Kernavė / Trakai – Highlights
Kernavė, a small town situated on the right bank of the Neris River at 35 km from Vilnius, was one of the first centres of the State of Lithuania in the past (13th century), is the first capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania mentioned in historical chronicles (the second half of the 18th century).
Pajauta Valley that is shrouded in legends and five hill forts at its edge protect the remains of the capital of the last European pagan state. The State Cultural Reserve of Kernavė was founded in 1989. The present cultural reserve, covering an area of 196.2 hectares, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004, harbours complex archaeological strata from prehistoric times, and the entire area is used only for cultural tourism and scientific research. The exceptional world value of the place is continuation of its settling from the late Palaeolithic age (the 9th century BC) up to the present day.
Kernavė Archaeology and History Museum will give visitors of the Museum the opportunity to become acquainted with the pre-history and Middle Ages of Kernavė. The hill forts of Kernavė are unique in the entire Baltic Sea region, as there are five on just one location. An impressive view of the turns of the Neris River, the island of the river and its banks open from it. On the road to Kernavė, having turned left in the town of Dūkštai, a forest path will lead you to the area of burial mounds in Karmazinai. There are about 130 burial mounds in that area; three of them were reconstructed after archaeological excavations had been carried out there. Having climbed a mountain by the road beyond Dūkštai, you will find yourself in the largest oak-wood in Lithuania on the edge of which there is a rock with runes. At the confluence of the Dūkšta and Neris rivers, having turned off the road a little in the direction of Vievis, there is a hill-fort of Karmazinai with a beautiful view of the Neris valley where once there was a pagan place of worship. A cognitive part meanders among the old oak-trees next to the hill fort.
Trakai – the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Visit the 15th century Insular Trakai Castle housing an exhibition on prehistoric findings and the 17-18th century applied art, the way of life of the Lithuanian Grand Dukes, and the Karaites, brought to Lithuania from the Crimea.