Just 30 kilometers from Vilnius is Medininkai Castlewho remembers the times of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania. Letters written by Vytautas the Great came from here, and Casimir Jagiellonchik spent many summers here. And yet the main function of the castle was a defensive function - built in the XIV century. the stone Medininkai castle was the largest quadrangular fenced castle in Lithuania.

Surviving great times and reflecting more than one battle castle in Medininkai lost its significance at the end of the XNUMXth century, after a fire destroyed it.

For many years the castle complex was abandoned, but in 2012 its second life began. Today there is a museum in Medininkai Castle, as many as 4 expositions are waiting for visitors, educational programs are held for schoolchildren and adults.

Defensive castle and summer residence

Now the castle is located near the border with Belarus. In this place, he did not appear by chance. It was a strategic point protecting the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and its capital Vilnius from aggression from the east, attacks by the Order of the Crusaders and the Livonian Order. To make it more difficult for enemies to approach the castle, it was built in a swampy area, and its walls were surrounded by wide and deep defensive ditches.

Half a kilometer long, 15 meters high and almost 2 meters thick, the castle walls are another guarantee of good defense. To monitor the enemy, four towers were erected in different corners of the walls, of which the highest is a 30-meter donjon. It controlled the actions of the defense, watched who enters the castle gates.

On the upper floors of the donjon, the walls are decorated with paintings by artists - there were living quarters here. The castle served as a summer residence for Casimir Jagiellon. He did not want to take the children to the noisy capital, so he brought four sons to Medininkai - Jan Albrecht, Alexander, Sigismund and Casimir.

The second life of the castle

Despite the excellent defensive system, in 1402 the Medininkai Castle suffered during the siege of the Crusaders. At the end of the XV century. it was almost destroyed by a fire, after which the castle did not recover and was no longer restored.

For some time, the Medininkai castle was given into the possession of Prince Vasily Zhilinsky, but he almost did not care about him. In 1812, the fortress was practically razed to the ground by Napoleon's army retreating from Russia.

In the interwar period, Medininkai was part of the Vilnius region occupied by Poland - the town was returned to Lithuania in 1939. After the war, the castle was mothballed, archaeological and architectural research was carried out in it, but a new stage in the life of the Medininkai castle began only after the restoration of Lithuanian statehood.

Work on the restoration and restoration of the castle was carried out gradually, and yet today the fortress is already adapted for tourism, museum and educational activities.

There are exposition halls in the castle donjon: here you can get acquainted with stone castles, the weapons of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, see the exhibited cannons, shells and other archaeological finds.

The church stood in the time of Vytautas

Not far from the Medininkai Castle, which remembers the times of the princes, you can visit several other interesting objects. The fortress, built on a plain, contrasts interestingly with the second largest hill in Lithuania, Juozapine, which rises only 3 kilometers from the castle. In the Juozapinsky geomorphological reserve, you can also see the highest point in Lithuania - the Aukštojas (High) hill.

Very close to Medininkai Castle is a beautiful wooden church Pr. Trinity and St. Casimir. The parish church in the town of Medininkai was already in 1391, and the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas even founded a monastery nearby. However, under the pressure of the constant raids of the crusaders, these buildings did not stand for long.

The modern three-nave church with one tower was built in the interwar period - it received the name of St. Casimir, and nearby the Franciscan monastery of St. Casimir. Opposite the church, a wooden bell tower was built in the same style - the ringing of the bell reminds the locals when to go to a regular service, and when to a festive one.

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Gogolson
Gogolson
5 years ago

A similar project to the castle in Krevo and Lida.