Vilnius – Gediminas Castle

This tower, at the top of a hill, is part of the former Upper Castle of the city, of which little remains. Known as Gedimino pilis in Lithuanian, it originally dates to the end of the thirteenth century, although was much modified.

The tower itself is mostly a 1930s rebuild which was overseen by the then Polish authorities, although there is some architectural integrity in terms of the restoration being authentic to its original appearance. Above is what the tower looked like in the early twentieth century, a much less impressive building, although it shows how much of the tower is modern.

It isn’t particularly obvious that the tower is open, and a group of visitors in front of me decided that it wasn’t open and traipsed back down the hill. I was less convinced about this situation and went in anyway, and they told me that I was the first visitor of the day. It seems that the tower was closed earlier in the year due to work needing to be completed to the hill itself, but it’s fully open again now (although much work is still taking place to the hill itself).

On the first floor of the tower is a computer simulated flypast of what the city centre of Vilnius would have once looked like. Some considerable effort must have gone into this.

The view from one of the windows on the first floor, this would have once been an access point to the former defensive walls which defended the castle.

The Lithuanian flag flying high on top of the tower, with this particular flag being from the national revival movement in 1988. The tower is seen as a symbolic location given its elevated position in the city, with a flag having been raised here on 1 January 1919 to mark the independence of the country.

    

The above are all photos from the top of the tower, with the weather being surprisingly mild given that it is the middle of October.

The admission charge of €5 seemed a little steep compared to the price of seeing other museums in the city, but it didn’t much matter for my visit as I got in free with my Vilnius City Card. A visit isn’t likely to take much more than thirty minutes, but the views across the whole city make a visit worthwhile.