Travelogue

Birza

The Birża town was first mentioned in 1450. It is on the territory of Lithuania but in the past, Lithuania  and Poland was like one country. Lithuania formed an alliance and personal union with Poland in 1385 . The town of Birża was granted Magdeburg Rights in 1589. In 1575, as preparation for the castle’s construction, a dam was built on the Agluona and Apaščia Rivers and the artificial lake, Širvėna was created. Interesting fact, as it was the very hirst artificial lake in the country. The town’s history is closely associated with the Polish mighty family Radziwiłł.  Jerzy Radziwiłł was the first noble to settle in the town.  His  daughter, Barbara Radziwiłł married the Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland Sigismund II Augustus in 1547. It was the most romantic and tragic couple in the Polish history. Sigismund II fell madly in love with Barbara Radziwill; she was romantic, beautiful, fashionable and well-educated. Sigismund and Barbara secretly married as the king’s family and the whole court in fact oppose this marriage. Five months after she was crown the Queen, she fell ill and at the age of 30 died. It might have been Sigismund’s mother,  Bona Sforza, who poisoned her, it might have been cancer, who knows! The fact is that it was possibly the greatest love of  any Polish king and it is not only talked about today,  but also many films were made about this tragedy. The castle is the best remained example of classical private fortification in Lithuania. In 1704 it was badly damaged by Swedish army but it 1986 it wasrebuild. The Castle today is one of the most interesting places in North Lithuania and well worth a visit.