The first fortifications were built of wood by the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Gediminas. Later the first brick castle was completed in 1409 by Grand Duke Vytautas. Third floor tower was rebuilt in 1930, by Polish architect Jan Borowski. Some remnants of the old castle have been restored, guided by archeological research.
It is possible to climb to the top of the hill on foot or by taking a funicular. The tower houses an exposition of archeologic findings from the hill and the surrounding areas. It is also an excellent vantage point, from where the panorama of Vilnius' Old Town can be admired.
Gediminas' Tower is an important state and historic symbol of the city of Vilnius and of Lithuania itself. It was depicted on the former national currency, the litas, and is mentioned in numerous Lithuanian patriotic poems and folk songs. The Flag of Lithuania was re-hoisted atop the tower on October 7, 1988, during the independence movement that was finalized by the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania on March 11, 1990. A reconstruction of the Royal Palace of Lithuania was completed in 2009, and is located near the base of the hill upon which Gediminas' Tower stands.
Long ago, the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas was hunting in the woods of Sventaragis valley. The hunting was a success, but very tiring. The duke stayed there and spent a night. Gediminas had a dream that on top of the hill, where he had hunted down a taurus that day: a large iron wolf was standing and howling hard and loud, like a hundred wolves.
The Duke asked the mage Lizdeika to explain the dream. He explained that this was an omen indicating that he should build a city in this place, which would later become known around the world and would become the magnificent capital city of Lithuania.
Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, obeying the will of the gods, began to build the future capital city, and a castle in the center of it. The city was named Vilnius after the nearby river Vilnia. Gediminas tower is one part of the castle, which was built by Gediminas.
- A visit to Gediminas' Tower in 1985, showing the rooftop
- Three Crosses
- Pilies Street
- Cathedral Square, Vilnius
- List of castles in Lithuania
- Columns of Gediminas
- House of Gediminas
- Gothic architecture in Lithuania
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- "History of the Lithuanian Flag". Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. Retrieved 2008-12-05.