Escape from Civilisation! The Hidden Pearls of Trakai District

2018 08 16

Sometimes you just want to forget the hustle and bustle and get back to nature, bow to the flow of time, feast your eyes on lush green vegetation and not have any plans. When you feel like this, the best thing to do is to escape from civilisation. Let us introduce you to the hidden pearls of Trakai district where you can escape from the clutches of the city.

Užutrakis Manor

Užutrakis Manor House is one of the most prominent and best-preserved mansions in Lithuania. Experience how the Lithuanian nobility lived in the 19th century on a visit to the manor ensemble on the shore of Lake Galvė. Enjoy the spectacular park and views of Trakai Castle!

At the beginning of the 20th century, Count Józef Tyszkiewicz and his wife, Polish duchess Hedwig Światopełk-Czetwertyńska, founded the Užutrakis Manor EstateThe Count was inspired by the unique landscape of Trakai, and the manor made the most of the area’s potential.

The Palace, decorated with impressive Louis XVI style interiors, was created by Polish architect Józef Huss. It was complete with a terrace, crowned with open pavilions, offering a fabulous view of Trakai Castle. The park was designed by Édouard François André, a famous French landscape architect. He created a mixed-style park decorated with copies of antique sculptures and a large number of plants. The park still contains nearly one hundred different kinds and forms of trees and shrubs, more than half of which were individually transported here to complete the park.


One of Lithuania’s ancient forests

If you prefer forests instead of water, you should visit the Sinkhole of Strėva. This unique natural and cultural value lies hidden among the whispering old trees and ice-free springs of Spindžius Nature Reservein Aukštadvaris Regional Park. It is a state-protected geomorphological site of natural heritage and is close to Strėva Village. The spectacular abundance and diversity of flora and fauna gives the reserve a special status not just within Lithuania. It is also listed as an EU protected Natura 2000 site.

Did you know that one of Lithuania’s ancient forests is in Spindžius forest? The forest boasts very old trees including tall pine trees, oaks and other types of long-living trees. Different varieties of trees have stood here for four generations.

A part of the ancient forest’s territory is dedicated to an untouched forest not affected by human activity, where there is a high probability of finding various endangered, rare or specialised vegetation species. In fact, many of the plants found there are protected not only in Lithuania but also throughout the EU.

The Green Path winds along the banks of the Strėva River and circles around Spindžius Forest. As well as leading to the Strėva Sinkhole, the path also leads to many other interesting objects. It also helps people to avoid getting lost in this somewhat eerie and mysterious environment.

The Hill of Streams holds one of the surprises along the Green Path. It is a rather rare natural phenomenon that is valuable not only from a natural, but also from a cultural point of view. A number of ice-free streams flow down from this quite small hill. Water, which flows in all directions, feeds the Strėva River and helps the formation of swamps and morasses much loved by beavers.

In ancient Lithuanian folklore tradition, ice-free streams were always regarded as sacred places, and their water was believed to have healing powers. It is said that sick locals would bring this water to their houses, while herdsmen used it to wash their tired feet.

The Orchid Kingdom also deserves special attention.A plantation of Lithuanian orchids reigns supreme on a small hill! The hill is home to a collection of especially vulnerable variegated orchids. The Lady's-slipper orchid is a protected species both in Lithuania and the other EU countries.

According to Lithuanian folklore, in ancient times women tried to grow these flowers in their home gardens, but never had any success. Consequently, locals consider these plants as whimsical or even mysterious. Interestingly, Orchids, sometimes called ‘the forest beauties’, were considered magical plants. They were widely used in folk medicine and fortune telling.

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