The City Market:
Couldn't resist taking this photo of the Hempburger Bus; think it must have made a detour from Denver!
Once we arrived in Trakai a short while later, we had another 25 minute walk through the small town toward the castle before all the huge tour buses descended on it. It was interesting traipsing through the then quiet streets and seeing the quaint wooden homes that were so different from those in
The Castle's displays, which were in the rooms visible in the photo above, all belong to the Trakai History Museum which was founded in 1948. It currently has about 300,000 artifacts about hunting memorabilia, beading, enamel, pipes, stamps, glassware - you name it!
One I particularly enjoyed was the wide variety of beaded objects in the collection. In the first half of the nineteenth century, interiors of homes were beginnng to be decorated with bed-embroidered furniture, panels, pictures, tablecoths, etc. Bead-embroidered purses, wallets, umbrellas and fans were used as women's accessories.
Other displays, more notable for us for their surroundings than the items themselves:
Viewing one entire room anywhere devoted just to pipes was new to both Steven and me! it brought back so many fond memories of my father lighting up his pipe before he quit using tobacco altogether.
The first wooden pipes appeared at the end of the seventeenth century in France. Pipes' mouthpieces were made primarily of cherrywood. Construction of turned and carved pipes didn't differ. Alongside the professionally carved pipes, there was quite a range made by amateur artists. Realistic depictions of hunting scenes and animals on the pipes suggest they were made by hunters and foresters.
The next room we entered had an interesting display of stamps. As you may already know, a seal authenticates a document and the instrument used for sealing is a stamp. The stamps of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania evolved at the same time as the State. Stamps were used by the Lithuanian nobility during the fifteenth century while cities and guilds started using them in the sixteenth century.
Stamps are classified into several groups depending on what was depicted on them - those with inscriptions, images, portraits and coats of arms. Stamps were made from different materials - bronze,, steel, precious metals and precious stones. I learned that the handles of most stamps have great artistic value. Once again, that was a brand new one for me!
We then crossed another footbridge over the dry moat that separated the main castle from the outer courtyard and a tower. How beautiful to look out and see sailboats close by.
The Castle Chapel:
Grand Duke Vytautus himself!
The last supreme priest of the Lithuanian and Polish Karaims:
National costume of Karaim woman in Crimea in the late nineteenth century: