The restored Palace of the Grand Dukes recently opened after much controversy regarding it's cost which is rumored to be around $300 million. It is spectacular and definitely worth a visit. You enter just off the south side of Cathedral Square and descend underground via escalators to begin the tour.
The lower level contains restored ruins of the original palace foundations, defensive walls, staircases and ruins of many cellars. It can be quite confusing as new structures were built on top of existing ones as they burned or were destroyed. On this level (and the others) are large information panels which tell the story of the history of the Palace and Lithuania itself in chronological order. There are literally dozens of these panels which provide an exhaustive overview (like a university course!) on all four levels. There are also displays of relics from the original castle and other historical objects going back 500 years.
The upper two floors are the restored Palace rooms. Don't expect anything looking like Versailles - most are simply built with interesting floor tiles and some carved wooden ceilings. There are also a few pieces of original period furniture scattered throughout the rooms.
There's no better place in Vilnius to get a broad overview of the country's history up to 1700. The entire complex is also extremely air conditioned which makes it a great place to visit on a hot day. All of the information panels contain complete English translations making it easy to visit.
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