Biržai Castle

The Biržai castle is the best preserved bastion fort in Lithuania located in Biržai town, the North of Lithuania. It is a renaissance building which is a cultural and architectural monument.

Building works of the castle started in 1586 by an order of Mikalojus Radvila Perkūnas. The castle then was fenced with fillings and trenches filled with waters from a pond ( the oldest pond in Lithuania, nowadays known as a Širvėnos lake). An access to the castle was only available while walking a bridge built on the eastern bulwark of the castle. Inside the Biržai castle there were stables, food storages, arsenal, a mansion.

During the war with Sweden, Biržai castle was an important Lithuanian fort. In 1625 the castle was under a siege by Sweden military forces. 8000 Sweden soldiers besieged the Biržai castle. After the second assault they smashed into the castle and at the end the castle was ruined. Swedens took away 60 cannons. The Biržai castle was demolished by Sweden 2 more times during its` history. Despite that, the castle was an example of European civil and war buildings in 16th-17th centuries. In 1811 the castle was finally restored by graphs Tiškevičiai, in addition to this, Russian Emperor Alexander ordered to preserve ruins of the castle. In the 19th – 20th centuries a beautiful garden was lied around the castle. The system of protecting fillings and trenches remained till nowadays maybe these remains were conserved in 1955-1962. Years passed thus more and more parts of the former potent castle were restored and rebuilt. Powder flasks, a bridge, gates, central and the western walls – all these parts were professionally renovated and the whole castle became a significant part of regional history museum.

Nowadays Biržai castle serves as a museum and as a venue for various cultural events and performances. The inside history museum “Sėla” is established in 25 halls inside the Biržai castle. Visitors here can get acquainted with history of Biržai town and region, in addition, there is an authentic and the only one of its` kind in Lithuania tile furnace made in 17th century exposed. What is more, as Biržai is famous for its beer, a unique excursion called “Way of beer” here is available where visitors get more familiar with the details of brewery, beer tastes and hospitality of local inhabitants…

The Biržai castle is not the only one interesting architectural creation available in Biržai town.  Nearby there is also Astravas mansion located which is famous for its beautifully expressed classicism. Both these buildings are located near the Širvėnos lake so when you cme to Biržai, just look for the oldest pond in Lithuania and you will find much more than clean stretching waters including a bridge connecting Biržai town and Astravas village.