Stage 17 : Visit Lithuania, a wonderful country

Stage 17 : Visit Lithuania, a wonderful country.

CENTRAL ROUTE

Stage 17/24 - 220 kms


0 km Trakai

28 kms Vilnius

192 kms Minsk

carte Trakai a Minsk

Trakai : Legendary castle

Trakai - Lithuania

Trakai - Lithuania © Anna
Lurye - Fotolia.com

Surrounded by several beautiful lakes, Trakai is a historical capital of medieval Lithuania, captivating with its architecture, its medieval castles and Karaite and Tatar cuisine. The old town of Trakai is highly popular with Lithuania’s inhabitants and foreigners. It is located west of Vilnius, amidst the hills, forests and lakes. The shores of the peninsula on which it lies are washed by the waters of Lake Galvė. Totoriskiu and Bernardinu. This town, famous for its scenic landscape and the legendary Trakai Castle, was the cradle of the Lithuanian State, a major military and political centre. Today, Trakai attracts visitors offering them walks around the splendid area or yacht trips on one of the numerous lakes. During your visit you should taste the most popular dish of this ethnic group, kybyn, a small appetizer stuffed with minced meat that can be savoured at the Karaime Restaurant.

Vilnius : a cosmopolitan city rich in culture

Vilnius - Lithuania

Vilnius - Lithuania © dinozzaver - Fotolia.com

Vilnius is Lithuania’s capital and largest city. Cosmopolitan, it is located in southern Lithuania at the confluence of the Neris and Vilnia Rivers, close to a site presumed to be Europe’s geographic centre, whose location is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Vilnius as Lithuania’s capital is known through the letters of Grand Duke Gediminas in 1323. There is a famous legend about Gediminas concerning the creation of the city of Vilnius. On one night, in his dream, he saw an iron wolf howling loudly on a hilltop. In the morning, his soothsayer interpreted the dream as a sign for him to build a town on this specific site. A castle was built and the city of Vilnius was established. Vilnius is a cosmopolitan city with a diverse architecture.

Kernavė Archaeological Site (about 35 km from Trakai and Vilnius)

KERNAVE - Lithuania

KERNAVE - Lithuania © maartenhoek - Fotolia.com

The Kernavė Archaeological site, about 35 km north-west of Vilnius in eastern Lithuania, bears an outstanding testimony to some 10 millennia of human presence in this region. Lying in the valley of the Neris River, the site is a complex ensemble of archaeological sites, encompassing the town of Kernavė, forts, unfortified settlements, burial sites and other archaeological, historical and cultural monuments from the late Palaeolithic period to the Middle Ages. The site of 194.4 ha has preserved the traces of ancient land use, as well as remains of five hill forts, part of an exceptionally high defence system. Kernavė was an important feudal town in the Middle Ages. The town was destroyed by the Teutonic Order in the late 14th century, but the site remained in use until modern times.

The different nations of Vilnius

In 1994 the historic centre of Vilnius was inscribed on the UNESCO World heritage list as having an outstanding universal value. The city’s historic area took shape in the 14-18th centuries and covered the area of 359,5 ha. Vilnius has a strong influence on cultural and architectural development of the entire Central and Eastern Europe region. The objects of Vilnius historic centre are extraordinary examples of a unique kind of architectural development in a natural setting through the evolution of influences of various periods and cultures. One of Europe’s most beautiful capitals was famous for its tolerance towards the different nations and religions. Inhabitants of various nationalities and faiths settled in the city and its suburbs, both Eastern and Western traditions thrived together in this easternmost centre of Western culture. In the 16th century, a defensive wall surrounded the city’s historical centre.

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Minsk : Opera passion

MINSK - Belarus

MINSK - Belarus © Grigory Bruev - Fotolia.com

Minsk is the capital and largest city of Belarus with 1,8 million inhabitants. Minsk was known in 1067, which means that Minsk is older than European cities such as Moscow and Stockholm. Large parts of Minsk were destroyed during World War II and were rebuilt in the Soviet period. Those who are passionate about culture can go to ballet and opera performances. In addition to this, Minsk has several good restaurants, pubs and discotheques. Definitely, you will not get bored in Minsk.

Struve geodetic arc (on the route between Vilnius and Minsk)

The Struve Geodetic Arc is a network of triangulations stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea, across ten countries and over 2 820 km, which resulted in the first accurate measurement of a meridian. The chain was created and used by the German-born Russian scientist Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve in the years 1816 to 1855 to ascertain the earth’s exact size and shape. At that time, the chain ran only through two countries namely Union of Sweden - Norway and the Russian Empire.

The Arc’s first point is located in Tartu Observatory in Estonia, where Struve carried out an extensive part of his research. In 2005, the chain was inscribed on the World Heritage List as a memorable ensemble; chain made up of 34 commemorative plaques or obelisks out of the 265 main station points which are marked by holes drilled in rock, iron crosses, cairns and others. Measurement of the triangulation chain consists of 258 main triangles and 265 geodetic vertices. The northernmost point is located near Hammerfest in Norway and the southernmost point near the Black Sea in Ukraine.

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