If you will ask someone what can you see in Lithuania, you can be sure that one of the first attractions that they will mention, will be Trakai. Trakai castle is located on an island in Lake Galve. Its construction begun in the 14th century and it was one of the main centres of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Why should you visit it? 1. It is the only water castle in all Eastern Europe 2. It is a symbol of Lithuanian tourism 3. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful castles of Lithuania 4. There are a lot of legends around this place 5. It is an incredible architectural example of Gothic style 6. It is the place where you can eat the real kibinai.
According to one of the legends, the Grand Duke Gedeminas after a successful hunting, discovered a beautiful lake-surrounded place and decided to build there a castle. Some historical sources say that the Trakai Island Castle was also equipped with a mechanism for forced-air heating and had many lovely wooden galleries, paintings of stained glass, murals, secret passages (an other legend says that there is a tunnel that connects Trakai with Vilnius – 27km). I saw Trakai twice: at the end of summer and in spring. Unfortunately i haven’t visited it in winter. Why? I was lazy! I have a lot of excuses: it was too cold, i was too busy.. but the truth is that i was lazy. In winter it is very beautiful, when the lake is frozen enough you can even walk on it.
Trakai is also known for the Karaimes – people speaking the Turkic language, they have lived here since the 14th century and have preserved their traditions.
The national dishes of this ethnic group can be tasted at the Karaime Restaurant.
The most popular is kibinai – a small pasty stuffed with minced meat. The traditional kibinai is with mutton and it is eaten with chicken soup. There are also with vegetables, chicken, pork and you can find even sweet kibinai.
Today, the Trakai Island Castle is the place where concerts, events and festivals are held (the medieval festival – at the end of June, the museum night – on 15th of May, Days of Ancient Crafts – at the end of August ). Don’t be lazy as me and visit this place despite the weather!