A visit to the castle in Trakai is the iron point of most trips to Lithuania. The town is located less than 30 kilometers west of Vilnius, and once it was the residence of the Lithuanian princes before they moved to the Vilnius Castle Hill. Trakai can be easily reached by car from Vilnius or non-motorized people can come here by train or bus, which run quite often. In Trakai you can find a magnificent landscape with picturesque green valleys, forests, lakes, and intriguing Karaim culture, and excellent cuisine.
Trakai founded around the end of the twelfth century is the one of the oldest Lithuanian castles, the largest fortress in Lithuania and the only one in Eastern Europe located on a lake island.
Lake Galva makes a big impression. Along the bank there are restaurants serving Karaim kebabs and other Lithuanian dishes. There are also several piers where you can hire a boat to admire the view from the lake. The castle on the island looks so unreal from a distance. The creators of Harry Potter could easily make next few scenes here. Red walls and bastions topped with tiles of the same color reflect in the lake. To the castle lead two picturesque wooden bridges, and after passing them we stand in front of the amazing gate. In the rooms around the polygonal courtyard you can see all sorts of exhibits ranging from smoking pipes, seals, porcelain and glass, weaving, furniture, to hunting trophies. On the other side is the so-called Upper castle presenting weapons, knights’ armor, etc.
This is the link to the castle museum, where you can find all the information about opening hours and tickets Trakai Castle Museum
After visiting the castle, I recommend you take a walk with Karaimska Street, where there are yellow, green, blue houses which have sloping roofs and windows surrounded by white frames. There are always three windows: one for God, one for the host and one for the prince.
It is also worth going to one of the Karaim restaurants. We visited one called Kybynlar The food was delicious, especially we recommend soup and kibines stuffed with chopped mutton. This is the link to restaurant’s website: Kybylnar Restaurant
Do you know who are the Karaites known also as Karaims?
Lithuanian prince Witold brought them to Lithuania in the fourteenth century. There are Crimean people of Turkish origin, originally living in the territories of present-day Iraq, Iran and Israel. They never created their own state. They are distinguished primarily by the religion distinguished in the 8th century from Judaism. It is based only on the Old Testament, rejecting the New Testament, the Koran, the Talmud or the oral tradition, which is why the Karaites are often called the “nation of one book”. The foundation of faith is the Decalogue, the most important prophet – Moses, and the Holy Day – Saturday.