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Trakai - second capital of the Lithuanian

Location: N54° 38` 20.0", E24° 56` 9.99" | Website: visit.lt/lt/ekskursijos-ir-paz...-programos

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There is no one in Lithuania, who would not have heard of Trakai. Apparently, Trakai is the exclusive area where all Lithuanian citizens have been at least once. Trakai is associated with the magnificent history of Lithuania.

Trakai is the second capital of Lithuania.  

The distance between the New and The Old Trakai is less than 4 kilometers. According to a legend, the Old Trakai, which are called simply Trakai, was founded by the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas in 1316. While hunting in a forest he found a beautiful hill, surrounded by oak forests and plains. Gediminas settled there, built a city and called it Trakai. At that time the ambitious Duke moved Lithuanian capital from Kernavė to Trakai. Trakai was the capital for seven years until 1323, when Gediminas moved the capital to Vilnius forever. Since then Trakai became the capital of Trakai principality and Samogitian sub-district, where Lithuania sub-monarchs began to reside in. Gediminas appointed Trakai to his son the Duke Kęstutis. Kęstutis moved the residence into a newly built castle on the Peninsula of the great Galvė and Bernardinai Lakes in the 3rd quarter of the 14th century. Since then, there are two - Old and New - Trakai. In the Lithuanian chronicle on the occasion it is mentioned that the son of Kęstutis Vytautas was born in the Old Trakai. Vytautas the Great ruled Lithuania in 1392-1430. He died on 27 October, 1430 in the New Trakai Island Castle. Vytautas the Great was then 80 years old. Knowing the year of death and the age of the most famous ruler of Lithuania, it was found out that Vytautas was born in 1350. 

Vytautas’ mother was Samogitian nobleman Vidmantas’ daughter Birutė. Lithuanian yearbooks of the 15th and 16th centuries keep one of the Lithuanian legends about the Duke of Trakai and a priestess of Palanga temple. Kęstutis met extraordinary beautiful Birutė in the temple and asked her to marry him. However, the priestess, the guardian of the sacred fire, refused, so the Duke of Trakai kidnapped her and brought her forcibly to the Old Trakai, where married her. It happened in 1349. It is supposed that Kęstutis then married for the second time. In this marriage three sons Vytautas Tautvilas and Žygimantas and three daughters Miklausė, Danute and Ringailė were born. 

The Old Trakai was outdone by the New Trakai. In 1391 the Crusaders attacked Gediminas built castle. It was destroyed but not rebuilt. In 1405 Vytautas the Great housed Benedictine monks from Týnec in his castle. It was the only contemplative monastery in Lithuania. 

Trakai Parish Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (14th – 20th c.) 

The construction of the building of The Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary was funded on 24 May, 1409 by Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytautas. A gothic church without a tower and with a stepped facade was adapted for the defence of the town as well. The belfry was standing separately. In the centre of the altar there is a famous Trakai painting of God‘s Mother Madonna known for its wonders, where we can see The Virgin Mary with the Child. 

Tours and sightseeing programme. You can get detailed information about the availability of the tours and educational programs in Trakai and its surroundings in Trakai tourist information centre: tel. + 370 528 51934 or e-mail: trakaitic@is.lt, http://www.trakai-visit.lt/lt/ekskursijos-ir-pazintines-programos  

Adventure parks: “Tony Resort” recreation and amusement park in Anupriškės, Trakai district. Tel.: +370 620 52636, nuotykiuparkas@tonyresort.lt, www.tonyresort.lt; „Ąžuolynė“ Krakės grange, Aukštadvaris, Trakai district. Mob. +37068561665 Tel. +37052865726, www.azuolyne.lt, turizmaskaime@takas.lt , Dinosaur Park, near the highway Vilnius – Kaunas and the “Karališkos senosios kibininės“ ( „The Old Royal Inn“) Sausiai village, Trakai district.