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Gediminas Oak in Raudonė

Raudonė is a town on the Neman River in Tauragė County, Lithuania. The town is primarily known for its castle (Raudonė Castle) and a large park complex.


Under the leadership of King John of Bohemia and Duke Henry XIV of Lower Bavaria, an expedition of Teutonic Knights and other crusaders founded an earth-and-timber castle on the Neman River, opposite the ruins of Christmemel in 1337. In honor of Henry, the castle was given the German name Bayerburg (also Bayersburg; Lithuanian: Raudonpilis), meaning "Bavarian('s) Castle".

The castle was used as a base and supply depot for expeditions into central Lithuania or northward into Samogitia. A year later it was unsuccessfully besieged for 22 days by Gediminas of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. As Gediminas died during a later siege of the castle in 1341, a local legend attests that the Gediminas Oak of the park complex is where the grand duke was mortally wounded. His sons eventually conquered the castle of Bayerburg after his death.

In the 16th century the castle belonged to King Sigismund II Augustus of Poland. A new castle was built on the ruins of the old one by a German knight, Hieronymus Krispin-Kirschenstein. The castle has since been rebuilt many times. The 18th century Polish owners of the Rudone estate, the family Olędzki (Olendzki) h. Rawicz (members of szlachta, general sejm and senate) commissioned Laurynas Gucevičius with a renovation of the castle. The next owner, the Russian Prince Platon Zubov, acquired the estate in the first half of the 19th century and his family transformed the castle yet again. Their architect was Cesare Anichini (Cezaris Anikinis). Today the building is an example of 19th century neo-Gothic architecture. Its last private owners were Sophia Waxell (a Zubov) and her Portuguese husband from Madeira, José Carlos de Faria e Castro.

The original castle of Raudonė is the setting of an East Prussian legend known as Die weiße Jungfrau der Bayerburg ("The White Maiden of Bayerburg"). [1]


  • Urban, William. The Teutonic Knights: A Military History. Greenhill Books. London, 2003, p. 133. ISBN 1-85367-535-0
  • Polski słownik biograficzny / komitet redakcyjny Władysław Konopczynski ... [et al.]. Publisher Kraków : Skład główny w ksieg. Gebethnera i Wolffa, 1935-.ISBN 8386301015 (set)