Nemunas delta regional park, – Rusnė, Kintai or Mingė, Nida – Highlights

Nemuno delta regional park

Which  is known as Lithuanian bird paradise, where large number of water and marsh birds breed, where you can see and hundreds of thousands of migrating birds stop en route. More than 300 species have been observed here, and nearly 200 species of birds nesting: red-necked grebe, bittern, white-tailed eagle, montage’s harrier, eagle, corncrake. This landscape is created by water – there are many interlaced rivers, lakes – the lagoon of Krokų lanka and many other smaller lakes. There are also old river beds, marshes and fens.

Minija (Minė, Mingė)

Minija is also called “Lithuanian Venice” because of its unique landscape. Village was fist mentioned in 16th century and originates for the river name, but earlier it was called only Minė. Germans called the village Minge. River Minija divides the village into 2 parts, but there are now bridges. Every house in Minija is facing the river and people say, that river is the street there. The town was flooded periodically. In 19th century there were 76 houses and more than 400 people lived in Minija. In the beginning of 20th century there were more than 100 houses. But before the Second World War, only 28 habitable homesteads were left. There are 11 nineteenth and twentieth century monumental buildings now. Each house in the village has its own pier for boats. The majority of housings aredouble-ended, sheds with raised roofs are built of red bricks. There are alsowooden buildings – their plans, design, external shape, volume, decor is typical offolk architecture of the Pomeranian region.

Rusnė

One of the oldest settlements in the Nemunas Delta. This is the only city in Lithuania that is in the island. Rusnė was born in the middle of 12th century, when Teutonic Order gradually began to establish itself on the shores of the Baltic sea and Curonian lagoon region. The year 1366 was very important for Rusnė as the town and island‘s name was mentioned for the first time in the letter telling about Vorusnė village and the branch of Nemunas called Rusnė. Having settled down and accustomed to the rhythm of island life, in 1448 citizens of Rusnė partied in the town’s first tavern and in 1583 their great-grandchildren started attending first school in the island. In 15th century the town gradually grew: new taverns and boutiques opened their doors, book lovers used to search for reading material in library and bookstores, locals worked in the mill and sawmill. During the special occasions citizens of Rusnė refreshed themselves with famous punch made in the island. Already in 16th century Rusnė was famous for its weekend markets, since 1792 they were held officially. In 18-19th centuries people of Rusnė often had to endure wartime difficulties as the Prussian state which Rusnė belonged to was frequently involved in wars. But this only strengthened the community of island.

Ventė cape

This is the place with the lonely lighthouse, built as if on the very edge of the world, and people, in whose eyes only water and sky are reflected, who ring birds so that they can observe their journey through the sky. Ventė cape is one of the best places in Europe to observe migrant birds. For this reason, ornithologists both from Lithuania and abroad meet here every year. You will be able to see the birds and walk around the area and to the Ventė cape lighthouse.

Nida(German: Nidden)

 Is an upmarket holiday resort town famous for its sea-shore and sand dunes. The town is located on the Curonian Spit between the Curonian Lagoon (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the Baltic Sea. Nida is the westernmost point of Lithuania and the Baltic States. First mentioned by Teutonic Order in macher colony documents in 1429 and 1497, the settlement was originally 5 km south of today’s position.  Continuously threatened by sand drifts, the village was moved away from the dune to today’s position in the 1730s.

Nidden became part of Lithuania together with the northern half of the Curonian Spit in 1919 after World War I and was officially renamed Nida. Nevertheless the village remained a German-majority settlement – the border with East Prussia’s half of the Spit lay only a few kilometres to the south. Nobel Prize-winning writer Thomas Mann lived in Nida during the summers of 1930–32. Part of Joseph and His Brothers (Joseph und seine Brüder) was written here. Mann’s summer cottage survived and it is presently a culture center dedicated to the writer, with a memorial exhibition.

The Curonian Spit

Is a 98 km long, thin, curved sand-dunespit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast. Its southern portion lies within Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia and it’s northern within southwestern Lithuania. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site shared by the two countries. Since 2000, the Curonian Spit has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List under cultural criteria “V” (an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture […], or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change).