Trakai History Museum
Kestučio Str. 4,
LT-21104, Trakai

Museum administration
+370 528 55297
+370 528 53945
Trakai Island Castle ticket office, guided tours
+370 528 53946
Fax +370 5 285 5288
Exhibition of Liturgical Art
+370 528 55 297
S. Shapshal Karaim Ethnographic Museum
+370 528 55 286

Opening Hours

November - February
Trakai Island Castle Museum
Tuesday - Sunday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

November - March
Exhibition of Liturgical Art
Wednesday - Sunday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

November - March
S. Shapshal Karaim Ethnographic Museum

Wednesday - Sunday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Opening Hours in the other Months are here

Exhibitions, events

Augustinas Savickas
Exhibition „The Nobles“
Trakai Island Castle
2019 12 06 – 2020 01 14

Exhibition „From the story
of Christmas tree toys“
Trakai Island Castle
2019 12 06 – 2020 01 13

International bookplate competition 2018


Medininkai Castle

Medininkai Castle Division

St. Casimir g. 2, LT-13192 Medininkai k., Vilniaus r.

Excursions, educations, information
tel. +370525 05 595,

Head of Department -
Gintautas Terleckas
tel. +370696 60246


The concept of the Gothic costume: from asceticism to luxury

2016. 12. 12

Historically, a costume is not merely a set of human clothing. The composition of the clothing fabric, visual pattern, weight, styling, the shape and fabrication of shoes, the costume accessories, as well as the manner of wearing the entire costume affect the wearer’s posture and gait; and even effect a style of communication, influence the mindset, as well as the content of speech. The Gothic fashion, and the entire Gothic era, was radical and eccentric. At that time, the Church considered such costumes to be ugly and inappropriate, claiming that such attire provoked pride or jealousy. The climax of sophisticated Gothic elegance evidenced the brightness and contrasting of colours, abundance of details, luxuriously patterned fabrics, expensive fur bordering, heraldic elements, silk velvet, brocade, silver or gold threads, and thin as a spider's web Flemish laces.

This exhibition presents typical clothing and accessories that were worn in Western Europe from the 11th until the 15th century. These outfits were created by Lithuanian medieval culture enthusiasts. The exhibits are arranged in a chronological order and reflect the culture of clothing of wealthy citizens and courtiers. The costumes consist exclusively of natural fabrics –linen, cotton, wool, and silk – and are constructed in accordance to authentic drawings of typical medieval clothing. One exhibit consists of a minimum of two layers: underwear and a major item of clothing. However, there are costumes that are comprised of three, or four layers of clothing.

In the first hall, the exhibition begins with the bliaut, an overgarment that was worn by both women and men, from the 11th until the beginning of the 13th century. The distinctive features of this garment are the long and flared sleeves, and lacing on the sides. You will also see the kirtle, which emerged in the 14th century, and which has been worn until well after the Middle Ages. The kirtle has a characteristic tight waist, with lacing on the sides or on the front, and narrow sleeves. This exhibit was reconstructed according to the illustration of the French manuscript, ‘Les Très Belles Heures du duc de Berry’, dated 1408 / 1409. There are costumes consisting of a kirtle and the surcoat – an outer garment that appeared at the end of the 13th century. The surcoat that is displayed in the exhibit is characteristic of the 15th century. Because of exceptionally large openings for arms, the surcoat was sometimes called ‘the gates of hell’. The remaining garments in the first hall, as well as several exhibits in the second hall, are called houppelandes. The houppelande is a characteristic gown of the end of the 14th and the 15th century. This gown is a loose outer garment, which is fastened with a belt. The distinctive feature of this robe is the decorated flaring sleeves; the edges of the sleeves were usually cut into decorative patterns. With the houppelande, the chaperon – a round headdress of stuffed cloth – was worn by both women and men; and there is the escoffion (French), an improved version of the chaperon.

In the second hall of the exhibition, adjacent to two houppelandes, there are two fine dresses – the so-called Burgundian gowns. This upper garment for women has a specific feature – a deep V-shaped neckline. The sleeves of this gown are usually narrow, with folded cuffs. However, there are cases, where the Burgundian gowns have the same wide sleeves as the houppelandes.At the time of the Burgundian gown, in the middle of the 15th century, appeared the hennin – a truncated cone-shaped headdress, which design provokes much speculations. Over time, the Burgundian gown evolved into two types of the dress. The first type was the gown without a deep neckline, and wide collar-flaps.  The second type was the gown with retained deep-cut neckline, however without collar flaps; and with a laced front to underline the beauty of waistline curvature. The final exhibit regards two Italian styles. The first model is dressed in the gamurra– the equivalent of the kirtle in Italy; and with the giornea – an ornate upper garment. The second model is wearing a black gamurra of a slightly different cut as the main garment; and an upper garment, called a cioppa, reflecting the Burgundian fashion features.

The exhibition’s showcase houses various medieval costume accessories, including:  skilfully crafted shoes, various household tools, which people attached to their costume (e.g., pouches, knife, scissors),ready to use as may be necessary.

This exhibition illustrates an intellectual nature of fashion. Also demonstrated is how the woman’s costume shapes the body: by changing the silhouette, so as to outline certain forms. Thus is evidenced the ideal of a Gothic woman, as known from chivalric romance novels:  fragile, delicate, and subtle. The knowledge of such historical-era costuming allows the realistic play of the roles of personages of bygone epochs, and to emotionally perceive the past; and the remaining positive emotional flashback assumes an aesthetic value.

The exhibition was initiated by Rasa Kasperienė, the head of the association ‘Parcuns’, and Eglė Kukytė. The costumes for the exhibition were lent by Rasa and Deividas Kasperai, Deimantė Boreišaitė,  Rima Cvilikaitė, Eglė Kukytė, Ksenija Stasiulienė (Saltus Gladii), Jovilė Grėbliauskaitė (LDK Varčiai, Saltus Gladii),  Vaida, Maslauskaitė, Inga Udovičiūtė, Lukrecija Vaitkevičiūtė-Kilimonienė (Mysteria Mundi), and Aistė Vilkytė (Viduramžių pasiuntiniai).
The curators of the exhibition are Alvyga Zmejevskienė, head of History Department at the Trakai History Museum, and Irena Senulienė, head of Collection Accounting and Storage Department of the Museum.

The exhibition will be open until the31st of March 2017.