Lithuania's Famous Medieval Stronghold
A formidable stronghold for any invader to overcome, the Island Castle in Trakai was built as a seat of power during the reign of Vytautas the Great and completed just before The Grand Duchy's crushing Victory over the Teutonic Knightsat the Battle of Grunwald.
As Vilnius grew in importance, Trakai lost its significance and was destroyed by the Cossaksduring the 1655 Russian invasion. In the late 19th century, the elegiac island ruins captured the imaginations of poets and painters during the national revival. Oddly, it was the Societ authorities who, in the 1950s, sanctioned the reconstruction of this monument to Lithuania's glorious past. It was completed in 1897.