True Lithuania Sights, cities, culture, history and more

Biržai Town And Castle

This town (pop. 15 000) far in the northeastern Lithuanian outback is known for its 17th century castle. The main building surrounded by fortifications forms the most impressive surviving military structure of this era in Lithuania.

The central building of the Biržai castle (surrounded by fortifications). ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

The castle (now housing a relatively dull provincial museum) was owned by Radvila family. Together with the Sapiegas and some other noble families the Radvilas virtually controlled the Lithuania’s political life of the 17th century.

Radvilas were proponents of Reformed Christianity and this is still visible in Biržai as the town has a red-brick Reformed Christian church (1876) as well as the usual Roman Catholic one (1861). Surrounding villages boast old Reformed churches as well although now only some 10% of district‘s population proffess this faith. Biržai Reformed church offers services only in Sundays whereas the Roman Catholic parish celebrates mass every day.

Biržai is in a nice location near Širvėna artificial lake that is spanned by a long pedestrian bridge leading to a manor on the other side. The town used to be a terminus both for the Aukštaičiai Road from Kaunas and the narrow gauge railway, a kind of place in the end of Lithuania. But despite it being far from main tourist locations the town offers several restaurants and other facilities.

Article written by Augustinas Žemaitis

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