The legend of the Kaunas Old Town

One of many theories explaining the origin of the name of Kaunas is based on the verb kautis (‘to fight’). It relates to frequent battles held in the vicinity of Kaunas (especially from the thirteenth century to the beginning of the fifteenth). The castle of Kaunas played a special role in the fights between Lithuanians and German orders. Its dungeons, together with the troops held captive in them, became the subject of many legends.

One legend has it that underneath the Old Town of Kaunas there lies another, even older and even more beautiful Kaunas which predates Christian times and which fell under the ground after it failed to withstand an attack by Germans. The entrance to the underground Kaunas is hidden near the castle and the residents of this town occasionally lure in unknowing passers-by hoping that they would know how to free the town from the curse. Another legend tells of a princess who lives in the underground town and awaits its saviour who would lift the curse so that she and her army could rise above ground.

The residents of Kaunas believe not only that there exists an underground tunnel which connects the castle and the nearby Church of St. George but also other underground escape paths. It is believed that by these paths the Duke Vytautas of Lithuania and his army made their escape from Kaunas Castle.