The CULT-TIPS partners are spread across the whole of Europe and live close to some fascinating cultural heritage. In this series of blog posts we'd like to introduce you to some of the iconic heritage that our partners want to share!
Kaunas castle: the oldest defensive building in Lithuania
The history of Kaunas Castle begins in 1361. Located near the junction of the Neris and Nemunas rivers, this castle is considered the most interesting castle in all of Lithuania due to dozens of legends. It is also believed that, because of the many deaths there, this castle is haunted. So, if you are ready for some ghosts and legends of Kaunas Castle, let's talk about Lithuania's oldest defensive site.
About the castle
Let's start with some brief information about Lithuania's second largest castle. It was built in the mid-14th century in Gothic style. The castle was built at the strategically good point. It stands on the bank of the Nemunas River, near its confluence with the Neris River. Today, a third of the castle still stands in the city of Kaunas. In this castle, one of the biggest attacks ever (along with the battle of Žalgiris in 1410) in Lithuanian history took place with the Teutonic Order. For 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 walls and taken the castle. It is said that of those 400 Lithuanian soldiers, only 36 survived.
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 the owner of the castle - Bona Sforza. According to legend, Bona Sforza was a tough woman with a sharp mind, who kept her army in the castle's dungeons for so long that she even forgot about them. The people of Kaunas believe the poor soldiers are still under the castle, waiting for a chance to defend Kaunas Castle if necessary.
Castle Trakai, another castle in Lithuania.
Duke Vytautas' promise
The confluence of the Neris and Nemunas rivers has always been an epicentre of several battles. When the Teutonic Knights destroyed the castle, Duke Vytautas (who was a child at the time and saw the knights destroy his beloved place) promised to defeat the Teutonic Knights at least once in his lifetime. And he had this chance. The Teutonic Knights were crushed by Vytautas' army a few years later.
Today, the castle is used as a museum, with interactive exhibitions telling the long history of the castle. The museum attracts many visitors every year. Kaunas Castle, Lithuania's oldest defensive site, has a long and sad history. But this castle is worth exploring. Who knows, you might hear some ghosts talking or the moaning of Bona Sforza soldiers in the dungeons.
Lithuanian partners: KSDP
KSDP school in Kaunas is our Lithuanian partner. They are working with the other project partners to develop and test materials.