6/27/2004: The Castle of Trakai


Trakai Tour

The castle of Trakai

On Sunday, June 27, we visited the castle of Trakai.  Here's a little history lesson:

"Trakai was founded in the 14th c. when the Duke Kestutis moved his residence from Old Trakai to the Peninsular castle built at the istmus of Galvë and Luka lakes. The other castle was built on an island in the center of Galve lake, not far from the first one. In the 15th c. the Island castle seved as residence for the Grand Duke. A settlement grew around the castle. The approuches to the settlement were protected by the Old Trakai, Streva, Brazuole, Daniliskes and other castle hills.In the second half of the 14th c. and later Trakai was a major political and administrative centre of Lithuania. At the end of the 14th c. the Grand Duke Vytautas brought the Karaite and Tartar to Lithuania to serve as guards at the Duke’s castle and as personal guards of the Grand Duke Vytautas himself. In the 16th c. Trakai lost its importance as the political centre. During the war with Russia( 17th c.) the town was robbed and burnt down, the castles destroyed."   Copied from here.

One interesting aspect of Trakai is that it is the home of the Karaims (Karaites?), a Turkish ethnic subculture with similarities to Judaism.  The Karaims were imported to Lithuania by Duke Vytautas, originally to act as guards for the castle and town of Trakai.  The Karaims could be descendents of the Khazars.

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The castle has been renovated and restored, any D&D player would love to run rampant in the place.

walls A
walls B
walls C
walls D
The castle walls.  My panoramic skills need some practice.

Cool lunch spot   A cool lunch spot

Statue of Duke Gediminas 
Statue of Lietuvios Didysis Kunigaikstis Gediminas, 1316-1341.  Taken in Vilnius.