Gediminas Castle


All Lithuanians know a legend about establishment of Vilnius city. It was the beginning of 14th century when Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas stopped for an overnight near confluence of Neris and Vilnele rivers. That night he dreamt an iron wolf howling on a hill. In the morning his soothsayer Lizdeika explained his dream as a sign for him to build here a city as it will become a well known and widely resounded in all over the World. Gediminas ordered to pour a mound at the same place he slept. On the hill there a castle was built, the predecessor for the nowadays Gediminas castle.

According to archeological researches, the hill where Gediminas castle stands nowadays was already inhabited in a Neolithic period. In 11-13th centuries a wooden castle here stood. The same as Vilnius city, it was mentioned in 1323 for the first time. For more than 250 years since 1315, when a dynasty of Gediminaičiai ruled the Grand Duke of Lithuania, the complex of Vilnius castles served as a solid defensive structure. The complex included the Bottom castle, the Upper castle and the Skew castle. The Bottom castle extended in a territory of a few hectares. It stood at the same place where now the Vilnius Cathedral stands. It looked as a separate city as it included a school, an arsenal, stables, living buildings, a cathedral. However, it finally vanished in 1800. The newly built Palace of Grand Dukes of Lithuania nowadays symbolizes the former Bottom Castle. The Skew castle stood on the Skew hill, the same one which nowadays is known as the Bleak hill where a monument called “Three Crosses” is erected.  The Skew castle was burnt in 1390 by German Order. Remains of the Upper castle are still standing on Gediminas hill. This castle is also called Gediminas castle. There were times when it was one of the most important political centers in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. There is also a tower of Gediminas castle located which can be seen well from any place in Vilnius Old Town. The tower nowadays serves as a museum, an observation square and a symbol of Vilnius and the whole Lithuania.

The museum located in the tower of Gediminas castle is a part of National museum of Lithuania. There is an exposition called “Guns and an iconography of the castle” exposed. Visitors can get acquainted with models of the complex of Vilnius castles, historical weaponry and iconography of the old Vilnius.  Tourists can climb up the Gediminas hill themselves in order to visit the castle and the tower or they can use an elevator working there daily. Marvelous views of Vilnius city open from the top of the Gediminas hill. Some people, especially youth, like settling on a spacious stone fence here and watch the city life from above. It is an impressive place where young fellows like to take their girlfriends, city guides always include this destination to tours around Vilnius, the hill is often visited by schoolchildren excursions and separate tourists. The only inconvenience about the place is that you must be on time to get down the hill in order not to be locked in the hill territory.  The hill is not available to climb up all day  long.

Open hours:
May 1 – September 30:   10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
October 1 – April 30:  Tue – Sun  - 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Entrance : 2-5 litas


View from Gediminas tower