Exploring Vilnius and Trakai

Monday morning brought us blue skies – perfect for our planned explorations of Vilnius and Trakai!

IMG_4983Our tour of Vilnius began with a bus ride to Šv. apaštalų Petro ir Povilo bažnyčia (the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul). Part of a former monastery, it is one of the most well-known churches in all of Lithuania. Many have studied the building’s architecture in an attempt to determine the theme of the sculptures and paintings inside, since there are no records surviving of whom actually planned the decor!

 

Our next stop was a scenic overlook where we could take in a view of the city. A chain-link fence along the overlook held a collection of padlocks, placed there by various couples to symbolize their love.

DSC_9813

DSC_9818

All images courtesy of Wendy Hua

Next, we ventured back into the city to visit the city gate, the Gate of Dawn. This is the last gate standing that was once used to defend Vilnius. Within the wall is a chapel, and within the chapel is an icon of the Virgin Mary that is purported to have healing powers.

IMG_4960

After a brief break for lunch, we boarded the bus for a trip to Trakai, a nearby city that is home to Trakai Island Castle, a 14th century castle located on Lake Galvė. This castle was used by the Grand Duke of Lithuania as one of his main residences, and as such the city of Trakai became a de facto capital of Lithuania for a time. Over the years, the castle was used as a military stronghold, a summer residence, and a prison, before finally being restored and turned into a tourist attraction.

DSC_9869

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s