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Trim and revamped protected areas to welcome visitors

2014-02-25

Time relentlessly brings changes to sites that humans wish to preserve as unique monuments of natural beauty. Impressive slopes are slowly eaten away by erosion, unforgettable landscapes are quickly covered with low-value brushwood, and numerous visitors and irresponsible holidaymakers leave the most beautiful natural sites marked with waste. To wipe out the traces of time and humans, the protected areas have witnessed the renewal of more than 70 protected sites. A large part of them is already open to visitors.

Šatrija, the Queen of Hills

The Šatrija Hill complex is an all-year-round tourist attraction. There visitors will find new stairs, information areas and fortified slopes that have been damaged by erosion. Also, information stands and arrows have been installed at this complex. To clear the view of the castle hill, low-value tress and brushes have been cut. Also, a special itinerary for the complex has been prepared.

Šatrija is said to be the most beautiful hill of Samogitia. Legend has it that it used to be a gathering place of all Samogitia’s witches, while the hill itself, the highest point of this ethnic region, was built by witches mounding earth over a church. A viewpoint on Pašatrija Castle Hill offers views of Girgždūtė, Sprūdė and Medvėgalis Castle Hills, Žąsūgala, Žiograkalnis and Kietkalnis Hills, the towns of Užventis, Upyna and Luokė and the spires of Telšiai Cathedral. Archaeological excavations show that people resided in this place already in the early 2nd century B.C., while a wooden castle stood there from the 14th century. This site is supposed to have been one of the main centres of pagan faith, destroyed after the introduction of Christianity. Thus the complex is a union of both nature and history.

Skiing in Karoliniškės

The Karoliniškės Reserve in Vilnius has also been revamped for visitors. To provide conditions for educational tourism, recreational infrastructure and a system of pedestrian tourist itineraries have been installed. Residents of Vilnius will have an opportunity to get to know the most beautiful natural sites of the city better, in particular the Plikakalnis escarpment, the hills and the isles on the River Neris at Žvėrynas. The reserve has been equipped with rest places, viewpoints, a site for events with bonfires, benches for visitors and a rest place by the River Neris.

The Karoliniškės Reserve also offers renovated cycling paths integrated into the city’s system and convenient parking places for cyclists. However, this urban natural area should bring joy not only in the warm season: one can get a look at the reserve on skis on a nice winter day.

Visit Lithuania’s highest point

The Juozapinė State Geomorphological Reserve has been straightened up as well. Although for a long time Juozapinė was considered to be Lithuania’s highest hill, the latest data show that it has been ‘outpaced’ by Aukštojas Hill situated in the same reserve. Visitors to Juozapinė can get a panoramic view of the territory from Lithuania’s highest point equipped with an observation tower. During the project, this area underwent some landscaping and a monument by sculptor Dalia Matulaitė was erected in the highest place of Lithuania.

Pagan Witch’s Stone and Christian Lourdes in Kartena

Kartena is believed to have been an important Curonian fort and administrative centre in the 9–13th centuries. This fort had withstood many enemy attacks before it was burnt down by Crusaders in 1263.

Today the Kartena Castle Hill archaeological complex features a pedestrian path connecting the key sites of the complex, with stops, information stands, signs and directions. Also, felling for the purpose of landscaping has been carried out and other recreational infrastructure has been installed.

The Kartena Castle Hill complex also has the mythological Witch’s Stone and Kartena Lourdes which is believed to have been built on the site of a former pagan sacrifice hill. Now this place contains a rock Lourdes Grotto with a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes. The water of a spring in front of the sanctuary is said to possess healing properties…

Public Information Division
25.02.2014

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas