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Lithuania: Hill of Witches

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On one of the most beautiful and oldest parabolic dunes in Juodkrantė, Lithuania, the forest is alive with a vast array of fairy-tale creatures, witches, demons, kings, princesses, fisherman and devils. Known as the Hill of Witches (Raganų kalnas), this public trail through the woods takes visitors on a trip through the most well-known legends and stories in Lithuanian folk history.

 

The Hill of Witches (Raganų Kalnas) is an outdoor sculpture gallery near Juodkrantė, Lithuania. It is located on a forested sand dune about 0.5 kilometer west of the Curonian Lagoon, on the Lithuanian Seaside Cycle Route.

Begun in 1979, it has been expanded several times, and now contains about 80 wooden sculptures along a series of trails.

The artists drew on a long tradition of woodcarving in Samogitia, and on the equally long tradition of Midsummer Night’s Eve (Joninės) celebrations on the hill.

The pieces depict characters from Lithuanian folklore and pagan traditions. Woodcarving symposia are held at the park on a regular basis, and new works are added.

While accessible to travellers most of the year, the Hill of Witches is one of the best places to celebrate the midsummer in the Baltics — a celebration dating from pre-Christian times when people used to commune around huge fires to practice rituals that would protect against evil spirits that were believed to become active when the daylight faded.

Today midsummer celebrations in Lithuania are better known for singing songs, drinking, dancing, and jumping over bonfires. Of course.

Admission is free.

 

Juodkrantė (literally: Black Shore, German: Schwarzort [Black Place]) with permanent population of about 720 people is a quiet Lithuanian seaside resort village located on the Curonian Spit (Lithuanian: Kuršių nerija, Russian: Куршская коса, German: Kurische Nehrung, Latvian: Kuršu kāpas). A part of Neringa municipality.

 

 

 

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