Most often when You hear Lithuania You think Vilnius. Gate of Dawn or the Rasos Cemetery are mandatory points, but being in this city it is worth to leave it for one day. Today, I recommend you to visit Trakai, located around 30 km from Vilnius.
Trakai is a city located in the Vilnius Lakeland, and lakes are the thing that adds uniqueness to this place. It is situated on a peninsula between four lakes – Galve, Totoriškių, Luka and Gilusis. We will get here from Vilnius in about half an hour. We were travelling by car, but public transport can also be found.
This city certainly looks good in the summer, but the winter view is also impressive. During our stay, the lake froze. We saw fishermen and children playing hockey, and the bridge that normally floated was on the ice this time. For many years, this city was the capital of Lithuania.
One of the most interesting and most photographic places is the castle. Most of the buildings are a reconstruction of the stronghold from the fourteenth to the fifteenth centuries. It was a typically defensive castle that made an impression even on the Teutonic Knights who called it a small Malbork. During the summer months, there are many festivals and events related to the history of the castle.
Trakai is the place where You can find the Karaim ethnic and religious group. It is a people inhabiting Crimea and brought to Trakai in the Middle Ages. A characteristic feature is the Karaim housing, in which the fronts of the houses always have three windows from the street – one for God, one for Prince Witold (brought Karaim to Trakai) and one for the owner. The houses are painted in vivid colours, and it is best to admire them on Karaim Street. In Trakai, you also have the opportunity to try Karaims cuisine with kibin (yeast dumplings with mutton, beef or cabbage).
While watching the castle, it is also worth going to the other side of the lake and visiting the Tyszkiewicz Palace. It is located in Waka Trotsky. The palace itself is impressive, but also the park surrounding it and the view of the lake from another side.
Vilnius is an interesting city and the destination of many Poles. Being there, visit Trakai too, because it’s worth it!