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Dzūkija

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Winter serenity in Dzūkija. A cottage near Veisiejai town.

Dzūkija is a region in Lithuania.

Cities[edit]

  • Vilnius — the capital of the country; one of the four cities that are not assigned to any ethnographic region
  • Alytus — centre and unofficial capital of the region
  • Aukštadvaris — a town in Trakai district, popular recreation and outdoor activities destination
  • Druskininkai — SPA resort
  • Trakai — small town 28km away from capital. A former capital of the country with a residence of medieval rulers. Centre of the Historical National Park and resort area
  • Veisiejai — a town in Lazdijai district, popular recreation and outdoor activities destination

Other destinations[edit]

  • Dzūkija National Park — is composed of the Čepkeliai State Nature Reserve and the Dzūkija National Park and is one of 13 PAN parks in Europe. Largest forest in the country with old unique villages scattered in the middle
  • Pawłow Republic (Paulavos respublika) — remains of the "republic within a republic" which flourished 1769-1795
  • Perloja — a village not far from Druskininkai, famous for its history and the monument to Grand Duke Vytautas, the only monument related to national hero which wasn't demolished during soviet years and remains authentic to date
  • Purnuškės — small village 26km north of Vilnius where according to measures of the French Institut géographique national is the geographical centre of Europe
Ūla river flows past Mančiagirė village in Dzūkija National Park.

Understand[edit]

Dzūkija is a cultural region in south-eastern Lithuania. Most of the region is sparsely populated and covered by forests, stretching north-east from the border with the Polish region of Podlaskie. The northern part of the region, however, is the cradle of Lithuanian statehood and includes the current capital Vilnius and previous medieval capital Trakai. Two of Lithuania's five national parks can be found here, as well as two of country's four UNESCO World heritage sites. Eight regional parks are also established in the region and serve to protect both the natural environment and cultural heritage.

Talk[edit]

Official language is Standard Lithuanian, the local tongue is a Dzūkian dialect. Due to proximity of areas populated by Slavs (Belarus, Poland) it has many Slavic loanwords and barbarisms; in everyday life Dzūkian can be replaced with lithuanized Belarusian or Polish. Historically the narrow elongated area between Vilnius and Hrodna, and between Vilnius and Daugavpils, which mark the ancient connection between both capitals of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth with subsequent extension north to Livonia, experienced a significant impact of Polish culture. Local people used to hear and used to speak several different languages, including Yddish, hence in this area a distinctive local dialect developed. It's called a Tuteisza, or Local in English, and it is equally understood by local Lithuanians, Russians, Poles, Belarusians, Tatars and Karaites. Formerly this dialect was also called "Lithuanian", that is, a "Polish of Lithuania", and now usually is referred to as "Polish". Geographically the area is called Vilnija (in Lithuanian) and Wileńszczyzna (in Polish), that is, a Vilnius Region in English, and compiles some sort of a cultural subregion of Dzūkija region.

Inland dunes covered with large pine forests in Dzūkija National Park.
Entrance to abandoned Soviet anti-aircraft base north of Vilnius, Verkiai Regional Park, coordinates 54°49'3.43"N, 25°17'42.28"E.

Get in[edit]

If you fly by plane to Vilnius - you are in the region as soon as you land there.

If you fly by plane to Kaunas - go SE direction, cross the A1 motorway, and soon you'll be in the region. Or drive towards Vilnius, you enter the region when some 50km are left to Vilnius.

By car or bus from Poland (south and south-west) - as soon as you enter the country via E67 highway, turn to the right (east) and soon you'll be in the region. If you enter the country any south, e.g. via Lazdijai, Pazapsiai or Kapčiamiestis - it already is Dzūkija region.

By car or bus from Belarus (south and east) - as soon as you enter the country via any of three border crossing points, you are in the region, and even before you cross the border, you are in Belarusian side of it.

By car or bus from Riga (Latvia) (north) - go via the A2 motorway, you reach the region past Širvintos and just before Maišiagala. If coming from Daugavpils (Latvia) (north) south direction along Belarus border via the road No 102 - you enter the region at Švenčionys town.

Get around[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

  • Historical and ethnographic sites and objects
  • Mythological sites and objects
  • Nature sites and objects
  • Recreation areas

Itineraries[edit]

Do[edit][add listing]

Festivals[edit]

  • Medininkai Castle living history festival (Medininkų pilies gyvosios istorijos festivalis), Šv. Kazimiero St 2, LT-13192 Medininkai village, Vilnius district (East of Vilnius near Belarus border, south of the A3 highway in the actual Medininkai village by the local road No 5213), Info: +370 5 250-5595 (). 10:00-18:00. Festivals of historical reenactment that take place on February and September weekends, for the specific date check the news on the website. For visitors: ~€2, photography ~€1.50. (54.5398,25.65006)
  • Subatėlės vakarėly... (On a Saturday evening...), Miškininkų St 61, Marcinkonys village, LT-65301 Varėna district (get the guidance from Tourist Office first - walk for 1.4km NW direction from the train station), +370 310 44466 (). Second half - the end of July. International folklore festival, annually organized by Marcinkonys Ethnography Museum. Takes place in Marcinkonys village itself and in several other ethnographic localities in vicinity, that is, within Dzūkija National Park, therefore all general rules of visiting the Park applies. Apart the folk music and songs, features a fair of local goods and various ancient craft workshops by Kastinis lake at 54°3'32.61"N, 24°25'25.81"E . (54.061246,24.398271) edit
  • Poetinis Druskininkų Ruduo (Druskininkai Poetic Autumn), Druskininkai (South of region near the Belarusian border), +370 650 25237 (). Annually on the 1st half of October, entire week throughout. The traditional international literary festival organized by public organization "Druskininkai Poetic Fall" with co-organizers. Typically, foreign guests are met at Lithuanian Writers' Union HQ in Vilnius, K. Sirvydo St 6, in the very centre of the city. From there, next day at 16:30, all guests are transported to Druskininkai. Event takes place in various cafes and bookstores, everything is arranged and scheduled well in advance.

Other[edit]

  • Bicycling
  • Canoeing
  • Car trips
  • Hiking
  • Mushroom/berry picking during the season.
  • Pivashiūnai Crafts Centre (Pivašiūnų amatų centras), Trakų St 33, Pivašiūnai village, Alytus district (village centre; between Alytus and Trakai on the regional road No 220), +370 315 90009 (). T-Th 09:00–18:00, F-Sa 09:00–15:00. Offers various educational programs about Dzūkian crafts, lets try them and gain new experience, allows you to familiarize with the Dzukian culinary heritage. That is, you are able to craft objects from wood or ceramics yourself, and take them home as a souvenir. In Centre's shop one can purchase traditional Dzukian items, such like dishes, textile, wood, various ceramic works and other items crafted by local folk artists. Some of the Educational programs offered by the Centre: baking of rye bread, baking and tasting of buckwheat cakes, Christmas treats, traditional Dainava potato rolls; learning traditional carving and pottery; weaving; felting; traditional Shrove Tuesday mask making. Duration of one session c. 1–2h. Price of 1 program per 1 person in a group of at least 10 persons: child ~€1.50, adult ~€2.50. Expositions and exhibitions attendance for 1 person: child ~€0.50, adult up to ~€1. (54.46068,24.37457)

Eat[edit][add listing]

Drink[edit][add listing]

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

Dzūkija borders two other Lithuanian regions:

Neighbouring countries:



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