Cover picture © Credits to iStock/Krivinis
Cover picture © Credits to iStock/Krivinis

Kaunas Castle: Lithuania's oldest defensive site & its legends

3 minutes to read

Kaunas Castle's history starts in 1361. Standing near the Neris and Nemunas River junction, this castle, due to dozens of legends, is considered the most interesting castle in whole Lithuania. Also, it is believed that, because of many people being killed there, this castle is haunted. Kaunas Castle is probably not so full of ghosts, like in the Netflix series “The Haunting of Hill House”, but there are some things you have to keep in mind before visiting this place. So, if you are ready for some ghosts and legends of Kaunas Castle, let's talk about Lithuania's oldest defensive site.

Picture © Credits to iStock/esvetleishaya
Picture © Credits to iStock/esvetleishaya

About the castle

Let’s begin with some brief information about the second biggest castle in Lithuania. It was built in the Gothic style in the middle of the 14th century. The castle was constructed at the strategically good point. It stands at the rise on the banks of Nemunas River, near its confluence with Neris River. Nowadays, one-third of the castle is still standing in the Kaunas city. In this castle, one of the biggest attacks ever (together with the Žalgiris battle in 1410) in Lithuanian history was happening with the Teutonic Order. Three weeks the Teutonic Knights tried to take Kaunas Castle, which was protected by 400 Lithuanian soldiers and led by Duke Vaidotas. Unfortunately, after those three weeks, the Teutonic Knights had breached the castle’s walls and took the castle. It is said that from those 400 Lithuanian soldiers only 36 survived.

Picture © Credits to Wikipedia/Jan Styka [Public domain]
Picture © Credits to Wikipedia/Jan Styka [Public domain]

A legend about Bona Sforza and her soldiers

As I told you before, this castle is very attractive for its legends. For me, the most interesting one is about the owner of the castle - Bona Sforza. The legend has it that Bona Sforza was a tough woman with a sharp mind, who was keeping her army in the dungeons of the castle for so long that she even forgot about them. People of Kaunas believe that the poor soldiers are still standing under the castle and waiting for a chance to defend Kaunas Castle if ever needed.

The promise of Duke Vytautas

The confluence of Neris and Nemunas River always was an epicenter of various battles. When the Teutonic Knights took the castle and destroyed it, Duke Vytautas (who at that time was a child and saw the knights destroying his beloved place) made a promise to defeat the Teutonic Knights at least once in his life. And he had this chance. The Teutonic Knights were smashed by Vytautas army several years after.

Picture © Credits to iStock/Krivinis
Picture © Credits to iStock/Krivinis

Interactive exhibitions

Today, the castle is used as a museum, with interactive exhibitions telling its long life history. The museum attracts many visitors every year. So, if you are staying in Kaunas, make this site a must-visit. The Kaunas Castle museum is working every day (except on Mondays) from 10 am till 6 pm  (till 5 pm on Sundays). The ticket for adults costs 2,50 € and for children, students and seniors - 1,20 €.

Picture © Credits to iStock/krugli
Picture © Credits to iStock/krugli

Kaunas Castle, Lithuania's oldest defensive site, has a long and sad history. But this castle is worth exploring. Who knows, maybe you will hear some ghosts talking or the moaning of Bona Sforza soldiers in the dungeons. 

Kaunas Castle
Kaunas Castle
Pilies g. 17, Kaunas 44275, Lituanie

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The author

Monika Grinevičiūtė

Monika Grinevičiūtė

I am Monika and I am passionate traveler, an engineer, books reader and desserts lover. I live in a beautiful and colorful country called Lithuania. I will use my Lithuanian superpowers to show you that this small Baltic pearl has much more than you can imagine

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