The town or the castle was first mentioned in 1359, in Novgorod annuals. Some historians like Michal Balinski or Aleksander Polujanski indicated that this town was founded by the Vikings in the 13th century.
Most likely the settlement with a castle was founded in the 13th century as a result of young Lithuania’s defence policy. Wooden Merkinė castle became important part of river Nemunas defence line against Teutonic order.
It was Merkine castle, where Grand duke of Lithuania and Jogaila, king of Poland, granted city rights for Vilnius in 1387. First church was built in 1387 - 1392 by both Vytautas the Great and Jogaila. After the battle of Grunwald, the town started to grow rapidly. In 1532 Lithuanian Council of Lords was in session in Merkinė. Until the receiving of Magdeburg rights in 1569, here already worked taxation agencies of goods, increased numbers of inns and trades.Back
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