This year I decided it was time to have a look at all the drafts I have kept. There seems to be a lot of posts that I have started writing and never finished. With a bit of work some of these are publishable, but most of them I have deleted. Those I kept and that I still want to publish I will finish and share with you. I decided that most of them will be good for Throwback Thursday. Here is a post I never finished from my trip to Vilnius August 2017.
Even if it was quite warm in Vilnius when we visited it was still nice to have a little look around the town. There is a tower up on a hill that looked like it would be a good place to view the town from above and the tower itself also looked like it was worth a visit. The walk up the hill is a bit steep, but nothing too bad. There is a funicular cart going up, but it was not running the day we decided to go up and have a look. But with all the good food we had on the trip there was some movement required.
The tower is called Gedimina’s tower and it is what remains of the Upper Castle in Vilnius. The first brick castle was built here in 1409, but this three story tower is a rebuild from 1933. Some of the old structures can still be seen up there today as they have been restored by archaeologists.
The tower has a legend:
Long ago, the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas was hunting in the woods of Šventaragis 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.
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.
The view from the top turned out to be as good, or maybe even better, than we thought to begin with. from up there you got a really good view around both the new part of Vilnius and the old.
The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania is just at the base of the hill where Gediminas’ tower is. The palace was originally built in the 1500’s, destroyed around 1800 and they started rebuilding it in 2002.
We decided not to go up to the hill with the three crosses, when we visited as we had to prioritize. But we had a view of them from the city and from the tower. According to the legend seven Fransiscan friars we’re beheaded on top of this hill. Wooden crosses were built here in this location since the late 17th century. But the three crosses that are there now was put up in 1989.