With only 290 adherents the Karaite faith is the smallest of the tradional religions in Lithuania. Considered by Jews to be a type of Judaism, the Lithuanian Karaism distanced itself from the Jewish religion over the centuries. Unlike the Jews the Karaites do not believe in Talmud.
The definition of “Karaite” attracted a surprising interest from governmental institutions knowing that these communities never numbered more than several thousands in the Eastern Europe. They were regarded as a separate community by the Russian Empire where they enjoyed more privileges and less discrimination than Jews. Even the Nazis had a separate policy on the Karaites and this saved the community from the persecutions which the Jews had to face.
Karaites pray at Kenessas and currently there are two Kenessas in Lithuania: one in Trakai and one in Vilnius. The Karaite community in Trakai is the liveliest one. Until the 19th century Karaites enjoyed a separate town charter in Trakai and currently there is a Karaite museum there. The iconic three-windowed Karaite homes in Trakai high street are another part of their heritage.
Almost all Karaites are ethnic Karaims, a certain Turkic ethnicity.