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Trakai - a town and lake resort in Lithuania, a part of Trakai national park territory and an administrative centre of the region.

A view of Trakai castle from the bridge over the lake

Town facts:

  • Territory: 1.152 ha
  • Inhabitants: 6.142 people

Region facts:

  • Territory: 120.274 ha
  • Inhabitants: 382.000 people

The town is located 28 km west of Vilnius. There are 200 lakes in the region, of which the lake of Galve covers an area of 388 ha, the lake of Vilkoksnis - 337 ha, the lake of Skaistis - 296 ha. There are Trakai Historical National Park and Aukštadvaris Regional Park founded in the territory of the region.

Trakai Historical National Park was founded in 1991 to preserve Trakai as a centre of Lithuanian statehood as well as its authentic nature. It is the only historical national park not only in Lithuania but also throughout Europe. The territory of the park covers 8.200 ha, 3.400 of which are covered by forests, and 1.3 thousand are covered by lakes.

Traditional architecture of Trakai

Aukstadvaris Regional Park was founded in 1992 to preserve the valuable landscapes of Verkne and Streva upper reaches. The area of the park is 15.350 ha, most of which is covered by forests. There are 72 lakes here, the biggest of which is Vilkoksnis.

The town of Trakai

Stella buid to the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas

The town as well as its surroundings started developing in the 13th century as a The Grand County of Lithuania[?] centre. According to cronicles, Grand Duke Gediminas after a successful hunt found a beautiful place not far from the then capital Kernave and decided to build a castle here. That is how a new castle was built in Senieji Trakai which at that time was called Trakai. The town of Trakai was first mentioned in German cronicles in 1337, which is regarded to be the official date of its foundation. When Grand Duke Gediminas finally settled in Vilnius, Senieji Trakai was inherited by his son the Duke Kestutis[?]. This is the birthplace of the most famous ruler of Lithuania - Vytautas[?].

During the reign of Kestutis[?] Naujieji Trakai was a place of intensive construction: one castle was built in the strait between lakes Galve and Lukos, another one - on an island in lake Galve. A village grew around the castle. The approaches of Trakai were protected by Senieji Trakai, Streva, Brazuole, Daniliskes and other mounds. When Vytautas[?] became the vassal ruler of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Trakai became a political and an administrative centre. Construction of the castles was finished and a catholic church was built. The distinctive feature of Trakai is that the town was built and preserved by people of different nationalities. Here lived communities of Karaites, Tartars, Lithuanians, Russians, Jews and Polish. Both Christian and Karaites communities were granted separate self-government - Magdeburg Rights.

Trakai lost its political significance in the 16th century. It also declined economically. During the war with Russia in the 17th century the town was plundered and burnt, the castles were destroyed.

Rebuilt Trakai Castle

The island castle was rebuilt in the second half of the 20th century. There has been a history museum in the castle since 1962. In summer different festivals and concerts take place in the island castle. The town of Trakai is widely reflected in post stamps[?].

Trakai is a town built on water. The town is surrounded by the lakes of Lukos (Bernardinu), Totoriskiu, Galves, Akmenos, Gilusio. There are a number of architectural, cultural and historical monuments in Trakai.

The town of Trakai signed a partnership agreement with the city of Rheine in Germany in 1996. In 1997 a partnership agreement was signed with Malbork city in Poland.

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