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Vilnius - Lithuania heart

Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania. This town is known as the largest and the finest town in the country. MORE

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The Bastion of Vilnius Defense Wall

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Phone No.: +370 5 261 2149
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Opening Hours: Closed. Repair
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Increased Tatar attack danger and the expansion of the centralized state of Russia led to the beginning of the Vilnius defense wall construction works in 1503, when the city-dwellers requested for a wall to be built. The Grand Duke of Lithuania Alexander contented the request, and the works were started. Every city-dweller had to take part in the constructions, regardless of the social status. Vilnius Voivode Michal Radvila the Old was entrusted with the responsibility to delineate the borders of the wall and mark gate places. The wall was finally built 20 years later, and in 1522 the length of the wall was 2.5 kilometers; it had ten gates and five towers.

In the 17th century when the danger of Moscow and Sweden arose, the question of the city’s security was brought up again, and the Bastion was built not far from Subacius Gate. Bastion is a Renaissance defensive installation of the original construction. It consists of a tower, installed in the defensive city wall, underground cannon premises, and a corridor connecting them – a tunnel of 48 meters. The purpose of the Bastion was to repulse the enemy away from the city using artillery fire. Vilnius Bastion was damaged during the war with Moscow in 1655 – 1661.

The defensive purpose of the Bastion diminished in time. Almost all defensive fortifications of the city were brought down under the efforts of the Czar administration in the beginning of the 19th century. The territory became city’s dumpsite, and its ditches and walls were buried underground. During the World Wars the remaining premises were used as a hiding place and armory.

There is a legend related to the Bastion vaults about a basilisk – a dragon, which could turn a man into stone only by looking at him. Student carnival processions with the basilisk pictures were popular before the World War II.

The ditches and walls of the Bastion were excavated in 1965 – 1970. The premises were adapted to the needs of the museum in 1985 – 1986, and another year later the exposition of defensive fortifications and armors was opened. The exposition consists of the arms and armaments of the 15th – 19th century: stone cannon shells, old cannons, and riders’ armor. The Vilnius Old Town view opens up from the viewing platform.

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