Trakai is only 20 kilometers away from Vilnius. You can go there by bus in about half an hour. The other alternative is half an hour train trip. There are six services a day from Vilnius.
Whether you come by a train or a bus, you need to go through Karaimu Street which is the oldest historical and the busiest street of the city.
At most of the restaurants on this street offers Karaimu cuisine. Their traditional food is Kıbın which is börek in Turkish.
Trakai is one of the most important tourist attractions of Lithuania thanks to both its natural beauty and its being historical. A castle on an island in the middle of the lake seemed so dreamy. Crossing through the island to the mainland was provided by a thin bridge, but if there’s a will, you can stroll around the castle by boat.
The image of the castle reflected on the water was quite photographic. When you get on the mainland you can dine in the small restaurants on the shore or hire a pedalo and go for a sail.
We know Karaim people as “Karaylar” in Turkish. Karaims have been living on this street since the 14th century. Karaims came here after Duke Vytautas had gone on a military expedition to Crimea. Back in the days, they had settled here and protected the Duke. But, their population had decreased in time. Because, most of the people having been brought here were men. Now, the number of the pure Karaims has descreased to until 300 people. Their religion is Karaim which is a branch in Judaism and their chapel is called Kenesa (Synagogue).
The difference between Karaim and Judaism is that Jewish people believe Judaism runs from the Jewish mother while Karaims believe it runs from the father.
If there are three windows on the side of the house facing the street, it means that the people in this house are believed to be the Karaims from Crimea.
Thrace region which has become a nation for Karaims is a place that should be seen. You may forget Vilnius when you get back to Lithuania but with its great view, Trakai will have already been imprinted on your mind.