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Heritage Sites:Biržai Castle

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Biržai Castle
Birzu pilis.jpg
Country Lithuania
Place Biržai
Short Description Biržai bastion Castle, built in 16-17 c., is the best remained example of classical private fortification in the territory of Lithuania.
Visitors 2010 35,453

Biržai bastion Castle, built in 16-17 c., is the best remained example of classical private fortification in the territory of Lithuania. During Livonian wars the Castle was a significant resistance point of the Great Duchy of Lithuania, in 1704 destroyed by Swedish army. Rebuilt in 1986 the palace of the Castle today is one of most remarkable places you can visit in North Lithuania.

To protect his Biržai dominion and the Northern border of Lithuania, Duke Christopher Radziwill built a modern fortress. Works started in 1575 by building a dam at the confluence of the Apašcia and Agluona rivers. Since 1586 untill 1589 the embankments, a representational palace, an Evangelist Reformist church, an arsenal, grain stores and warehouses, barracks and other buildings were completed. The fortress and the town were a single defensive complex. In 1625 Biržai Castle was taken by the Swedish army and destroyed. In 1637 Duke Christopher II Radziwill started to build the second castle on the same place. The second Biržai Castle was built according a project designed by Adam Freitag, who was an expert in the construction of Dutch bastion castles and military engineer. In 1682 the palace of the Castle with its fortifications and twenty-one building was a huge defensive site already. Nearly 100 cannons were kept in its huge arsenal. During 17-18th centuries, Biržai was the main Lithuanian stronghold in the wars with Sweden. The Castle was visited by the king of Poland and Lithuania August II; two Russian tzars, Peter I and Alexander I, came to the Castle twice each. On 26 February 1701, king of Poland and Lithuania August II and tzar of Russia Peter I concluded an alliance in Biržai Castle against Sweden which is known in history as the Biržai Treaty. On 14 September 1704, the Swedish army attacked and destroyed Biržai Castle. The ruins of the castle stood untill 1976. Then the decision to rebuilt the palace of the Castle was made and during 10 years the palace was completely reconstructed. Since 1989 the Castle is a home to Biržai region museum “Sėla”.


About the Heritage Site

  • Country: Lithuania
  • Location: Biržai is a town in North of Lithuania, about 220 km from Vilnius and 100 km to South from Riga (Latvia), 20 km from the highway Via Baltica.
  • Type of location: The bastion castle of Renaissanse of 16-17 c.
  • Experience offered: Biržai Castle is home of Biržai region museum "Sėla".

Visitors can acquaint with museum's prohistorical, ethnographical, archaeological exhibitions. The museum also has reach collections of duke Radziwill's and count Tishkevich's heritage. Still remained castle's doubled defensive ramparts, moat (fosse), Army's drill ground, the palace and the bridge could be interesting for visitors. The museum offers guided tours, more than 10 educational lessons for groups of schoolchildren and 1 programm for adults - "Žaldokas beer".

  • Postal Adress:
Birzai region museum "Sėla", J.Radvila 3, Biržai LT-41175, Lithuania
phone: +370 450 33390; fax: +370 450 31883

Accessibility of Heritage Site

  • Opening times:
Time of year Opening hours
May-October 10.00am - 6.30pm

Museum is closed on Mondays.

October-May 9.00am - 5.30pm

Museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

  • Entrance fee :
Type of ticket Full Price Reduced price


Family tickets
11-18 LTL -
Visiting temporary exhibitions only
Educational programs for schoolchildren
3-5 LTL -
Educational program for adults "Žaldokas beer"
20 LTL -

More information on the opening hours and the tickets on:

  • How to get there
By car: Biržai is about 1,5 hour drive from Riga (Latvia) and about 45 min drive from Panevėžys (Lithuania). It's also is possible to get to Biržai by bus from Vilnius, Kaunas, Panevėžys, Šiauliai.

Size/capacities of Heritage Site

  • The territory of Biržai Castle is 14,7 ha.
  • Total exhibition floor space - approx. 1361,70 m²

Number of visitors in Heritage Site

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
19 069 21 673 33 970 47 230 41 194 35 453 41 616

Total (2005 – 2011) – 240 205

Marketing etc.

  • Marketing efforts
  • Marketing efforts:
  • Printing material: Catalogues with treasures of the museum, books about the main features of the Biržai history, Biržai Castle leaflets.
  • Participation in tourist fairs: Vivattur (Vilnius), Balttour (Riga).
  • Cooperations

Since 1991 the Castle is a member of Association of Castles and Museums around the Baltic Sea. In 2009-2011 participated in 2 projects of Latvian-Lithuanian cross-border cooperation program: "Cross-border network of craft as promoter of attractiveness of Latvia - Lithuania borderlands” and "Development of Accessible and Attractive Museums in Zemgale and Northern Lithuania".

  • Development plans

Works of restoring and designing of Arsenal building of the Castle are proceeding. In the near future the Centre of Military Crafts, new exhibitions, open storages will start their activities in the Arsenal building.


Facts about Biržai CastleRDF feed
Coordinateswarning.pngNo values specified.
CountryLithuania  +
Heritage Site CategoryCastle  +
PlaceBiržai  +
Reference Year2010  +
Short DescriptionBiržai bastion Castle, built in 16-17 c., is the best remained example of classical private fortification in the territory of Lithuania.
Visitors 200519,069  +
Visitors 200621,673  +
Visitors 200733,970  +
Visitors 200847,230  +
Visitors 200941,194  +
Visitors 201035,453  +
Website  +