand Dukes is at the center of this cultural heritage and a must see when coming through Vilnius. I definitely recommend the guided visit with Laura (in English). She was very patient and answered all our questions. Many thanks!
Vytas Neviera (3 months ago)
The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania is a renaissance style palace in Vilnius. It was originally constructed in the 15th century for the rulers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the future Kings of Poland (the future state of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth). Nowadays, it’s one of the best museums in the country, where you can learn all about the development of Lithuania as a nation an the country, marvel at the most interesting objects that tell Lithuania’s story. Highly recommend visiting it on any day, but especially a rainy one! You won’t regret, no matter if you’re Lithuanian or a curious foreigner.
Jurate Baltus (12 months ago)
Grand place, interesting exposition, super museums guides.
Remis Van (13 months ago)
Palace of Grand Dukes of Lithuania - Historical and large palace.
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Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

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17th through 19th centuries

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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.