Translation from Lithuanian into English
Lithuanian Destination of Excellence-2008
Brief description of the projects
The European Commission and the Lithuanian State Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Economy have implemented the project the "Lithuanian Destination-2008: Local Intangible Heritage“ and selected the
most attractive tourist destination in Lithuania. It turned out to be Ţemaitija National Park, having a
reputation for the Shrove Tuesday traditions.
The tender of the Lithuanian Destination of Excellence received great interest in the regions and was of great competition. 37 municipalities delivered the applications for the tender. Only 17 projects – counties
winners – were selected in the counties. Subsequently, the commission of the experts, constituted by the Department of Tourism, selected only 13 projects.
th European Lithuanian destination of excellence will be presented to the European countries during the 7Tourism Forum, which will take place on 17 and 19 September 2008 in Bordeaux (France). Great possibilities will open for the Lithuanian destination to become known in Europe and all over the world.
Below are brief descriptions of the projects.
Winner – Ţemaitija National Park
Project on the Shrove Tuesday traditions in Ţemaitija National Park Plateliai – cherishing
intangible heritage (Telšiai County). The Shrove Tuesday is celebrated for two days following old
customs. The most interesting thing is that there are at least ten craftsmen in Ţemaitija region, who make the Shrove Tuesday masks of wood, which are sold all year round. The competition-exposition of the Shrove Tuesday masks, involving over 30 carvers from all over Lithuania, is annually arranged in Plateliai. The exposition of 200 Shrove Tuesday masks has already been collected and it will be exhibited in the stabling of the estate all year round.
The wood craftsmen of Ţemaitija pursue old traditions. The artists Regina and Justinas the Jonušas,
Antanas Vaškys, Gediminas and Leonardas the Černiauskas, Kazys Striaupa, and Vytas Jaugėla, residing
and working in Ţemaitija National Park, depending on their insight and talent, make the Shrove Tuesday mask collections every year. The individual specimen are taken to the Shrove Tuesday mask exposition, while other go back to private folk art expositions or get into the hands of the collectors of folk artwork.
Preservation of folk architecture and application of the objects thereof for the development of rural tourism, resurrection of traditional crafts and trades, cherishing of traditions and customs is the idiosyncrasy of distinction of the region. Thus, a real background is formed for the preservation of the unique old experience of the people, provision of this experience with new significance (which is relevant to the local consumers as well as consumers of other countries), development of the service sector, and increase of the occupation of the residents.
The seminars are held, the Shrove Tuesday songs, customs, food making, and mask carving is taught before the Shrove Tuesday celebration. The Stations of the Cross with Ţemaičių Kalvarija being known all
over the world can be distinguished among the most visited objects.
Plateliai is also attractive for the annually arranged yacht regatta, diving, military heritage, as well as yacht jetty with 3-4 star hotel.
1. The Festival of Sung Poetry „Akacijų alėja“ (“Acacia Alley”) in Kulautuva (Kaunas County)
Kulautuva is a small, but one of the most beautiful places in Kaunas region, situated in a nice valley of the Nemunas, which is deemed to be the habitat with the greatest tourism development possibility in Lithuania. The sightseeing, active, and recreational tourism can be developed here.
Since July 2001, many tourists have been attracted to Kulautuva by the annually held Festival of Sung Poetry „Acacia Alley“. This is the festival, intended for the fans of the sung poetry genre of different age. Since 2006, the festival has been an international event.
It is expected that the festival will promote the sung poetry and increase the tourist flow in Kulautuva in the future.
2. Shrove Tuesday celebration on the narrow gauge railway (Panevėţys County)
Such traditional holiday trips of the public institution „Narrow Gauge Railway of Aukštaitija“, as
„Winter, winter, out of my yard“, „Shrove Tuesday trains“, are organized every year on the last weekend
before the Shrove Tuesday. On the day of celebration the passengers take the historical narrow gauge train to the resting-place of Rekstinas forest, where the celebration takes place. This resting-place was built in 2001 for the gaiety of the passengers of the narrow gauge railway. The place is equipped with the forest furniture, made of solid wood, stage for performances, dance ground, and fireplace. This space is in the neighborhood of the mature pinewood. The recreational ground is situated in the sandy area, where the concrete pavements have not been built deliberately. The following substantial parts of different holiday trips, organized on the grounds of intangible cultural heritage, take place in the aforesaid space: folklore festivals, Midsummer evenings, staged train robbery plays, etc. The society is actively involved in the expression of intangible cultural heritage: play folk games, follow and take part in traditional rituals, dance and sing along with the folklore groups, as well as enjoy the culinary heritage.
