Your browser is out of date.
This site may not function properly in your current browser. Update Now
Gediminas Castle, built by Grand Duke Vytautas in the early 15th century, today offers a 360-degree view of Vilnius, and an exhibition tracing the history of the castle across the centuries. Gediminas the Grand Duke of Lithuania had a dream that Vilnius will become a prospering and strong city where tolerant people of all nationalities live in harmony and peace. His dream came true.
© Laimonas Ciūnys /

The Legend of the Iron Wolf

According to the legend, centuries ago Grand Duke Gediminas, was on a hunting trip in the forests of Šventaragis valley around the mouth of the River Vilnia. When night fell, the party, feeling tired after a long and successful hunt, decided to set up camp and spend the night there. While he was asleep, Gediminas had an unusual dream in which he saw an iron wolf at the top of the mountain where he had killed an European bison that day. The iron wolf was standing on the top of a hill with its head raised proudly towards the moon, howling as loud as a hundred wolves.

Awakened by the rays of the rising sun, the Duke remembered his strange dream and consulted the pagan priest Lizdeika about it. He told the Duke that the dream was a direction to found a city among these hills. The howling of the wolf, explained the priest, represented the fame of the future city: that city will be the capital of Lithuanian lands, and its reputation would spread far and wide, as far as the howling of the mysterious wolf…’

So the Grand Duke Gediminas, obeying the will of gods, immediately started to build the future capital which took the name of Vilnius – from the stream of the rapid River Vilnia. He built a fortress on the hill and the city of Vilnius grew up around it. You can still climb the hill and visit the Tower which bears his name 'Gediminas Tower'. It provides one of the best views of this beautiful city.