Probably everyone has heard about the first capital of Lithuania – throne castle of King Mindaugas, called Voruta? Even though historians and archaeologists still do not agree on its exact place, one of the most likely places is Šeimyniškėliai mound with its hillfort in Anykščiai district, right near the northern town border of Anykščiai.
This speculation is also based on the fact that a strong wooden castle was built here around the middle of the 13th century, at the time, when the country of Lithuania was being established and no one has ever lived here before. A rather big settlement of those times was also found near this mound.
It is thought that this was the very castle, where Mindaugas was defending himself from his competitor, duke Tautvilas and the coalition that he had put together, which contained Samogitians and Ruthenians from the Principality of Galicia–Volhynia. Meanwhile, Mindaugas was supported by a platoon of troops, sent from the Livonian Order to Voruta.
As this hillfort was situated between the Varelis and Volupis streams, it probably recalls many events of an international extent. At that time, such an important place and the settlement, established nearby, could not be bypassed by the merchants from the most distant regions as well as messengers from many lands. One of the best craftsmen of these times should have been concentrating here and were given some work by the nobles, who were living and often coming here, as well as by representatives from the environment of the ruler.
When climbing up the mound, consisting of two parts, which is almost 12–15 m high, looking around the surroundings, you will be able to imagine smoke, coming out of the huts in the settlement, bustling people, neighing horses, anvils ringing in the smithy and the messengers hustling to the castle with important messages. You will also be able to guess where did the main building of the castle was standing on the site on the hillfort in which King Mindaugas himself was settled and often considered the affairs of the country.
Šeimyniškėliai is the only mound in Lithuania, which was fully examined; therefore there are plans to build a wooden castle on it, which would remind of the times when Mindaugas had ruled. Some of the works have already been done – a wooden bridge was built over one of the streams, wooden watch tower was raised and a courtyard reminiscent of the medieval times is equipped near the castle and all of this is designed for educational activities. Here, you can get acquainted with the history of a former castle and see its model as well as examples of archaeological findings or buy some souvenirs. In this place you can also try out some fun medieval experiences, like to test your accuracy in throwing a spear or shooting from a bow as well as to get acquainted with other peculiarities of living at those times.
Various historical feasts are being celebrated on the Šeimyniškėliai mound: the most important of them is the 6th of July – the Coronation Day of Lithuanian King Mindaugas.