Trakai

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Trakai

 

(or Träkai), a city and the administrative center of Trakai Raion, Lithuanian SSR. Situated among the Trakai Lakes (Galve, Totorišku, Luka, and others), 9 km from the Lentvaris railroad junction and 28 km west of Vilnius, with which it is connected by rail and highway.

Trakai has been known since 1341. In the 14th and 15th centuries it was an important political center of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the residence of its grand dukes, in particular Vitovt. In 1569 it became part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and in 1795, part of the Russian Empire as a district center of Vil’na Province. Soviet power was established in Trakai in early 1919. From 1920 to 1939 the city was occupied by bourgeois Poland. In 1939 it became part of Lithuania, and in 1940, a raion center of the Lithuanian SSR.

A large defense complex in Trakai has been partially preserved. It includes the remains of a peninsular castle (mid-14th century), a castle on an island in Lake Galve (late 14th to the early 15th century; restored 1960), the Vitovt Church (1409; rebuilt in the 18th century in the baroque style), and a wooden kinessa, or Karaite temple (early 19th century).

Under Soviet power, a hotel-restaurant complex for tourists has been built (1960–63, architect A. Kitra), and housing construction is under way. Trakai has a historical museum. Annual international water-sports competitions are conducted in the city, which is also a tourist attraction.

REFERENCE

Arunas, M. Trakai, 2nd ed. Vilnius, 1973.
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