Trakai Island Castle – Trakai, Lithuania - Atlas Obscura

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Trakai Island Castle

Trakai, Lithuania

Over time, this castle grew to encompass the entire island. 

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Around 17 miles (28 kilometers) west of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, sits the historic town of Trakai, located on the shores of Lake Galvė. Near Trakai, the first castle was built sometime around the 13th century, and in the following decades, the town saw massive development and the construction of a second castle—known as Peninsula Castle. Lastly, a third one was constructed now known as the Island Castle.

Located on a small island in Lake Galvė, just off the coast of Trakai, the Trakai Island Castle was built at the end of the 14th century, but besieged and damaged by the Teutonic Knights in 1377. After being repaired, the castle was greatly expanded, growing to occupy the entire island. During the course of the 15th century, the castle lost its strategic importance, being located firmly in the territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It was turned firstly into a noble residence, with new frescoes and decorations, and then into a prison.

Damaged during a 17th-century war, the castle was abandoned and was in ruins until the 20th century, when plans to repair the castle started to emerge. After extensive restoration work between the 1950s and 1960s, the castle returned to its 15th-century splendor. Now, tourists can enjoy its scenic location and visit the historical museum inside the castle.

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September 7, 2022

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