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Gediminas' Tower and Observation Deck

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The Gediminas Tower is not only a hallmark of the city of Vilnius, but also a symbol of Lithuania. Therefore, this majestic building is depicted on most of the souvenir products.

You should definitely visit the tower, because from its top, from a 70-meter height, a breathtaking view opens up on the old part of the city, on the picturesque Viliya River, as well as on the new Vilnius with its European novelty. Here, the air above is filled with freshness, the crooked streets below with houses under tiled roofs seem to be an illustration from a good old fairy tale.

In the annals of 1323 there are the first mention of the castle, then all the buildings were still wooden. The castle was erected as a fortification under the Grand Duke Gediminas, who became the founder of Vilnius. The Crusaders tried to take him more than a dozen times, but they never succeeded. In the 15th century, stone walls were erected at Vytautas the Great. Their thickness in some places reached 3 m. Over time, the fortress walls and other towers were destroyed.

By the nineteenth century. only the Western tower remained, and even that was in a deplorable state. A fire tower was installed on its top, because the whole city was in full view. The ruins of the castle fell during the First World War, later in the 30s of the last century the castle was partially restored. During the Great Patriotic War, battles again thundered, as a result of which almost all the buildings of the old city were destroyed. In peacetime, the restorers had to work hard to bring the castle back to life. So he appears before the tourists now.

Gediminas Castle is a monument of Gothic architecture. It has an octagonal shape on top and a rectangular base. Three floors of the castle are now open for visitors daily. There is an exposition of knightly weapons and armor, mock fortifications at different stages of its history. The third floor of the tower is devoted to the history of the liberation movement of Lithuania, because the castle of Gediminas is a symbol of the national liberation movement of this state. It was here that on January 1, 1919, a group of Lithuanian soldiers hoisted the flag of Lithuania. Since then, on January 1, according to tradition, a solemn ritual of changing the state flag is performed on the tower. The height of the tower is 20 m; 78 steps of the spiral staircase lead to the upper observation deck. An elevator is provided for quick lifting.

How to get there

The Gediminas Tower is located in the old part of the city, not far from the Cathedral.

You can get by public transport to the stop “Karaliaus Mindaugi tiltas”: with buses 6G or 10, as well as trolleybuses 2, 3, 4, 17, 20. Another option is to go to the stop “Arkikatedra” with buses 10, 11, 33, 88.

A cobblestone path leads to the castle itself, along which you can go up from Sereikisku Park, which is a rather steep climb. For the convenience of tourists, there is a funicular upstairs, boarded in the courtyard of the National Museum. The cost of lifting 1 euro per person.

Time and cost of visiting

The castle is open to visitors all year round. From April to September from 10.00 to 19.00, and from October to March from 10.00 to 17.00 seven days a week.

The cost of visiting the tower is 4 euros. Pupils and students are presented with a 50% discount upon presentation of a student card, preschoolers and people with disabilities visit the tower for free.

Guide services will cost a group of up to 20 people with a review in Lithuanian at 10 euros. A tour in a foreign language for a group of 5 people will cost 10 euros, and for 20 people 15 euros. Guided tours in three languages: Lithuanian, Russian, English.

Gediminas' Tower

Gediminas Tower - a monument of history and culture in Vilnius, the western tower of the now destroyed Upper Vilnius Castle. It rises 48 m from the foot of Castle Hill (142 m above sea level). Made in the Gothic style, the Gediminas Tower is a powerful 3-storey building of an octagonal shape. The tower houses the Lithuanian National Museum with an exhibition on the history of the city. Here visitors can see models of Vilnius castles, samples of armor and weapons, and various archaeological finds. Climbing Castle Hill to visit the tower is most convenient for the funicular. Here are the ruins of the Upper Castle. Gediminas' Tower has historical, cultural and architectural significance as an example of the Gothic style.

Video: Gediminas Tower

The tower bears the name of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas, who is considered the founder of Vilnius. Presumably, it was he who initiated the construction of the tower, however, according to some historical versions, buildings on the site of the tower existed before Gediminas, in the XIII century.

One way or another, the tower was of great defensive importance for Vilnius and was part of the well-fortified Upper Castle, which was built in the late 14th – early 15th centuries, when Vilnius became the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It is assumed that the Upper Castle was erected on the site of a wooden castle that already existed before that, which dates back to the 13th century, even before the birth of Gediminas.

