Gediminas Tower in Vilnius, Symbol of an Independent Lithuania

PHOTO: Gediminas Tower in Vilnius, Lithuania

Gediminas Tower in Vilnius, Lithuania, the best preserved part of the Upper Castle ruins

Click on title to view photo in large format. Gediminas Tower in Vilnius, Lithuania. The first wooden fortifications, built by Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, were replaced with stone fortifications in the early 15th century. The Upper Castle, as it is now known, became the nucleus around which the capital city developed. Gediminas Tower is the best preserved part of the castle ruins and an important symbol of Lithuania. In October of 1988, the Lithuanian flag was hoisted above its ramparts during the independence movement that eventually resulted in a free Lithuania. Today it not only houses a museum, it is the best spot from which to view present day Vilnius, which sprawls at the foot of the hill. Intrepid hikers reach Gediminas Tower via a steep trail littered with hard-to-navigate rounded boulders. I took the less adventurous route; I rode the very convenient Funicular up the hill for about a dollar.

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