Palace sights in Vilnius
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Vilnius was founded on 48m-high Gediminas Hill, topped since the 13th century by Gedimino Tower. Its walls were ruined during the Russian occupation (1655-61), but it was restored in 1930 to house the Upper Castle Museum.
The Renaissance ushered in the Royal Palace (Valdovūrumai), where the first Lithuanian operas were performed.
A quadrangle of four wings enclosing a vast courtyard of 10,000 sq m, the palace buzzed with masked balls, banquets and tournaments in the 16th century. But in 1795 with the Russian occupation of Lithuania the palace - along with the Lower Castle and city defence wall - was demolished.
This palace of incredible dimensions rose from the ashes in…
Formerly the Bishops' Palace, the Presidential Palace was rebuilt in classical Russian Empire style early in the 19th century. It was used by Napoleon during his advance on Moscow, and by his Russian adversary General Kutuzov when he was chasing Napoleon back to Paris. Book guided tours (in Lithuanian) in advance and bring your passport to get in.