3. Raudonė (Tauragė County)
„Panemunių ţiedai“ is the cultural tourism project for the whole family, for the representatives of all age groups as well as interests. „Panemunių ţiedai“ takes place annually on the last Saturday of May in at
the approaches to Raudonė Castle in a beautiful valley of the Nemunas. The celebration covers the
performances of the folk music chapels, folklore ensembles, fair of the folk artists, expositions of the artwork, demonstration of traditional local crafts: smithery, carving, embroidery, production of whistles and gardens, needlecraft, pottery, and weaving. The culinary heritage of the region is presented during the festival. The guests are involved in the process of making and tasting the dishes of culinary heritage. The festival is enlivened by the concerts as well as performances by the artists and performers of different genre. The gaiety is organized for both children and adults: horseriding, hot air balloons, sailing, the zarte (vimba
vimba) grilling competition, games from the Middle Ages and joust, fire and fireworks. The final focus of the festival is the presentation of professional art (concert, rock opera, modern dance project, etc.) in non-traditional environment of the castle.
The annually organized „Panemunių ţiedai“ helps activating the communities of Raudonė and the
neighboring elderships as well as raises the cultural level of the local residents. The objects of cultural heritage and natural monuments in the area are more intensively looked after and prepared for the visits of the tourists. th Raudonė place distinguishes for Raudonė castle, built in the end of the 16 century, English-type
park, mill, as well as beautiful valley of the Nemunas. The park of Raudonė castle is full of resting-places,
survey grounds, and rare exotic trees. The dustbins, outdoor toilets, and access roads are built round the
castle. The parking lot is situated at the base of the castle. The stationary jetty is built in Raudonė. The
accommodation services in Raudonė are rendered by Stasys Balsevičius’ homestead of rural tourism.
The annual organization of the cultural tourism project „Panemunių ţiedai“ enables forming a
regular flow of visitors/tourists, attracts more tourists, establishes the conditions for the development of the tourism business – the number of restaurants and accommodation institutions is increasing. This event encourages the local craftsmen, representatives of culinary heritage, people in culture and education, businessmen, as well as tradespeople to get involved in the activities in planning and providing tourism services as well as gaiety for the inbound tourists.
The project takes place at Raudonė castle, which is included in the route of Panemunė autotourism, „Nemunas waterway“, „Nemunas cycleway“, „Castles and estates of Jurbarkas region“. The project
distinguishes for the fact that for that it integrates all these tourism routes.
4. If you have been to Trakai, you can say that you have seen Lithuania (Vilnius County)
Trakai region is an important tourist center in Lithuania because of the rich natural, cultural, as well as historical heritage. The pictures of Trakai Island Castle are parading on the covers of the publications presenting not only Lithuania but the Baltic States as well. Tourism infrastructure is rapidly developed in the town and its vicinities. The number of the companies servicing the tourists is increasing and the variety and the quality of the services provided is improving. Tourism business especially influences the economic level of the region because the major part of the inhabitants receives income providing services to the tourists. Seasonality still has huge influence on the business development. The main and the most effective tool for extending the tourism season is to organize massive culture, sports and other events. ”Museum
night” is one of the most successful events, taking place in the Castle of Trakai Island just before the beginning of the season. It draws people of different ages and interests to see Trakai in unusual environment, place and at an unusual time.
5. Mushroom Festival in Varėna (Alytus County)
Mushroom festival organized in Varėna is the only festival of this kind in Lithuania and Europe. It became international. During the festival mushroom championship is taking place in order to win the cup of the mayor and where approximately 66 teams not only from Lithuania, but also from abroad take place.
Different guests participate in the festival: the President of the Republic of Lithuania, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania, the ministers of the Republic of Lithuania, the employees of the ministries, the consulates of the foreign countries in Lithuania, the employees of the embassies, the heads of the counties and municipalities, the press and media representatives, employees of companies and institutions, municipality employees of foreign town partners and town inhabitants, Lithuanian inhabitants, individuals willing to pass time in a thoughtful and interesting way.
Every year more and more people from Lithuania and abroad participate in the festival. In the event of 2007 approximately 50 thousand guests, visitors and participants had fun. Many visitors and guests come to the festival for more than one day and stay for a week or a weekend accommodate themselves in rural tourism houses, guest houses, hostels; they recreate and have rest. Their number increased from 80 to 320.
