At the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris rivers, Kaunas castle was (probably) by built Grand Duke Kęstutis in the 14th century to defend the way to Vilnius, against the attacks of crusaders. This is not only one of the first stone castles in Lithuania, but also the only one with double walls for defense.
The surrounding walls were initially over 2 meters wide and 13 meters high. Kaunas castle was first mentioned in written sources in 1361, mentioning a Teutonic siege that lead to the destruction of the castle. According to the legend, Queen Bona Sforza's troops mysteriously disappeared in the tunnels underneath the castle. These survivors are allegedly still burning in an eternal fire that can only be extinguished by an innocent person entering the castle via a secret cave. Although it was restored multiple times, the castle lost its importance in 1408 when Kaunas was granted Magdeburg rights and the life of the whole city moved to the Market (Town Hall) Square.
From defense to residence
As soon as gunpowder was invented, the castle lost its defensive importance as even high and thick walls were no defense against the force of explosions. The castle then became a residence for Lithuanian dukes. During the 16th century, the castle was strengthened and adapted to new defensive purposes by the construction of an artillery bastion near the round tower. At the end of 17th century some parts of Kaunas castle were destroyed, but it continued to be used for military purposes by the Russian and Swedish armies. The castle underwent its last assault when Napoleon entered Lithuania.
Travel back in time
Learn more about the castle with captivating exhibitions spread over five distinctive areas. The castle was home to a prison in the 16th century and legends say that the souls of the prison's inmates have not found peace to this very day and they still haunt the castle at night. Once in the dungeons, slip on a pair of heavy iron chains and find out for yourself what life was like for a 16th-century villain. Around the area Pop over to the tourism information center for information concerning travelling, sightseeing and activities in Kaunas region. For example, you can start with Santaka Park which is next to Kaunas Castle, and called the heart of Kaunas.
Don't miss it
Located on a picturesque hill overlooking a river valley, the view from the castle will for sure be one of your best memories in Kaunas!