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The vaults of the Bastion are associated with a legend about the basilisk of Vilnius - a dragon whose look used to turn people into a stone. Before the Second World War Students' carnival processions with an image of the basilisk were popular.

Beware of the ​Basilisk - the Monster of Vilnius​

The story of Vilnius' terrifying monster who seemed unbeatable... until he was outsmarted.

In the old days, where the present bastion is in the Old Town, lived a snakelike creature, 'basilisk'. Everyone who saw would die instantly– it was said that nobody could survive the terrible glare of the basilisk. After rumours about it spread across the country, people would try to defeat the creature in every possible way. But even the most couragous would die, until one day...

A fearless young man showed up and decided he could outsmart the basilisk. He heard that in faraway countries there were finely polished metal plates capable of reflecting an image. During one of his journeys, he had managed to get his hands on the precious object, which was what we now know as a mirror. Having summoned up his courage, the young man walked through the cave of the basilisk. As soon as the monster crawled out, the young man rushed forward with the mirror pointing at the basilisk. The monster began to roar loudly when he saw himself in the reflection...and fell down dead!

So there you have it, the basilisk was killed by his own reflection. It is said that sometimes a horrific howl can still be heard in the catacombs of the bastion, where the monster lived a long time ago. You can visit the site yourself, but be sure to bring a mirror just in case!

For more information, click here.