Rambynas hill, wrapping up the chain of hills along the Nemunas, unveils a picturesque valley of the riover. The holy Rambynas forest is mentioned in Crusaders description of roads as early as in 1384. This was the place where Lithuanians worshiped their pagan gods and made sacrifices to them. Rambynas hill today, plunged in beautiful forest, is only a small part of the former hill that was washed out into the Nemunas in 1878. In order to preserve the ecosystem of the landscape of the Rambynas hill and that of river Nemunas meander, Rambynas Regional Park was founded in 1992. The park includes Vilkyškiai town, Opstainiai, Šereiklaukis, Bitėnai and Bardinai villages. The biggest annual festival of Pagėgiai region attracting people to Rambynas hill from all over Lithuania is a celebration of Midsummer Night. There are many listed objects of culture heritage in the park. The Nemunas valley has even 33 small lakes that were formed in the area of old riverbed, the largest of them – Merguva (44,8 ha) and Bitežeris (13,8 ha). In 2011 was equipped another stairs at the hill, which hold firm the slopes. At the moment Rambynas hill is decorated by the National award winning sculptor Regimantas Midvikis project. It is a modern altar with a deep historical sense - three pagan gods - Patrimpas, Perkūnas and Patulas.
Cemetery of Bitėnai
It is well kept cemetery, located at the foot of the hill Rambynas. Sometimes this cemetery is called as Lithuania Minor Pantheon. In this cemetery are buried Vidūnas, Martynas Jankus, Valteris – Kristupas Banaitis, Jonas Vanagaitis, Elena Grigolaitytė– Kondratavičienė, Aleksandras Žvinakis and other famous persons. Cemetery is decorated with metal gates made by Martynas and Marija Purviniai project. In the upper part of the gate appears words from Vydūnas ,,You are shaft of light”. Community of Vydūnas members cordoned cemetery territory by a wooden fence and Julius Balčiauskas planted ornamental trees and shrubs.
A Fir tree of Witches
Nearby Vilkyškiai in the forest grows the famous tree in Pagėgiai municipality well-known as Fir tree of Witches. It is the most impressive tree not only ion Lithuania but also in Europe. It is a monument of nature. It is a multi – trunk tree which has even 17 trunks – branches. The branches twist with each other and look like hair of witches. The height of the tree is 32,5 meters and span of the main trunk is about 5,1 meters. It is said to be over 150 years old. Even storms and worms are not able to destroy this unique tree. There are some legends about this tree.
Bitėnai white stork colony
For a long time in the center of the Bitėnai village lived crows in the pine forest. About the year 1974 storks observed the pine forest near the Nemunas. One young man, who lived nearby, loaded transport hub, offering storks like to settle here. This was the beginning. Storks began to make its nests in the pine forest and people are left wondering. In theory the white stork no nests coniferous trees. However in the Bitėnai pine forest they settled permanently. Now Bitėnai stork colony have 23 nests, in some pines there are even two nests. In summer, the life of storks can be watched from nearby. There are special eyeglass adapted the image increases 60 times. This is a great educational attraction for children.
The estate of Šilgaliai was built away from the main road, on the outskirts of the Nemunas valley, which never reached the flood waters. The estate was mentioned already in the XVII century, but its main activity at the time was dairying. This estate has long been one of the strongest farm in Pagėgiai region. In the beginning of the XIX century a Prussian king established famous Trakėnai stud where Lithuanian and Prussian mares were crossbred with northern and English purebred stallions. In such a way a new breed of riding horses – Trakėnai Stallons – was bred. The homestead of the estate consists of 13 buildings, a park, fragments of water and road system. Their conditions are still quite good. The architecture of buildings is typical to historical period. The most attractive part of estate is red tiling roof. There are remains of a park behind the estate. Here You can find an impressive old oak. Its span is about 4,5 meters. Today SC ,,Nemuno žirgynas” has 350 purebred horses and is the biggest stud farm in the country by the number of stallions and the area of land. Horse fans from other countries buy this kind of sport horses. Stud house rent horses for riding and give ridng lessons. Children can attend riding lessons there because Žirgynas has a sport school.
More information www.litrakehner.lt