This building was constructed to be a bastion in the city’s defensive walls, and it has now been renovated and modernised to convert it into a museum. The bastion dates from the early sixteenth century, but it was badly damaged during a war with the Russians in the seventeenth century. It then fell into disuse and was partly lost, although the legends of its existence continued, and partly used for a random range of purposes including as the city dump.
Part of the exterior wall, which I’m assuming they left like this during the renovations, as the rest is perfectly repaired. Unless they just repaired this bit badly and it promptly fell down.
After entering the museum there’s the option of walking out onto the top of the bastion, which gives decent views over the city. Unfortunately it was quite foggy, so the views weren’t perfect, but fortunately I had been up the Gediminas Tower the day before to get photos of Vilnius.
I don’t know where the museum has acquired its security guard from, but he was brilliant. Friendly, engaging and keen to explain the museum as well as converse with visitors. It’s clear that he really likes to see visitors and I’m sure he enhanced the experience for many people. Above is the view from the upper platform, with the modern cannons.
There were steps down into the base of the bastion, although I took this photo on the way back up into the museum.
The whole underground area was much bigger than I expected, in a large semicircle.
Items which have been found during an archaeological dig at the site.
These gloves and the bag weren’t found at this site, but they were uncovered elsewhere in Lithuania. They’re from the sixteenth century, so the level of preservation is excellent given that age.
This is the legend of the Basilisk, a dragon which could turn people into stone. Unfortunately the dragon was stupid, so when it looked into a mirror placed in front of him, he turned himself into stone. However, his howls are still said to be heard in the bastion……
This was a beautifully put together museum, interesting information boards and lots of details about the city wall and all of the gates which once existed. The staff were full of enthusiasm, particularly the security guard, and it’s a snapshot of the city’s history which was nearly lost for so long.