Folk artist fairs, exhibitions of natural creations are open in the festival, performances of the partner town collectives and the art lovers from the region or the republic take place on the central stage of the festival, collectives of art lovers gig in the eight small established villages of the Varėna region municipal
districts, the culinary heritage, old crafts, folklore, different revels are presented there.
During the festival the best Lithuanian sculptors create ingenious wooden sculptures which are sold in the wooden sculpture auction „Dzūkelis“. The funds for the sculptures sold in the auction are allocated to
support the disabled artists of the region.
Mushrooms and berries processing companies present and sell their production.
All this according to a thoroughly prepared scenario is connected to a big, solid, attractive and unique cultural event which in the most significant in the region and is famous not only in Lithuania, but also outside it.
6. ZYPLIŲ ŢIOGAI (“GRASSHOPPERS OF ZYPLIAI”) (Marijampolė County)
An international meeting of folk artists „Zyplių Ţiogai“ is a traditional event taking place annually
during the last decade of July. This event is as if the culmination of all the cultural and public activities in Zypliai Estate during the year. Approximately 40 artists of different specialties from Lithuania, Poland and Latvia take part in it. Not only the creative work is carried out during the meeting, but also the communication, self application and realization in exceptional environment is taken into account.
The event is open to the public: during the meeting it is possible to observe lively and at ease the creative process and to take part in it. The works created remain in the accumulative fund of Zypliai Estate gallery, the other decorate the park of the town, the territory of the estate and Lūkšiai municipal district.
The very environment of Zypliai Estate provides an opportunity for the public to participate in the cultural life, to know the traditions of the country (art, dance, song, daily life and lifestyle). Approximately 20 thousand visitors visit the Zypliai Estate in a year (this number increases every year). The visitors have an opportunity to visit the gallery of the estate, the workshop, to participate in the cultural life of the estate. This is the biggest cultural, art and tourism attraction object in Šakiai region.
7. Ţagarė Cherry Festival (Šiauliai County)
Ţagarė, verging to the Latvian border in the north of Lithuania, is one of the oldest towns in the country and also one of several that still maintain the authentic old town. The idea to organize such a th c. Ţagarė is famous for cherries and horses so it festival was born in 2004. Since the beginning of the 19
was decided that horses and cherries must become the main accents of the event. The cherries of Ţagarė are famous because they do not grow or they do not establish in any other region of Lithuania. At the beginning thof the 20 century in the market of Petersburg there was even a separate section for cherries from Ţagarė. The Ţagarė cherry festival lasts for three days and various events take place during this period:
championship of horses, sports matches, exhibitions, lectures, the fair. Every year different events and presentations are scheduled in the program of the event: the lectures are told on the cultural heritage of Ţagarė, the works of local craftsmen and artists are presented, the performances of folklore groups are
carried out. In 2007 the story of Pilėnai, reborn during the festival, received especially much attention –
around hundred chanters, opera singers and orchestra musicians performed the composition according to the opera of Vytautas Klova “Pilėnai” during the Ţagarė cherry festival. Annually in the park of Ţagarė the
horse championship of Baltic Hannover horse breeder association, football match, the potentate competition take place. During the festival on the mound of Ţvelgaitis life bubbles as if long time ago in the same ways thas it was in the 13 century. Presenting the stylized performances the festival organizers familiarize us with the production, lifestyle, businesses and crafts of that time and our origin. During the stylized performances an opportunity is provided to feel the daily life of the ancestors, to see the daily things, domestic life, fights and armaments. Fights in different armaments, the javelin throwing, military relay-race, old games presentation to children, the military songs performed by male folklore group, the performances of the men (knights) reconstructing the culture of Western Europe are taking place. Holy Mass is performed; the tomb of Ţagarė miracle girl Barbora Ţagarietė with whom the relationship of Ţagarė inhabitants is still live is visited. The guests not only from the town, region, but also from the whole country and abroad are invited. More than one generation of Jewish nation lived, was born and grew in Ţagarė during the Second World
War and after the war: during the festival the Jewish children and great-grandchildren from Ţagarė who left
the land of their ancestors meet again. More than one family from Ţagarė married their daughters and
matched their sons with the children of neighboring Latvians so during the festival they come back to be on a visit here with the whole family. The festival is visited by around 4000 - 5000 people from Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Israel, Sweden and various other countries. Every year the program is revised, the contents
of the events is changes, though the spirit of ancestor traditions and customs nourishing is still maintained. The accent of Ţagarė cherries emphasizes the uniqueness of the town, the peculiar living and thinking, the local hospitality and the attitude towards one's own past, present and future. The horses symbolize steadfast, strong and persistent character, active and friendly character of Ţagarė inhabitants.
