Journey starts at home

Month: June 2018

Discovery path on the Baltic coast of Lithuania, Part 4: Juodkrantė

Discovery path on the Baltic coast of Lithuania, Part 4: Juodkrantė

In our previous videos, we have offered you three bike routes on the Lithuanian seacoast, and today we offer you to take a turn around Juodkrantė. It will be a mild 15-km hike, so you can both take a ride on a bike or walk. […]

A walk around amber Palanga

A walk around amber Palanga

On the days when the weather does not allow you to bathe in the sea or spend actively your leisure time, we invite you to take a walk around amber Palanga. There are many objects worth your attention: from exclusive exhibits to articles telling interesting […]

The 20th anniversary festival of the Days of Old Crafts in Nida will surprise you with its variety of activities

The 20th anniversary festival of the Days of Old Crafts in Nida will surprise you with its variety of activities

As every year, this August Nida invites all lovers of history, traditions and Baltic culture, and those holidaymakers who just want to have a good time to the Days of Old Crafts. This year the twentieth anniversary festival of live archaeology will be held, offering an open-air museum, craft workshops, folklore concerts and other entertainments, which will transport visitors to Stone, Bronze and Iron Age Lithuania. So, curious holidaymakers should not miss the opportunity to visit Neringa on August 15.

 

See and try archaic crafts

The name of the event, the Days of Old Crafts, is meaningful – archaic professions and skills, passed from generation to generation or restored with the help of historians, are the main focus and the biggest attraction of the festival. Visitors will be able to watch craftspeople at work as well as try their hand at most of the crafts demonstrated during the event themselves. The list of archaic professions presented at the jubilee festival is really impressive.

Craftspeople will invite everyone to learn about old roofing techniques, rye sourdough bread baking, soap making and how books were bound in days of old. People interested in fishing will be able to learn how to make fishing gear using ancient methods or to see how a dugout canoe is made from a hollowed tree trunk. Foodies will be interested to learn how Viking dishes of the 9th – 12th centuries were prepared.

Jewellery lovers will have a particularly wide range of choice: they will be able to see replicas of the Balts’ tribal jewellery at the event, as well as to see and participate in making Viking age Curonian jewellery. The archaic amber processing workshop will be of particular interest.

This is not an exhaustive list of crafts: usually yarn spinning, weaving, making bast shoes and other activities are presented at the festival – there is still a lot of time left until the event, and the variety of offered activities will really grow.

 

Other Baltic entertainment    

            

The participants of the event will have the opportunity to take part in various educational activities and workshops of old crafts as well as visit the fair offering plenty of traditional and organic products. As every year, music suitable for the spirit of the event will be played – artist Rugiaveidė with her family and Curonian Spit folklore ensembles Giedružė, Aušrinė and Joldija, who are traditional festival participants, will perform this year.

The festival organizers did not forget about entertainment for children. Lambs grown in the Curonian Spit National Park will wait for families with children. Some of them are colour-marked because they have owners who buy lambs for the park to graze on the meadows of the Curonian Spit during the summer, thereby helping to preserve the varied landscape, preventing the meadows from growing over with forests. Visitors will be able to see sheep doing such an important job and have the opportunity to pet them. The organizers do not doubt that this is a very useful live educational opportunity, especially for those city children who grow up without going to the countryside and rarely have the opportunity to see and touch domestic animals.

We have not listed here everything – as we have already mentioned, the festival will take place in two months, on August 15th, and the details are still being finalized. However, the organizers can already promise an unparalleled weekend in Neringa.

Lithuanian Seaside Cognitive Cycling Routes, Part 3: Nida to the Grey Dunes

Lithuanian Seaside Cognitive Cycling Routes, Part 3: Nida to the Grey Dunes

We have offered two cycling routes for holidaymakers in Palanga: to the north and to the south of the resort. Now we would like to present a route for holidaymakers in the Curonian Spit. This route of about 40 kilometres begins in Nida and extends […]

Lithuanian Seaside Cognitive Cycling Routes, Part 2: Palanga-Nemirseta-Karklė

Lithuanian Seaside Cognitive Cycling Routes, Part 2: Palanga-Nemirseta-Karklė

We recently introduced the first cycling route in the Palanga. First we suggested to go north, but now we are changing direction. The first route is more cultural-religious, but heading towards Klaipėda. This time we will pay more attention to nature because the road will […]

