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Vilnius - Lithuania heart

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Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania

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Phone No.: +370 5 212 7470
Email: info@valdovurumai.lt
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Already in the 4th-8th centuries people lived and wooden buildings stood in the Lower Castle, current site of the Grand Dukes’ Palace. Most probably because of the suitable geographical location the place was eventually turned into the castle. Archeological findings revealed that in the second half of the 13th century bricks were already used for house-building in the area, and the usage of bricks became more active during the ruling of Vytenis and Gediminas. Almost every subsequent ruler added something of his own to their residences in the Lower and Higher Castles; a brick wall with towers girdled the Lower Castle. Up till the junction of the 15th and 16th centuries the Lower Castle was the residence of the Grand Duke, and competed for this status with the Higher Castle and the Castle of Trakai Island. It is known that Vytautas stayed in the Lower Castle for some time, although the Grand Dukes were known to travel all around the country and for not settling in one place for a longer time.

It is thought that in the end of the 15th century Alexander Jogailaitis started renovating the medieval building within the Lower Castle into the representational palace. The Duke’s residence was to be moved to this palace from the Higher Castle. Huge fires devastated the Castle and the capital in the first half of the 16th century. Afterwards it was Bona Sforza, the wife of Sigismund the Old, who wanted the Castle to be turned into the modern representational residence. Sigismund Augustus is thought to be associated with the extension of the Palace during the Renaissance. His aim was to get himself the New Palace next to his parents’ Old one. Vasas’ Dynasty also took a lot of care of the Palace. After the fire in 1610 the Palace was rebuilt in the style of Northern Mannerism. The Castle was rebuilt again in the third decade of the 17th century and gained some features of the Early Italian Baroque. 16th-17th centuries were a period of flourishing of the Vilnius’s residence. Many important guests were accepted here, privileges granted, money coined, courts were held. The flourishing of the Vilnius’s Palace ended in 1655, when the Capital of Lithuania was occupied by the Muscovite and Cossack armies, who resided in Vilnius for six months. After the Third Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Russian authorities started a deliberate destruction of the State, including the remaining walls of the Palace.

The first systematic excavations of the area were started only in 1987, and in 2000-2001 the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania and the State Government passed a decree to rebuild the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania in the surroundings of the Vilnius’s Lower Castle. The palace will have permanent expositions with partially restored historical interiors, educational activities, exhibitions, concerts, and conferences will be organized, the representative events of the State will be held in the Palace as well.

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Royal Palace Royal Palace Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania

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