Most people only visit the small village of Medininkai to climb Lithuania’s two highest mountains. I didn’t stay long either after my mountain tour, but I still paid a visit to the wooden church and the castle.
The castle was closed as well, but in this case it meant that the gate was open, but nobody was available to sell tickets or to explain something about the history.
The castle with a perfectly square layout was built in the 13th or 14th century to serve as protection against the Teutonic Knights. These successors of the crusaders waged a war against Lithuania which lasted for more than 100 years. That Lithuania was the last country in Europe which had not yet been Christianized was a welcome pretext for a battle about territory.
The last time that Medininkai rose to sad prominence was on 31 July 1991 when Soviet troops attacked the Lithuanian border post and killed seven Lithuanian police officers. No wonder that Lithuania aspired to become a member of NATO.