Rykantai is a home of rennaisance style church, built in 1585. The church stands on the hill and visible when taking road Vilnius - Kaunas. Nowadays is not so much rennaisance churches left in Lithuania.
It is interesting fact, that Rykantai was mentioned in Tolstoj book "War and peace", as a place, where Napoleon stayed on his moving to Russia.
Rykantai is about 9 kilometers from Trakai.
Senieji Trakai is a village, known of its planning, still kept the same as from 16the century. Anyway, the main thing why people visit this place is a mound with a church. In medieval times, 14th century, Vytautas the Great born here, in nowadays not survived castle.
Here stands the church, constructed in neo - gothic style in 1899. Nearby is a monastery building. The road to Senieji Trakai from Trakai is adorned by wooden sculptures.
Senieji Trakai is about 6 kilometers from Trakai.
Uzutrakio palace looks very nice from the island of the castle. It is small and white. In 19h century famous Lithuanian counters Tiskeviciai built this one.
Uzutrakis is about 10 kilometers from Trakai.
You could visit my Uzutrakis page for more information.
Walking around the Castle of Trakai I noticed this neoclassical building on the northern side of the lake. I didn't go there, since I didn't know how to get there without a car, and most of all I had no news about this building!
I then searched on internet when I came back and it's called Uzutrakis palace and it was built by the Polish count Jozef Tyszkiewicz in 1896/1901.
It should be a nice place to visit one day, maybe the next time I go to Lithuania! ;-)
This huge, stone church, on my picure, was located at Birutes gatve (street). Look at the clickable map of Trakai here, please. It was Roman catholic Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary from 15th to 18th century - the oldest parish church in Trakai.
The architecture of this huge church, both gothic and baroque, was not very interesting for me. There was a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary with a Child in the main altar. This picture was believed to be magic, able to stave off misfortunes.
The first parish church was built in 1406 by Grand Duke Vytautas but it was detroyed by wars and fires.
Trakai (in the background, on my picture) was located among 5 lakes. I walked a little bit off the beaten path, along northeastern shore of Totoriskiu lake. I could see town of Trakai across a lake there. The best seen was a catholic church with the two square towers.
By the way, this area of Lithuania was full of signed and mostly not signed walking trails.
I found this house, on my picture, in northern part of Karaimu gatve (street). This house was very typical for Trakai.
Typical local house was wooden, 1-floor with pitched roof. Locals used to put metal roofing, corrugated iron sheets especially. The houses were painted usually in either green or yellow/orange/light brown colours. Pay attention to typical wooden porch/vestibule with a lot of small windows. Many houses had satellite dishes fixed somewhere on a roof.
Walking along shores of Galve Lake I enjoyed pretty views over a lake and castle island. Additionally I met this family of swans on my picture - mother and her 8 fur-coated babies (Turkish or Karaim model of family? :-). Hmm... they swimmed following my direction waiting for any food from me. Hmm... if I had any...
There were quite many old, wooden houses in Trakai. These ones, on my picture, were described as traditional Karaims' houses. They were located along Karaimu gatve (street) close to the bridge to the island castle. Map here.
Karaimes were people of Turkish origin brought to Trakai from Crimea at the end of the 14th century.
There were two castles built by the Duke Kestutis in Trakai in the 14th century. All visitors visit the most famous and renovated recently castle located on an island of Galve Lake. Do not skip the second castle or better to say its remnants located on the peninsula seperated Galve and Luka lake. The castle was destroyed during Russian-Swedish war in 1655 and never rebuilt.
I could see only a few, defensive towers and partly destroyed walls there. Hmm... in the past it was one of the largest Lithuanian castles with 14 towers. Maybe, they will rebuild it someday...
How to get there?
When I left the island castle through the wooden bridge I turned left to a walkway along the shore of Galve Lake and I walked about 15 min. There were administrative headquaters of Trakai Museum (4 Kestucio St, LT-4050 Trakai) and Trakai Historical National Park in the castle. Walk back main Karaimu gatve (street) and visit Ethnographic exhibition of Karaites (at No 22) opened 10 am - 6 pm (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays).
There were some lovely, a little bit hidden corners of the Trakai castle. Look at this pretty small part of the castle on my picture. Well, the older part of the castle was made of quite large stones whereas the newly rebuilt part of red bricks. Pay attention to the wooden doors on the first floor.
Shores of Galve Lake in Trakai were mostly overgrown with green, in June, reeds.
Warning: better do not try to walk there, there were dangerous swamps there. It's enough to enjoy the view with white Uzutrakis palace, located on northern bank of Galve Lake, in the background.
Walking around the castle I could see this neo-classical palace, on my picture, located on northern bank of Galve Lake. It was Uzutrakis palace built by Polish count Joseph Tiskevicius (Jozef Tyszkiewicz) in 1896 - 1901. I was told that there was the biggest and the most original park in Lithuania there. Hmm... I didn't visit it. Next time, I would like to hire a yacht to get there from Trakai...
Uzutrakis is the settlement located on the opposite to Trakai, northern side of Galve Lake. It's Zatrocze in Polish language which can be translated as "behind Trakai". That place was first mentioned in the 14th century and called "Algirdas island" that time. Then it was ruled by Tartars and was bought by count Joseph Tiskevicius in the 19th century.