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coat of arms
coat of arms
State : Lithuania Lithuania
District : Vilnius
Rajong municipality : Trakai
Coordinates : 54 ° 39 ′  N , 24 ° 56 ′  E Coordinates: 54 ° 39 ′  N , 24 ° 56 ′  E
Height : 155 m
Area (place) : 11.52  km²
Community area : 1,208  km²
Inhabitants (place) : 4,298 (2018)
Population density : 373 inhabitants per km²
Inhabitant (municipality) : 32,744 (2017)
Population density : 27 inhabitants per km²
Time zone : EET (UTC + 2)
Postal code : LT-21001
Status: City and seat in the district of Trakai
Structure : 8 offices
Mayor : Vincas Kapočius
Website :
Trakai (Lithuania)
Trakai Castle

Listen to Trakai ? / i (German older Traken, Polish Troki, Yiddish Troke ) is a city and seat, but not the largest city of the Rajongemeinde Trakai in Lithuania . The city has (2018) 4,298 inhabitants and an area of ​​11.52 km². Audio file / audio sample


The city is located 28 kilometers west of Vilnius , the Lithuanian capital . There are 200 lakes in the area. The place is famous for its old water castle Trakai on an island between the Galvesee , the Lukasee and the Totoriskesee . The Galvesee with its 21 islands is the deepest lake in the region at 46.7 m. Its area is 3.88 km².


Today, in addition to Lithuanians, there are not a few ethnic Poles in Trakai , as well as Russians , Belarusians , Karaites and Tatars. The population has decreased by around 2500 people since the country gained independence.

local community city
Residents 32,744 (2017) 4,298 (2018)
from that:
Lithuanians ~ 53% ~ 60%
Poland ~ 33% ~ 20%
Russians ~ 8.5%
Belarusians ~ 2.3%
Karaites ~ 0.2% 65

Around 65 of the 257 Karaeans (or Karaimen) counted in Lithuania live in Trakai  . Trakai is the cultural and religious center of the Karaimen Jewish stream and older residents in particular speak the Karaim language ( Turkic language ) in the local Northwest Karaim dialect variant. This dialect was formed primarily through adjustments to the languages ​​of the surrounding languages, namely through a very pronounced takeover of pronunciation peculiarities, words and grammatical structures from Lithuanian , Polish , and then Russian . There was also an influence that was not entirely clear through contact with East Yiddish .


Karaean Synagogue (Kenasa) near Trakai
St. John Nepomuk

Old Trakai was the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania for seven years from 1316 to 1323 in the Middle Ages . Legend has it that Gediminas was on a hunt, found a beautiful hill in the forest in the area and moved the capital from Kernave here. Trakai was mentioned in a document in 1337.

The 13th and 14th centuries were marked by battles against the crusaders of the Teutonic Order . During the second half of the 14th century, a stone castle was built in Old Trakai, the temporary residence of the Grand Duke. At the end of the 14th century the castle was destroyed and not rebuilt. A neo-Gothic church was built in its place in the second half of the 19th century. The remains of a Benedictine monastery can be seen in the vicinity. There was the Traken District in the Traken Voivodeship of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Neu-Trakai, today's town of Trakai, is three kilometers from the Alt-Trakai castle complex. The city of Trakai could not expand after the Middle Ages due to its location between the lakes.


The area of ​​the old town is 169 hectares and is one of five old towns in Lithuania under the protection of the state. The city is worth seeing for its unique geographical location and wooden architecture. The urban structure is extraordinary - linear in summer (the city stretches along the lake), radial in winter (you can use the frozen lakes as paths). The main road crosses the entire peninsula on which the city is located.

The former market square is marked by the chapel column with the sculpture of St.  John Nepomuk . Nepomuk is the patron saint of fishermen and towns on the water (18th century).

A blue house can be seen next to the market square, which is the building of the old post office. It was built by Dominicans . Today it is used by the administration of the Trakai Historical National Park .

The Dominican monastery was closed at the end of the 19th century. After that, the building survived many conversions (from the monastery to the KGB branch). Today it houses the administration of the Trakai Historical Museum.

