How Vilnius was born and what hides Gediminas' Tower

Monika Grinevičiūtė | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Gediminas’ Castle Tower or like the locals call it Gediminas’ Tower is a symbol of Lithuania and the most photogenic object in whole Vilnius. The Lithuanians are so used to see the Gediminas’ Tower as it is today, that sometimes we forgot that actually, it is just the remaining tower of the castle which was standing there from the 15th century. This tower is surrounded by legends, poems, and songs from the latest times. Gediminas’ Tower was a part of Upper Castle built by Grand Duke Gediminas, the father of Vilnius city. Maybe that's why Gediminas’ Tower is so popular and very loved historical site. People believe that actually in the place where the tower is standing, the Vilnius city was born. Gediminas Tower has a lot of secrets, let’s reveal at least some.

Picture © Credits to Xantana

Iron Wolf

A great story about the Vilnius establishment tells, that once, at the beginning of 14th century, when Trakai was the capital of Lithuania, Grand Duke Gediminas was hunting in the surroundings where nowadays Vilnius is standing. Nobody could believe that the old and dark woods one day will become one of the most beautiful capitals in Europe. But let’s get back to the story. Gediminas stopped to spend a night near the Neris and Vilnelė Rivers confluence - exactly near the Gediminas Hill, where now the tower is standing. While sleeping there, he dreamed of an iron wolf standing on a hill and howling as thousands of wolfs. The Gediminas’ mage Lizdeika explained the dream to the duke: the dream is an omen indicating that Gediminas has to build a city in this place, and the stories of this city will be so loud as those thousands wolf sound. Lizdeika mentioned that the city would become the magnificent capital city of Lithuania. And that's how Vilnius was born. Gediminas started to build a castle and named the city after the Vilnia river which is flowing nearby. That's how Grand Duke Gediminas become the father of the capital city Vilnius.

Picture © Credits to RomanBabakin

The contrasts 

Originally, Gediminas started to build a castle from the wood, and the tower also was built in this way. Later on, in the 15th century, Vytautas completed the brick castle. Nowadays, just a single tower of the remaining castle with some ruins are standing on Gediminas Hill. But, the tower is a symbol of Vilnius - from every corner in the city is possible to see the tower. To watch the sunsets from this tower is one of the most favorite things among the locals. The view from the tower is also magnificent - looking to one side of the castle, all the beauty of the Old Town and its red and green roofs are in front of the eyes, but looking to another side - the new town with all new and modern buildings can be seen. This contrast of the new and old town is very well seen from the hill, and it is one of the best spots in Vilnius to watch all the city from above.

Picture © Credits to Poike

Also, in the tower, the museum of Vilnius Castles is established, and it is a part of Lithuanian National Museum which is standing near the Gediminas Hill. The entry to the museum costs 5 € for adults and 2,5 € for seniors and students. Good to mention is that the entrance to the hill is always free and open.

Picture © Credits to Krivinis

And that's how Vilnius was born. Gediminas did a great job and thanks to him and his important dream, nowadays we can enjoy living in Vilnius and watching the sunsets from the Hill of Gediminas’ Tower.

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