Kauno švietimo ir mokslo ministerija

“Aukuro” vidurinė mokykla



Student: 8 a kl.mok.

Eglė Vidmantaitė


2005 m.

I. Introduction 2
II. Town history 2
III. Local karaims 3
IV. Tourism 6
V. Literature 9

Territory: 120, 274 ha. Inhabitants: 38.2 thousand people. Administrative centre of the region: Trakai (6,142 inhabitants, territory – 1,152 ha), located 28 km west of Vilnius. There are 200 lakes in the region, of which Galvė covers an area of 388 ha, Vilkokšnio – 337 ha, Skaisčio – 296 ha.

The town as well as its surroundings started developing in the XIII century as a state centre. According to annals, Grand Duke Gediminas after a successful hunt fo ound a beautiful place not far from the then capital Kernavė and decided to build a castle here. That is how a new castle was built in Senieji Trakai which at that time was called Trakai. The town of Trakai was first mentioned in German annals in 1337, which is regarded to be the official date of its foundation. When Grand Duke Gediminas finally settled in Vilnius, Senieji Trakai was inherited by his son the Duke Kęstutis. This is the birthplace of f the most famous ruler of Lithuania – Vytautas Didysis.

During the reign of Kęstutis Naujieji Trakai was a place of intensive construction: one castle was built in the strait between lakes Galvė and Lukos, another one – on an island in lake Ga

alvė. A village grew around the castle. The approaches of Trakai were protected by Senieji Trakai, Strėva, Bražuolė, Daniliškės and other mounds. When Vytautas became the vassal ruler of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Trakai became a political and an administrative centre. Construction of the castles was finished and a catholic church was built. The distinctive feature of Trakai is that the town was built and preserved by people of different nationalities. Here lived communities of Karaites, Tartars, Lithuanians, Russians and Polish. Both Christian and Karaites communities were granted separate self-government – Magdeburg – rights.

Trakai lost its political significance in the XVI century. It also declined economically. During the war with Russia in the XVII century the town was plundered and burnt, th he castles were destroyed. The town of Trakai is widely reflected in post stamps.
The island castle was rebuilt in the second half of the XX century. There has been a history museum in the castle since 1962. In summer different festivals and concerts take place in the island castle.

Trakai is a town built on water. The town is surrounded by Lukos (Bernardinų), Totoriškių, Galvės, Akmenos, Gilušio lakes. There are a number of architectural, cultural and historical monuments in Trakai.

The town of Tr
rakai signed a partnership agreement with the city of Rheine in Germany in 1996. In August of this year a 5-year anniversary of a successful partnership will be celebrated in Rheine. In 1997 a partnership agreement was signed with Malbork city in Poland.

Six hundred years two Turkish nations – Tatars and Karaims have been living in Lithuania. From linguistic and ethnogenetic point of view they belong to the oldest Turkish tribes – Kipchaks. This ethnonym (Kipchak) for the first time was mentioned in historical chronicles of Central Asia in the 1 st millennium BC. Anthropologically ancient Kipchaks were very close to Siberia inhabitants Dinlins, who lived on both sides of the Sajan Mountains – in Tuva and northern part of Gob.
The Karaims of Crimea, Galich-Luck area, Lithuania and Poland who have common origin, past, religion, language (with dialects), spiritual and factual culture, make the same nation.
The history of Karaims is connected with Lithuania since 1397-1398. According to the tradition, The Great Duke of Lithuania Vytautas, after one of the marches to the Golden Horde steppes, had to bring from Crimea several hundreds of Karaims and settle them in the Great Duchy of Lithuania. Vytautas could bring Karaims after he had beaten one of the hordes not far fr

rom Azov. Transference of several hundreds Karaim families and several thousands of Tatars was not done once. It was connected with the state policy of The Great Duchy – to inhabit the empty areas, to build towns and castles, to develop trade and economic life.
Initially, Karaims were settled in Trakai between two castles of The Great Duke, present Karaim Street. Later they were found living in Biržai, Naujamiestis, Pasvalys, Panevėžys, however, Trakai has always been the community’s administrative and spiritual centre in Lithuania. Karaims themselves began to hold it not only a homeland, but as fatherland, too. Throughout the centuries their ethnic and cultural relations with the Karaims from Crimea and Galich-Luck areas were not interrupted either.

The Karaims coming to Trakai – as if 600 years ago,

For a long time Karaim women have been famous as very good housewives and the Karaim kitchen has retaken its traditions up to the present undoubtedly due to their industry. The base of the Karaim kitchen is meat and paste dishes. Lithuanian Karaims have various national dishes. Some of them belong to every day, some of them to the festival occasions; most often they are connected with some religious festival.

