Stage 16 : Welcome in Lithuania for a cultural stay

Stage 16 : Welcome in Lithuania for a cultural stay.

CENTRAL ROUTE

Stage 16/24 - 303 kms


0 km Augustow

115 kms Merkinè

105 kms Kaunas

83 kms Trakai

carte Augustow a Trakai

A cultural stay in Augustow : a tourist and spa town that has it all

AUGUSTOW - Poland

AUGUSTOW - Poland © Tata2anka - Fotolia.com

Augustow is a city in north-eastern Poland. It lies on the Netta River and the Augustow Canal and is surrounded by the beautiful Necko, Biale and Rospuda lakes, in Poland’s Podlaskie Province.   This explains why it was dubbed “The Venice of the North”. The town also lies near the Wigry and the Biebrza national parks. It is a lowland spa centre, considered as the most important spa in the Augustow Forest area. Augustow is an important crossroads on the main route between Warsaw and Lithuania. The Augustow Canal was originally built as a vital trade route, but today is only open for tourist activities. Due to the climatic conditions and the essential oils obtained from the coniferous trees in the area, this health resort has become famous for the treatment of heart diseases.

Merkinè : battles of past but ethnological suprises

Merkinė - Lithuania

Merkinė - Lithuania © Birute Vijeikiene - Fotolia.com

Merkinè is one of Lithuania’s oldest towns, lying at the confluence of the Neman and Merkis Rivers, mentioned in 1377 in the Crusaders’ battle descriptions. It is Dzūkija’s ancient capital, surrounded by amazing scenery, reminding us not only of the battles with the Crusaders, the ancient leaders of Lithuania and Poland, but also of the Russian Czar Petr. In the Merkinė region, the old traditions of burning black ceramics still exist. Several types of attractive ecological and ethnological trips start from here.

Dzūkija National Park

Lithuania’s largest preserved territory is the Dzūkija National Park. It occupies more than 58 000 hectares and includes 4 municipalities in south Lithuania. The Dzūkija National Park is a complex of tourism entertainments that allows visitors to enjoy many activities without spoiling nature. The Dzūkija National Park is open to visitors who want to spend a great time in protected natural surroundings. Bicycle and canoe rental is available for tourists.

Kaunas : A major economic city

KAUNAS - Lithuania

KAUNAS - Lithuania
© Aleksei Kruhlenia - Fotolia.com

Kaunas is Lithuania’s second-largest city and has always been a major centre of Lithuanian economic, academic, and cultural life. Kaunas was the largest city and the centre of a powiat in Trakai Voivodeship of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since 1413.  During the Russian Empire occupation it was the capital of the Kovno Governorate. It became Europe’s only temporary capital during the interwar period. It is also the seat of the Kaunas Roman Catholic Archdiocese. Kaunas lies at the confluence of Lithuania’s two largest rivers, the Neman and the Neris, and near the Kaunas Reservoir, the largest body of water of the whole of Lithuania.

Skiemoniai, a famous pilgrimage site

It was a Friday, 13 June, 1962, around twenty-three hours, then on the next day at the same time, in the locality of Janonai, eighteen-year old Françoise-Romaine Macuys claimed having seen the “Virgin dressed in white” who said: “I am going to save humanity if people turn towards God. I will obtain another miracle from God, but He must be worshipped. You must make sacrifices, especially observe the precepts of fasting and the commandments of the Church.” A local pilgrimage started. On 25 July 1962 a “luminous phenomenon” was observed at the place where the apparitions occurred.

Trakai : an authentic tourist city and cultural events

Trakai - Lithuania

Trakai - Lithuania © Anna
Lurye - Fotolia.com

Trakai is a symbol of Lithuanian tourism like Venice in Italy or St. Petersburg in Russia. Likewise, Trakai was a former State of governor residence; the city has hosted many important historical and cultural events. And like Venice or St. Petersburg, Trakai is a city on the water. The city of Trakai is located approximately 28 kilometres from the Lithuanian capital. Trakai is famous not only for its castles, but also for other monuments such as the St. Virgin Mary Church, which in 1409 was founded by Vytautas the Great. During the Middle Ages Trakai was a multicultural settlement. Nowadays, the castles of Trakai are one of Lithuania’s most visited tourist sites, during the year it attracts up to 300 000 visitors.

Trakai Island Castle

Trakai was one of the main centres of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the castle held a significant strategic importance. The Island Castle and the Peninsula Castle are the most famous works of Lithuania’s defensive architecture. An interesting fact about the Trakai Island Castle is that the town was built and preserved by people of different nationalities. The communities of Karaites, Tatars, Lithuanians, Russians and Poles lived here. The Christian and Karaites communities were granted separate governmental autonomy. During summer, Trakai Island Castle becomes a centre of numerous musical and cultural performances. In Trakai, tourists enjoy relaxing by the water, a boat or motorcycle ride, swimming, fishing, camping or simply a quiet moment in a café on the bank of the Galve Lake.

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