Lithuanian Seaside Cognitive Cycling Routes, Part 1: Palanga-Šventoji-Būtingė

Lithuanian Seaside Cognitive Cycling Routes, Part 1: Palanga-Šventoji-Būtingė

Many holidaymakers like to ride their own or rented bicycles on the cycling paths along the sea during the warm season. If you also like this type of leisure activity, we suggest taking a ride to view seaside objects which are worth seeing. We would like to offer you several different routes in the surroundings of Palanga and the Curonian Spit. The first is a bike tour of about 30 km to the north of Palanga.

The First Stop – Naglis Hill

Your tour begins at the Palanga Sea Pier and leads to the north, towards Šventoji. First, stop at Naglis Hill. It is believed that this hill was mentioned in 1425 historic documents as a place in the north of Palanga where the Teutonic Knights wanted to build their castle. However, until 1926, when it was planted with trees, Naglis Hill was a moving sand dune on which nothing could be built. In the 15th – 16th centuries, there was an alka – a sanctuary of the ancient Balts – and a settlement of Curonian fishermen located near the hill. Legend says that a mourning widow built the sand hill in honour of the brave warrior Naglis and a stream trickling at the foot of the hill originated with her tears.

When you climb down Naglis Hill, continue your tour. When you left Palanga behind, you will enter the calm Ošupis path. Its surroundings are particularly important for wintering and migrating rare water birds. The path leads up to Šventoji, where you can take a break for lunch.

 

The Second Stop – the Samogitian sanctuary Žemaičių Alka

After getting some rest and perhaps a snack, continue your tour by the sea – when you pass through the town and crossing the Šventoji River by the spectacular “monkey bridge”, cycle a little more to the north, and you will reach the Samogitian sanctuary Žemaičių Alka. Although this original sanctuary of the Balts was much closer to Palanga, it was decided to settle the the location of reconstructed alka between towns of Šventoji and Būtingė. In Žemaičių Alka you will be able to admire both the landscape and pillars symbolizing the gods of the ancient Balts carved by Lithuanian artists. They were created according to the original two-meter-high wooden pole with a carved mask of a goddess bearing an owl’s features discovered by Rimutė Rimantienė’s archaeological expeditions. Žemaičių Alka, restored in 1998, is a paleo-astronomy observatory, where the dates of calendar holidays can be calculated by the shadows of the pillars when the sun sets in the sea.

The sanctuary is also used today, and pagan rituals are held there. One of the most beautiful moments of this ritual is the sacrifice of amber to the Baltic gods. A handful of amber dust is thrown into the fire; when doing so, the person throwing the dust must think of their most secret desires or wish for something good. The dust flashes with a bright flame, thus transferring the desires and wishes of the sacrificer to the gods of the ancient Balts.

 

The last stop – Būtingė Evangelical Lutheran Church

When you say goodbye to the Samogitian sanctuary, wave to the sea and your route will continue to the east, towards the centre of Būtingė. We invite you to visit the Evangelical Lutheran Church here. There are 25 Lutheran parishes in Lithuania, and this parish is the fourth oldest – it was founded around the 1560s. True, then it was founded in Šventoji, and the first church stood at the outfall of the Šventoji River until it was washed into the sea. In the 18th century this house of prayer was transferred to Būtingė. The present church is already the fifth house of prayer in this parish, built in 1824 and having survived until these days.

 

Back to Palanga

You can choose your way back to Palanga of three routes: Liepaja highway, the Forest Path or the same road. If you are interested in history, culture and religion, the way back should not be boring – though there are not many objects of interest on that route, they should inspire reflections about the complicated history and cultural variety of our seaside. And when you have relaxed after this ride, come back – we will have prepared another cycling route for you – to the southern part of Palanga.

 

The History of Juodkrantė as Remembered by Its Old Villas

The History of Juodkrantė as Remembered by Its Old Villas

Amber Road travellers are invited to visit Juodkrantė and pay attention to the old villas built back in the 19th century. You might be wondering how the villas are associated with amber. There is no direct link, but Juodkrantė should be grateful to amber for […]