The breaking of bride’s cake “Kielinlik”
From ev

very day dishes it should be mentioned long thin noodle soup with meat called tutmač. The housewives used to make noodles at home: after rolling jajma – a big thin paste circle, they used to dry the paste, then made rolls and cut into thin pieces. One of the most famous non-ritual dishes known not only to Karaims is kybyn (pl. kybynlar). It is a leavened paste cake having the form of half-moon and the lamb or beef filling; it is baked in the oven or on the tin. In addition to kybyn, Karaims also bake cheburek, and often make koldunlar (dishes of meat and paste). Both the dishes are oriental, having come to our country together with the Karaims and Tatars. From among purely meat dishes šišlik (a steak) is the most popular. Most often it used to be made from lamb, but beef and veal are also suitable.

KybynlarPhoto by Zinas Kazėnas
The religious festivals also have their specific dishes. For the Feast of Unleavened Bread Karaims make round flat cakes (5-7 cm diameter), called tymbyl. They are made of the highest quality flour, making the paste with cream and butter or butter and eggs. For the Pentecost a special dish katlama is made. It is a curd cake made of seven layers (four leavened paste layers and three – curd layers), symbolizing seven weeks after the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Karaims could not do without a national drink – krupnik. Its name is taken over from the local inhabitants, but the recipes are different. In order to make it, various roots and oriental spices are used – cloves, muscat nuts and others. Krupnik is a strong alcoholic beverage, which is slightly sweet, has a nice golden color and is suitable to kybynlar and other meat dishes. Usually every housewife makes it herself and the taste of the krupnik depends on her own.

About national dishes many songs are sang:
Šaharynda TrochnunKarajlar boladlar.Bijlik kiermianliardiaKrupnikni ičiadliar.Dostluchta boladlarSiemiz aščechlarba,Kiorkiajadliar hanuzKajnar kybynlarba. The Karaims safeguardTrakai famous town,They taste krupnikIn the Kings Castle.They live friendly,Eat fat soup;Snatch kybynTill it is still hot.(From a song “Kybyn” by Simon Firkovich)


Island castle (XIV – XVI c.), Trakai

It is the only insular castle throughout Eastern Europe. It was built on one of the numerous islands in Lake Galvė. The castle was built as a defensive fortress. After the Battle of Žalgiris/Grünwald the castle lost its defensive significance. It was turned into a ducal residence. Trakai Island Castle was the death-place of Grand Duke Vytautas. He died here on 27 October 1430. Later the castle served as a prison. In the XVII century the castle was desolated Island castle is one of the most often visited historical-architectural monuments in Lithuania. It houses a historical museum which has been working here since 1962. National events, festivals and concerts take place here..

Remnants of the Peninsula castle (XIV c.), Trakai

It is one of the biggest defensive castles in Lithuania. It was built in the XIV century by the Duke Kęstutis. The territory of the castle covered 4 ha and there were 14 towers of different size. There used to stand a wooden castle on the Aukų hill on the territory of the peninsula castle. In 1655 during the Russian-Swedish war the castle was destroyed. There are a few defensive towers left as well as remnants of the defensive wall.

Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (XV – XVIII c.), Birutės st., Trakai

It is the first church of the parish built in 1409 by the Grand Duke Vytautas. Wars and fire more than once were its destroyers. The church was reconstructed in 1717. There is a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary with a Child in the main altar. This picture is believed to be magic, able to stave off misfortunes. The church of the Blessed Virgin Mary has both gothic and baroque elements.


Karaites dwelling-houses (XIX – XX c.), Karaimų st., Trakai

Užutrakis palace (XIX c.), park, Užutrakis.

The settlement of Užutrakis in historical sources was already mentioned in the XIV century. At that time it was called “Algirdas island”. It was then controlled by Tartars. In the XIX century Užutrakis was bought by count J.Tiškevičius. On his initiative a neo-renaissance palace was built here. It is surrounded by a park designed by a French landscape architect E.Andre. It is the biggest and the most original park in Lithuania.

Church and monastery of Senieji Trakai, mound of Senieji Trakai (Birthplace of Grand Duke Vytautas), village of Senieji Trakai.

Senieji Trakai is the old capital of Lithuania. Legends say that Senieji Trakai was founded by the Duke Gediminas. In the second half of the XIV century there already was a stone palace ruled by the Duke Kęstutis.

It was the place where in 1350 Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas was born. In 1405 Vytautas the Great settled here Benedictine monks and built a church for them not far from the place. Buildings of the Benedictine monastery have survived up to these days. In the XIX century a part of the monastery was rebuilt into a neo-gothic church.


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