Trakai and Trakai Castle are important to Lithuanian history. Associated with the Grand Duke Gediminas, a medieval Lithuanian hero, Trakai rose to importance before the Grand Duchy of Lithuania joined with Poland. The area began to develop in the 1400s with its castle the center of the action, though the area saw human habitation long before these permanent structures were built. "Trakai" references the "glade" in which the area appears.
Two Castles, One Lithuanian Museum:
Trakai Castle is situated in Trakai, about 20 km from Lithuania's capital city Vilnius, so it makes for an excellent day trip. The Trakai Castle Museum is situated in two castles - one on an island in the middle of a lake, and one on the shore. There is actually a third castle associated with Trakai, but this structure lies in disrepair and is not a part of the museum complex.
Exhibits in the Trakai Castle Museum:
Because Trakai Castle has undergone renovations, it offers an appropriate home to some of Lithuania's most interesting archeological artifacts, religious objects, coins, and finds preserved from excavation of the castle grounds.
Information for Visitors:
The Trakai Castle Museum does require an entry fee, and English-language guided tours may be more costly than Lithuanian-language tours. The use of a camera within the castle also requires a small fee. The Trakai Castle Museum's official website is located at www.trakaimuziejus.lt and may accessed in both English and Lithuanian.
Exploring the Town of Trakai:
Trakai was a medieval capital of Lithuania, and it still retains its historic charm. Visitors to Trakai may enjoy one of the town's festivals, which include recognition of its history. Because Trakai was built in the midst of three lakes, waterside walks and picnics can be enjoyed. For up-to-date information about Trakai events, visit www.trakai.info.