Zervynos ethnographic village

Duration of the visit 1 h.

Zervynos is an ethnographic linear village situated on both banks of the River Ūla in Varėna District, within the territory of the Dzūkija National Park. The Village of Zervynos was first mentioned in written documents in 1742. However, proof of settlers dating back to the Paleolithic age have been found: 24 Stone and Bronze Age settlements were discovered nearby.

This village is one of the most authentic Lithuanian settlements. All of its homesteads remained standing at the same locations as two and a half centuries ago. Zervynos was recognized as architectural heritage of national significance and 8 of its homesteads received the status of ethnographic cottages. The winding main street of the village seems to be recreating the twists and turns of the Ūla River. Several small streets that the locals often referred to as ‘ulyčia’ branch away from the main one. Wooden homesteads with thatched roofs (straw, shingle or reed roofs) are situated along these streets.

The famous wooden crosses seem to be an integral part of the village architecture. Most crosses have
white aprons hung on them to symbolize the women’s wish to never have a child out of wedlock. Since ages ago, the local residents have been mostly engaged in fishing, hunting, gathering the gifts of the forest, weaving and twining straw, twigs and sapwood. They are also widely known for beekeeping and tree beekeeping traditions. Hollowed trees, such as Zervynos Oak, are under protection as natural heritage.

For a long time, the Vilkinis and the Tamulevičius have been the only families that resided in Zervynos Village. Any residents with a different last name were outsiders who have come to this village from another place. This fun fact is best confirmed in the Zervynos Cemetery. As one takes a walk among the old gravestones, the majority of the surnames on the markers are the Vilkinis or the Tamulevičius.

Zervynos Village is surrounded by the Dainava forest from all sides and the Ūla River crosses across it. If one heads towards Mančiagirė near the Ūla, a beautiful landscape to the Mančiagirė precipices considered as natural heritage can be reached. Several lakes and small marshy pits are located in the surrounding forests. Mekšrinis is a lake of clear blue water, while Išrūginis is a slackwater lake bearing a slightly green hue. The Zervynos Oak considered as natural heritage can be found in the village and two hollow pine trees are located at is southern border.

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