The symbol of Vilnius is visible from many spots in the Old Town and is portrayed in numerous works of art. It is one of the best places to see the magnificent panoramas of Vilnius. Climb Gediminas’ Hill and admire the sunset or go up even higher to the top of the Gediminas Tower for more spectacular views. The red roofs of Vilnius, the church towers, and the narrow streets of the Medieval Old Town are a stunning sight. The tower houses a historic exhibition displaying reconstruction models of the castles of Vilnius, an armament, and iconographic material of old Vilnius.
Gediminas Castle Tower is the most frequently visited branch of the National Museum of Lithuania. Its exhibition invites visitors to learn about the history of Vilnius as the centre of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and also to take in the most spectacular panoramic view of the city.
As the visitor climbs up the narrow steps of the tower they will discover several levels of exhibits presenting the development of the Vilnius Castle territory, as well as exhibits of Baltic jewellery and important military artefacts.
The second floor contains the interactive exhibition “Visual timeline: a look through the Windows of Gediminas Tower”, which invites visitors to experience an attack by Crusaders; they can also see what Renaissance Vilnius looked like and compare this image with a panorama of the Upper and Lower castles from 1785, a time when these buildings had already lost their political importance. This journey is an opportunity to experience the changes the city has gone through from the 14th to the 21st centuries – by both looking through the tower windows, then at the tower itself.
On the third floor visitors can experience what it meant to stand in the Baltic Way – one of the most memorable of the big anti-Soviet demonstrations, when, in August 1989, close to 2 millions people linked hands from Vilnius to Tallinn.
From the Tower’s observation square a panorama of Vilnius opens up and it seems as though one can hold the city in one’s hand. And the fluttering national flag reminds us that Gediminas Tower is a symbol not only of Vilnius, but of Lithuania as a whole.
Gediminas’ Castle Tower is the remaining fortification tower of the Upper Castle. Legend has it that the Grand Duke Gediminas dreamt of an Iron Wolf howling at the top of this hill, which he took as a prophecy of the great city that would one day stand in this place. The hill is where he eventually built a wooden castle.
Grand Duke Vytautas completed the city’s first brick castle in 1409. Gediminas’ Tower has changed purposes since then, including being used as the city’s first telegraph building in 1838. The Lithuanian flag was first flown at the top of the tower a century ago. The Vilnius Castle Museum was opened in 1960, and in 1968 it became a subdivision of the Lithuanian National Museum.