Medininkai Things to Do
Medininkai castle ruins
The castle of Medininkai was built in end of XIII - beginning of XIV centuries. It was one of the most significant castles in Grand Duchy of Lithuania and built on influence of Gothic and Romanic architectures. Even gates of Dawn of Vilnius old town sometimes are called "Medininkai gates", because here was the road from Vilnius castle to Medininkai castle. This defensive structure was used against attacks of crusaders and mainly was saving other former capitals - Trakai, Vilnius.
Now it is only ruins, but from ruins it seems that castle had rectangular form with big towers at corners. At attacks time all villagers were running to the inner yard to be saved. At 1519 castle was destroyed and from that time never reborn again.
I hope castle will be rebuilt or at least used for medieval handicraft celebrations.
Juozapine - highest "hill" in Lithuania
For long time Juozapines hill was considered to be the highest place in Lithuania - 293,6 meters. Later specialists of Vilnius Gediminas Technique University fixed that highest place is nearby - Aukstasis hill (293,84). Anyway, this place haven't charmed me too much, as it doesn't looked high, from that place you could see only part of Medininkai village and some trees around.
This hill is only 1 kilometre from Medininkai, so distance could be made by foot. On the top of hill these is a stone for commemorating Lithuanian king Mindaugas.
St. Trinity and St. Casimierus church
The church was built in 1931 from wood. Especially nice look is of interior wooden details that seem to be recently renovated. The mass is going on only in Polish language.
When I wanted to entrance this church, a man cutting grass nearby haven’t understood me in Lithuanian when I asked could I go inside though doors, where priests go (only these doors were opened that time). After that I asked him in Polish and it was fine.
Bus to go and back
I was always thinking that to catch bus to Medininkai is quite problematic and they go very rare. Now I know that it is not true.
I found out that buses to Medininkai go approximately every two hours and are quite comfortable. Moreover, it is popular way to reach Vilnius from territory near Byelorusian border. It costs a bit more than 1 Euro to take bus to one side (2007 June).
Medininkai has a few bus stations inside village - one is just near Catholic Church.
Medininkai Local Customs
Big influence of minorities
It was hard not to see influence of biggest minorities of Lithuania - Polish, Russians, Byelorussians in Medininkai. This village location is just a few kilometres from Belarus, so historically it is quite international land.
When I asked a man how I could entrance church, he didn't understand Lithuanian, but perfectly understood Polish. At shop entrance I saw writings on two languages - Lithuanian and Polish. Inside I got to hear talk in Russian. The old people I met hardly understood Polish and a bit more Russians, but when I asked how to speak with them, they said: "better speak simply" (they mean to speak Belarusian language or mix of some Polish and Russian) :)