The Bastion of Vilnius Defensive Wall

A hill over Vilnius city called Barbakanas contains some masonry buildings. It is the former Vilnius defensive wall and the bastion. Nowadays used as a nice place to relax, have a rest or join nice friend companies, long time ago it was a place where trash and death flourished.

In the junction of 15-16th centuries Lithuania faced threat of tartars and fast growing Russia. Inhabitants of Vilnius felt unsafe thus they asked the then leading Grand Duke Aleksandras to build a defensive wall. Under such circumstances, the defensive wall was started to build in 1503 by citizens themselves. These who were too weak to brick the masonry, still had to build the wall of wooden sharp stakes.

The defensive wall was finished in 1522. It had 10 gates and 5 towers. In the 17th century, when again threat of foreign attacks appeared, the wall was reconstructed and the bastion of horseshoe shape was built additionally. It was constructed so that it could be used to repel foreign military forces. During Russian tsar government in the beginning of 19th century, the defensive meaning of bastion degraded and the former defensive object became a simple scrapheap of Vilnius city. Most masonries were poured with soil and thus bastion became not useful and dirty place. Only in 1966 thorough researched works were implemented. A tower was rebuilt, some inside lodgments where there were guns kept before and an underground tunnel were reconstructed. In 1987 a museum was established in the bastion where guns and other military ammunition of 15-19th centuries are exposed.

Nowadays the bastion place is called Barbakanas by local inhabitants. Young people like spending evenings there as the place is near the city center, a beautiful panorama opens from the top of the Barbakanas hill. However, the ambivalent atmosphere of this place is still strongly felt. Historians say that in middle ages many tramps or accidental passersby were killed there by felonries. There is nothing to be surprised about as the nowadays bastion was the place where canaille gathered. The bad spirits are especially felt in the underground tunnel. It is even recommended for people with weaker nerves not to go there despite the fact there is a museum. When you get down the tunnel, you start believing in a legend that many years ago there lived an ugly monster which was killed only by his own reflection in a mirror.

Believe it or not, the best way to find it out, is coming here! Spend some time over the bastion, take an excursion down the tunnel, imagine the former ugliness and death and you will reveal the reality of past. However, nowadays it is only memories, so keep it simple.