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.
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 replced 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 refferred 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.