Kernave is the first capital town of Lithuania – it fits into a tiny piece of land, but is famous in the world for five mounds situated next to each other. If all local mountains and rivers, roadside rocks and trees would start talking one day, they would disclose many secrets and mysteries of our history. You will never find such a unique view anywhere else in the entire Baltic region. Kernave is a nice place for romantic minded people who come here for welcoming the sun, listening songs, looking for the most beautiful areas of the world, and also archaeologists who come here to find the traces of ancient settlements, medieval city and cemeteries of Lithuanian ancestry. We invite you to visit the area listed in the UNESCO World Heritage.
Story of the Lithuanian Troy
A settlement was known to be in Kernavė already in the 9th – 7th century BC. In the 13th century, the town was one of the most important economic, political and defence centres of the emerging Lithuania – it is here that the Lithuanian state began.
The town was standing here till the end of the fourteenth century and later was burned down by Crusaders, therefore now Kernave is called the Lithuanian Troy. After the fire, the wooden town and palaces were never rebuilt. In the place of the old settlement completely intact cultural site development layers remained reflecting the life of the town, and its population’s daily life and customs. You can get familiar with them in Kernave history and archaeology museum.
Because of high cultural value and history the site of the old Kernavė town is included in the State Cultural Reserve of Kernave.
Kernave mounds
Kernave has majestic five mounds. They were made here in glacial times, with some addition of human labour later, and there is a variety of legends and stories about them.
Each of the five hills has its own name and the birth history. Lizdeika Hill is named after the chief wizard Lizdeika. Together with priestesses he was protecting the holy fire on the altar hill, was telling sermons and interpreting dreams for people. Lizdeika’s most beautiful priestess was Pajauta. The Pajauta vallry stretching behind the mounds is named in her honour. If you want to learn the stories and names of other mounds, go visit Kernave.
Valuable works of art in Kernave Church
In addition to the mounds, Kernave is very proud of its neo-Gothic Church of the Virgin Mary Scapular. Its walls are decorated with a lot of extremely valuable paintings, sculptures, and the old church bell. There is also a small wooden chapel, which now hosts the ecclesiastical relics museum. In front of the church stands a majestic granite sculpture of Moses.
Live archaeology days in Kernave
Once a year Kernavė turns into a medieval town and attracts thousands of visitors from Lithuania and neighbouring countries. If you encounter this crowd in Kernave, you will know this is a spectacular event of the Live Archaeology Days in Kernave. They are a great history lesson for young and old generation. Bearded residents of the old capital city of Lithuania, wearing ancient clothing and animal skins tells us how people used to live in stone or bronze age, what they did, what they ate and dressed. You can browse through the history during the festival and see the creation of various flint, bone, iron tools, try to shoot a bow and make fire in the ancient way, and taste the archaic food.
During the festival day the city square is bustling with battling knights, wandering musicians, merchants coming from abroad, vagrants, and transgressors who are tried in the courts of the Middle Ages, followed by sentences begin carried out by executioners.
All this is hard to describe in words – you need to see it for ourselves. So you are very welcome to the town of mounds, festivals, peace and bustle – Kernave.