According to one of the legends (by the way, it is contained in the Lithuanian annals of the 16th century), Gedimin once hunted in these places and stayed here for the night. He had a dream that a big wolf stood on the mountain and howled desperately. The court interpreter of dreams explained to the prince his vision: the gods want to see the castle and the city settlement here. That's how the city of Vilnius actually came about.

The Gediminas' Tower is perhaps the only building that has more or less been preserved in its original form from the powerful fortifications of the Upper Castle. The wall thickness of the fortifications was up to three meters - the crusaders tried ten times to no avail to capture the castle. But gradually starting from the XVII - XVIII centuries. the castle began to lose its defensive function and collapse.

By the 19th century only two floors remained from the tower of Gediminas. A coffee house was located in them, and a wooden superstructure was made at the top, which served as a Kalanca, since from it the whole city was visible in full view. In the 1930s the tower was demolished and the third floor was restored. However, during World War II, the tower again suffered significantly.

In its current form, the Gediminas' Tower is a three-story octagonal structure composed of uncouth rubble stone and red brick. The flag of Lithuania flutters above the tower on a flagpole.

Since 1960, the tower has been hosting a branch of the Lithuanian National Museum with an exposition devoted to the history of the city, where you can look at archaeological finds, samples of armor and weapons of Lithuanian soldiers, a model of the old city with castle structures of that time.

Practical information

Address: Arsenalo 5 / Castle Hill
Phones: +370 (5) 261 74 53, +370 (5) 262 94 26
Work mode: May-September: daily 10:00 - 19:00, October-April: daily 10:00 - 17:00
Ticket price: Adult - 5 Lt, for students - 2 Lt Official site: http://www.lnm.lt
Email: [email protected]

Symbolic meaning

The preserved ruins and the Gediminas’s tower were preserved from the Upper Castle of the late 14th – early 15th centuries, located on Castle Hill, where, as is believed, a wooden castle existed from the 13th century, that is, even before Gediminas. Affected during the siege of the crusaders in 1365-1402 and the fire of 1419, the Upper and Lower Castles were restored and strengthened by the grandson of Gediminas, Grand Duke Vytautas.

The Upper Castle, unlike the Lower Castle, was not used by the rulers of Lithuania as a residential and representative building, but was an arsenal and a Zeichhaus. With the development of artillery, castles lost their military significance. In the XVII century, the Upper Castle came to desolation. For some time a prison for the gentry was located in its premises.

During the war of the Commonwealth with Russia, the city in 1655 was captured by the tsarist army. In the summer of 1660, the Polish-Lithuanian troops recaptured the city, but could not immediately take the Upper Castle, where the Russian garrison (from 700 to 1300 people) took refuge under the command of Prince Daniil Efimovich Myshecki and fired at the advancing guns. The siege lasted 16 months and ended in November 1661 with the surrender of the garrison (in which only 78 people survived, Myshetsky planned to blow up the castle, but the soldiers who found out about this opened the gates to the besiegers and transferred their commandant to their hands). The Upper Castle, which suffered significant damage during the siege, was not restored.

In the XIX century, the remains of the southern and northern towers were demolished. On the remaining two floors of the brick western tower in 1832 (according to other sources in 1838), a two-story wooden superstructure was built with the optical telegraph beacon St. Petersburg - Warsaw and with rooms for soldiers and officers. Until 1878, Castle Hill and part of the former Lower Castle were part of the fortress of the second category. With its liquidation, the mountain and the ruins of the castle became available for visiting.

The superstructure on the tower served as a fire tower, in the lower floors of the brick coffee house. After the First World War, the wooden superstructure was dismantled. In the 1930s, the third floor of the tower was restored. The tower was significantly damaged during World War II. In 1948-1960, the tower was restored and the surrounding area was put in order. Later repair and renovation work was carried out in 1995.

In 2010, a mountain creep was discovered, and by the end of the year the main work was carried out to strengthen and stop the creep on the Lower Terrace, and work continued for the next two years. However, at the end of 2011, tree felling began on the mountain, carried out by VĮ "Lietuvos paminklai" with financial support from the Ministry of Culture of Lithuania. At the first stage, about 200 trees were cut down, about 80 remained. By April 2013, absolutely all trees were cut down on the mountain, which significantly worsened the condition of the mountain and increased the number of landslides. In 2016, Castle Hill had to be temporarily closed for visiting.

Symbolic meaning edit |

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