HOSPITABLE LAND OF SAMOGITIA
Samogitia is where the Baltic Sea is, where the fun celebrations are, where food is plentiful, where there are plains, surrounded by small hills and lush forests, where people offer good treats and talk nicely in an extremely beautiful dialect.
The importance of Samogitia in Lithuania
Samogitia is important to Lithuania for its history and culture. It was the Samogitian dialect in which the first Lithuanian book, the first Lithuanian grammar textbook was written. It was the place for first Lithuanian poems, for the first translation of the Bible to the Lithuanian language, and a birth language global literary masterpiece, Metai, created by Kristijonas Donelaitis.
Samogitians were bravely fighting to preserve their land. The biggest battle of Grunwald took place in 1410. It ended the Samogitian wars with the Crusaders.
For a while, part of Samogitia – Klaipeda region – was even separated from the rest of Lithuania. However, Samogitia has managed to retain its identity.
Samogitia is an ethnic region in the north-western Lithuania, with its capital town Telsiai. In all historical periods Samogitian lifestyle was markedly different from those of other ethnographic areas of Lithuanian population culture. To this day, Samogitians have preserved the strongest ethnic identity in Lithuania. They speak specific Samogitian dialect, which locals tend to consider a separate language. Often, even the Lithuanians from another region of the country have difficulties in understanding what the real Samogitian says.
Capital town, missile base and parks
Telsiai is the capital town of Samogitian ethnographical region situated on seven hills, and its downtown is declared an urban monument. On the highest hill in the city stands the late Baroque-classicist style church built at the end of the eighteenth century which became Telšiai cathedral in 1926. It is worth to visit the former Soviet secret thermonuclear missile base, which currently operates a military museum. The most picturesque areas of Telsiai include the Samogitian National, Varniai and Venta regional parks.
You can taste Samogitian meals – they are finger licking good
When visiting Samogitia be sure try traditional Samogitian foods and drinks – mint tea, dried apple kvass, eisbein, grit vėdarai, potato pancakes, festive kastinis, rasalynė or onion soup. It is tasty, and most importantly – you will find such dishes nowhere else.
Stubborn, but always keep the promises
Samogitians are stubborn people, and loyal to traditions. A lot of what they have achieved was precisely because of this persistence and loyalty, and the respect for one's word. From old times Samogitia was famous for its skilful artisans, and pottery used to be especially popular – Samogitians were ahead of all other regions of Lithuania in this art.
Samogitians knew how to make good fun. They celebrate Shrovetide very merrily: dressed as different characters, wearing masks of animals and scarecrows, they visit their neighbours, foretell fortune about the future harvest, and in the evening burn the jackstraw of More – a symbol of all winter hardships. And make sure to eat many times, especially pancakes – so that the year would be plentiful.
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