Not far from the hill is the Basilica of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary . In 1409 it was donated by Vytautas the Great as a parish church. It used to be part of the Traka City protection system. It was built in the Gothic style. The church was rebuilt in the 17th and 18th centuries. The facade and the interior decoration show features of the Gothic and Baroque. She is known through the image of Our Lady of Trakai. At the beginning of the 18th century, the virgin depicted in the picture was crowned the patron saint of Lithuania with a golden crown given by the Pope. In 2017 she became a minor basilica.

A house of Karaites in Trakai

A quarter with wooden houses has been preserved on the northern side of the city. It is one of the most important historical elements of Trakai. Karäerstrasse is the continuation of Vytautas Street, which connects the Christian with the so-called "Little Town". The small town was settled by Tatars and Karaites. The Karaitic kenessa dates from the 18th century. As an ethnographic attraction, the quarter of one-story wooden houses is under the protection of the state. The houses face the street with their gables and have three windows: one window is dedicated to God, the second to Vytautas, and the third to oneself.

The Trakai District Court (court of first instance) has its seat in the city .


View of the castle
Access to the castle
View of the castle
The castle ruins before reconstruction, around 1880

The two castles are the most architecturally significant defense complex in Lithuania. The founding of the city in the 13th century coincided with that of the Lithuanian state. The newly established state had to withstand invasions from Christian Europe for 200 years. The knights tried to avoid the area, the castle team was invincible to them.

View of the castle in the autumnal evening sun
Castle at night
Trakai Castle in autumn 2011

Peninsula castle

In the crusader chronicle it is reported that this is the new castle of Trakai. The old wooden castle was replaced by a stone one.

In the height between two lakes - Bernardinu and Galves - stood a peninsula castle, which was separated from the city by a wall and a deep moat. The castle was protected by eleven defense towers. It was attacked several times - not only by the knights of the order, but also damaged by internal wars between the princes of Lithuania. After the Tannenberg Battle in 1410, work began on rebuilding the castle. However, after the death of Vytauta the Great, the work was not finished. In the 18th century, members of the Dominican order came here who had built a monastery and a chapel here. Later it was finally destroyed. Restoration work was not carried out until the second half of the 19th century.

Today the peninsula castle is known for the traditional medieval festival. Life in the Middle Ages is presented through craftsmen and knight fights.

Stairs lead to the Auku mountain (sacrificial mountain). Legend has it that pagan rituals were performed here and sacrifices were made to the gods. In the second half of the 20th century, the remains of the never completed 15th century palace were discovered.


In 1414 the Flemish knight Ghillbert de Lanois (Lanua) characterized the castle as follows in his travelogues: the castle stands in the middle of the lake, a cannon shot from the old castle. It is a brickwork, built according to French tradition. The castle stood 220 m from the shore.

The castle consists of two main parts:

Princely palace in the form of a U

Construction work began on the palace. At the beginning of the construction the castle was burned down. Later it was surrounded by the wall with buttresses erected on the edge of the island. A deep ditch with lake water separated the palace from the outer bailey.

Two oval wings from the palace were connected by a six-story keep .

The keep has a square floor plan and has become the main accentuation of the castle: the entrance to the courtyard is on the first floor, narrow and high. The only way to get into the courtyard was via a movable bridge and an iron grille. The guard had its rooms on the second floor. The chapel for the royal family was built on the fifth floor. The loopholes can be seen on the sixth floor.

The castle was last attacked by the Crusaders in 1403. After the Battle of Tannenberg, the attacks came to an end.

The palace is conventional, with three floors. Two almost symmetrical wings are surrounded by a wooden terrace. The masonry is made of stones and bricks of various sizes and has Romanesque and Gothic features. The rooms are equipped with the typical Gothic vault, the pointed arched windows are decorated with bricks in 15 shapes, the mortar was mixed from lime, sand and clay.

