Posted by: Rasma R | September 25, 2013

Dzukija National Park, Lithuania

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This national park was founded in 1991 to preserve the landscapes, forests of pine trees, and the regional villages. Dzukija National Park lies on the banks of the Nemunas River. The park enjoys a continental climate and within this park is the ethnographic village of Zervynos.

Zervynos is located in Dzukija National Park near the Ula River. A railroad line St. Petersburg-Warsaw runs through the village. The village has a number of homesteads and separate buildings which have been declared ethnographic monuments. Zervynos is somewhat isolated due to the Dainava Forest but during the summer months lots of tourists go kayaking on the Ula River passing by the village.

The village has kept its original layout dating back to the 18th century. Right by the central street one can see the farm houses running along in a narrow strip between the river and the valley. All of the buildings have been made of pine wood. Right in the middle of the village are three crosses which have been built in different years, two more crosses can be found on the bank of the Ula River and by a crossroad near the cemetery.

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The folk artist Algis Svirnelis who rebuilt the crosses lives in Zervynos as does the Lithuanian National Prize laureate writer Juozas Aputis who won the prize in 2005. In 2001 began an annual Mushroom Festival which people attended and could then pick mushrooms in the surrounding forests. The village is also known for beekeeping and there are two old pine hallows which are home for the bees and have been declared natural monuments.

Dzukija National Park has been divided into four functional zones – protective, recreational, preservative, and economical. Within the preservative zone are the Merkys, Nemunas, and Ula rivers. There are also 48 lakes of which the largest are the Lynas, Lizdai, Gelovine, Glynas, Galvinis, Gilse, and Kastinis. There are many wonderful trees and tree groves. Groves of black alder and birches. Marshes are home to numerous species of protected plants. Within the forests you can find many edible mushrooms and there’s great berry picking as well.

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Visitors to the park can find trails for hiking and paths for bikes. There are places for visitors to relax, build bonfires, and foot-bridges for easy access. One can climb the watchtower to get fantastic views of the wide open bog. When you visit the park you start at the information center where you can get excursion guides and information about camping areas and places to stay in the villages found within the park territory.

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