Gediminas Hill Landslide

Gediminas Hill Landslide | Photo T.Bauras

Following a landslide on June 22, Gediminas Tower, the historical symbol of Vilnius, is temporarily closed to visitors, the National Museum of Lithuania announced. “There is no threat to the stability of the hill. The closure is a precautionary measure until specialists finish assessing its condition after last night’s intense rain,” the National Museum said. The tower is scheduled to reopen to visitors on June 28.

The landslide on the north-eastern slope of the Gediminas Castle Hill occurred after a day of heavy rain. Specialists have started emergency response work. According to the National Museum, the condition of the hill is being closely monitored, and the possibility of new cracks and landslides cannot be ruled out. The long-term stability of the hill will be ensured by the implementation of the landscaping project, which resumed in May after the National Museum signed a contract with a new designer.

Everyone is familiar with this iconic symbol of Vilnius, visible from many spots in the Old Town and portrayed in numerous works of art. The red roofs of Vilnius, the church towers, and the narrow streets of the Medieval Old Town are a stunning sight. The tower houses a historic exhibition displaying reconstruction models of the castles of Vilnius, an armament, and iconographic material of old Vilnius.

Landslide on Gediminas Hill / Photo.

Gediminas Castle Tower is the most frequently visited branch of the National Museum of Lithuania, inviting visitors to learn about the history of Vilnius as the centre of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. There are three levels of exhibits presenting the development of the Vilnius Castle territory, as well as exhibits of Baltic jewellery and important military artifacts.

Gediminas’ Castle Tower is the remaining fortification tower of the Upper Castle. Legend has it that the Grand Duke Gediminas dreamt of an Iron Wolf howling at the top of this hill, which he took as a prophecy that a great city would one day stand there. The hill is where he eventually built a wooden castle.

Grand Duke Vytautas completed the city’s first brick castle in 1409. Gediminas’ Tower has changed purposes since then, including being used as the city’s first telegraph building in 1838. The Lithuanian flag was first flown at the top of the tower a century ago. The Vilnius Castle Museum was opened in 1960, and in 1968 it became a subdivision of the Lithuanian National Museum.