Outer bailey

That was the second stage of the construction work. Casemates and towers were also built at the same time . The outer bailey, in the shape of an irregular trapezoid, was surrounded by a wall with three towers at the corners. A prison was set up in the southwest tower. The lower part of the towers is square, the upper part round, the towers protrude to the outside. The masonry on the city side is thickest. In the outer bailey, the townspeople were able to take shelter during the attacks. The casemate rooms can be seen on the western side. The castle crew lived here, and utility rooms are on the other side.

The yard

In the courtyard

An air heating system was installed in the base floor. The hot air rose through the tube and in this way the brick floor was heated. Each wing on the floor has three rooms. The princely living quarters were set up in the left wing of the second floor. Only the two rooms of the prince and princess were connected with a door.

The great hall

The Gothic portal, vitrage, wall painting - in 1822 the painter Smakauskas fixed fragments, good acoustics, tapestries (from the present). The height of the rooms - 5.5 m, 20% original masonry.

Vytautas was educated, could speak German, Latin and Russian, and also understood Tatar. He was very hospitable but did not drink alcohol himself.

The frescoes depicted the life of the prince in the palace. Famous European statesmen, such as B. Ambassador of Venice, Magister of the Livonian Order and Order of the Cross.

Ona, the wife of Vytautas accompanied her husband on his travels, she could read and write. Her wardrobe was very extensive. The master of the order has sent her presents. Chess was played here and large festive banquets were held.

The museum has a total of over 300,000 exhibits.

In the 19th century, the castles were gradually destroyed by people and time. Efforts were made to restore the castle at the beginning of the 20th century. But it was not until 1955 to 1987 that the architects Bronius Kruminis and Stanislovas Mikulionis gave the castle its overall appearance from the 15th century.

Town twinning

Trakai lists the following 15 twin cities :

city country since
Acre Coat of arms of Acre, Israel.svg IsraelIsrael Israel 2015
Alanya Alanya Wappen.svg TurkeyTurkey Antalya, Turkey 2006
Avola Avola.gif ItalyItaly Sicily, Italy 2015
Bernburg Coat of arms Bernburg (Saale) .png GermanyGermany Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
Borne Borne wapen.svg NetherlandsNetherlands Overijssel, Netherlands
Giżycko, town (Lötzen)POL Giżycko COA.svg PolandPoland Warmia-Masuria, Poland 2005
Giżycko, land POL gmina Giżycko COA.svg PolandPoland Warmia-Masuria, Poland 2013
Ivano-Frankivsk Ivano-Frankivsk coa.png UkraineUkraine Ukraine 2006
Jaroslaw POL Jarosław COA.svg PolandPoland Subcarpathian, Poland
Yes, yes Yavoriv gerb.gif UkraineUkraine Lviv, Ukraine
Kondopoga Coat of Arms of Kondopoga (Karelia) .JPG RussiaRussia Northwestern District, Russia 2014
Lida Coat of Arms of Lidy, Belarus.svg BelarusBelarus Hrodna, Belarus 2008
Lutsk Herb Lutsk.svg UkraineUkraine Volyn, Ukraine 2010
Malbork (Marienburg)POL Malbork COA.svg PolandPoland Pomerania, Poland 1997
Mtskheta GeorgiaGeorgia Georgia 2014
Nowy Sącz (New Sandez)POL Nowy Sącz COA.svg PolandPoland Lesser Poland, Poland
Polatsk Coat of Arms of Połack, Belarus.svg BelarusBelarus Vitebsk, Belarus 2004
Qazax ГербгородаКазах.gif AzerbaijanAzerbaijan Azerbaijan 2017
Rheine DE Rheine COA.svg GermanyGermany North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany 1996
Schönebeck Schoenebeck coat of arms.png GermanyGermany Saxony-Anhalt, Germany 2003 *
Târgovişte ROU DB Targoviste CoA.jpg RomaniaRomania Great Wallachia, Romania
* Letter of intent


sons and daughters of the town

See also

Web links

Commons : Trakai  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Trakų rajono savivaldybė - Miestai partneriai. Retrieved April 25, 2019 .