PARNIDIS DUNE – A PLACE YOU MUST SEE
One of the most amazing places in Lithuania – Parnidis Dune – was included in Patricia Schultz's book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. It is, without a doubt, the most impressive and unique place: on Parnidis Dune you can watch the path of the Sun: as it rises out of the water in the morning and again sinks into the water in the evening.
The all-seeing dune
Parnidis sand dune drifted by harsh winds is rising up to 52 meters above sea level. From the observation deck equipped on the top of the dune you will enjoy spectacular views of the town of Nida and its surroundings: for more than 130 years the old lighthouse shows the way home for the fishermen coming from the sea and the lagoon. The broadest place of the Curonian Spit is Bulvikis Cape, with silhouettes of Nida houses with red tiles, and the Curonian Lagoon murmuring nearby. In good weather you can see Vente cape peninsula on the other side of the lagoon from Parnidis dune, and when the thicker fog settles in, all images disappear behind the secrecy screen.
Origins of the place-name
There is an interesting interpretation of the name of Parnidis dune – local residents believe that the name comes from the phrase meaning “passed across Nida”, because this wind-blown dune has several times passed through the village of Nida.
Indeed, shifting dunes are very sensitive to public visits. Scientists estimated that each person climbing or descending on the steep dune slopes moves several tons of sand, so hikers are only allowed to climb in designated paths.
An ideal place for the sundial
Nobody counts time while walking on the dunes of the Curonian Spit and enjoying the tranquillity. But if, however, time is important to you, there is a granite sundial, built on Parnidis dune accurately showing the time.
The sundial is a 13.8 m high stone pillar weighing 36 tons. Right next to it there are small steps covered with granite slabs, carved with hour and half-an-hour notches, as well as one notch for each month, and additional four notches for solstices and equinoxes. The appearance of the sundial was dictated by nature – here you will not see any artistic imagination, and taking a close look you will realize that the geometry of steps reminds of the wind-blown sand layers of the old dunes.
From the astronomical point of view Parnidis Dune is an ideal and unique place for the sundial in Lithuania.