Taurapilis Mound stands in Taurapilis village, Tauragnai elderate, Utena district. The mound is located on the southern shore of Lake Tauragnas, 3.5 km from Tauragnai town. This is the place of the old Tauragnai. The mound was established on a high hill with steep slopes. The current area of the site is 1 350 sq.m. A part of the site on the northern side was washed away by the lake. It is believed that the site of the mound consisted of two parts, divided by an 8 m ditch. The castle stood on the eastern part of the site, while the fore-work stood on the western part. The castle was protected by an 11-14 m-high bank and a 220 m-long ditch, connected with the lake, thus forming a protective moat with water. At the 4 ha settlement at the foot of the mound archaeologists have found examples of striped, rough, smooth and thrown ceramics, as well as a clay spindle, some clay plaster and iron cinder. The most valuable find — a 5th c. duke’s barrow — was found 500 m southwards of the mound. The abundant and expensive grave goods suggest that the deceased was a noble warrior. His barrow was surrounded by other warriors’ graves with modest grave goods. Archaeologists claim that this barrow features the largest set of imported items of all Lithuanian burial grounds. In the 5th c. Danube region such expensive items used to belong to people of high social status. They could have been acquired by this warrior as war loot, perhaps while being in a multinational Hun army, or perhaps these items got to Taurapilis during clashes with Hun riders, pillaging in Lithuanian territory of the 5th c.
According to a legend, in the ancient times a group of Lithuanian warriors, led by Rigimantas and a bard in his company were wandering in these lands. At night, tired after a long journey, the warriors soon fell asleep, except for the old bard playing kanklės. His music was so beautiful that it attracted two aurochs, which came out of the forest, lied down at his feet and listened to the gentle music. The bard had the ability to talk to the inhabitants of the forest. The aurochs had showed him a better place on the other side of the lake. It was a cave. The warriors liked that place and built a castle with a sanctuary for the Gods. Since the new settlement was shown by aurochs, the new castle was given the name of Tauras (Lith. auroch). People continue to tell stories of the mysterious cave in the hill of Taurapilis and the beautiful music echoing at night — that’s the old bard, entertaining the men of Rigimantas. The top of the mound opens charming views of Tauragnai surroundings, painted with countless large and small hills and lakes.