The antiquity of Ţagarė still hides many secrets – many barrows, remnants of villages, stones and
nature peculiarities are not yet mentioned and described. If not the history of Ţagarė and its heritage, the Ţagarė cherry festival would be a masquerade so the reverberations of the past are felt in all spaces and actions of the festival. Ţagarė cherry festival not only encourages to remember the past, but also to think about what kind of town we will leave to the future generations.
8. The Old Post Canal of Utena (Utena County)
The section of the Old Post Canal Saint Petersburg-Warsaw is presented in the municipality of Utena District from Leliūnai to Daugailiai. It is interesting to travel along this route at all times of the year because when traveling along the canal it is possible to familiarize oneself with the architectural, historic works and the new objects of attraction created during projects. Various cultural programs are offered, crafts (smithery, pottery) are practically introduced. In September in the town of Utena a huge event is taking place annually – a performance on the canal theme is presented to the general public.
The aim of the project is to continue the renewal of the tourism on both sides of the border, information and communication infrastructure of the sightseeing, historic canal (way), laid in 1863 when the economic, politic and cultural relationship of Russia with the countries of Western Europe were expanding, “Saint Petersburg – Warsaw” through Daugpilis, Zarasai, Utena, Kaunas, Kalvarija, Suvalkai with the branch from Marijampolė through Kybartai to Konigsberg when the tourism, cultural, educational and
public socio-cultural group needs are carried out and adapted.
During the project period tourist flows along the canal route will be activated, the Canal Route Program will be adapted and an interactive socio-cultural program “Interactive 19 c. Historic Dance
Festival” will be created and presented in Utena using the designed 19 c. clothes collection, a functional
exhibit – a stagecoach made, a glass cover made for the exposition of the stagecoach in the open space, the reproduced and built semaphore, the Canal Culinary Heritage Meal will be created, the outdoor exposition equipment will be built for the exposition of art works, a seminar will be organized, a photo album will be issued, informational articles in the press and other publicity means will be prepared.
9. Peninsula of Ventės Ragas. International Birdwatcher Rally “The Curonian Lagoon” („Kuršių
Marios“) (Klaipėda County)
Birdwatcher rally is a competition when the teams of the birdwatchers compete which of them will see more different kinds of birds in a certain period of time in a certain territory. Teams from Lithuania and foreign countries, professionals and amateurs participate in this event. Since the bird watching team is big enough, all the teams look for birds driving in cars. For this reason this competition is called a rally.
Ventės Ragas is a small peninsula in the eastern coast of the Curonian Lagoon. At the point of the
peninsula in 1360 the crusaders built the castle of Vindenburg and the church. The storms and lightning destroyed the church twice. The waves of the sea broke the Vindenburg Castle. The stones of the castle were used for the construction of the new stone church; however the waves and the storms continued to break the stonework present at the point of Ventės Ragas. Approximately in 1700 the Ventė’s stone church was broken. In 1705 the remnants of the church were transported to Kintai and used for the construction on Kintai Church. This church did not change much during the last 300 years and now it is included into the list of nationally protected cultural heritage objects. More than 150 years working stone lighthouse is standing in Ventės Ragas which used to show the way to the passing ships and protecting from breaking in dangerous
and sly places of the Curonian Lagoon – in the same place where the castle used to stand...
Ventės Ragas is a geographically ideal place for bird catching and ringing. One of the biggest bird migration roads lays along the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. In September-October there are often days
when more than 3 million birds fly through the Lithuanian seaside and 20-30 percent of them turn towards Ventės Ragas.
This rally is organized in order to propagate a new hobby and show the country inhabitants and guests the natural values of the Lithuanian seacoast and also attract as many birdwatchers from abroad as possible.
10. Birţai – the Pearl of the Northern Lithuania (Panevėţys County)
In 2001 an educational entertaining program „Ţaldoko alus“ (“Beer of Ţaldokai”) started to be
organized in the museum of Birţai region „Sėla“. It is a program presenting the heritage created by our
ancestors, nurturing its historic value and continuity. It familiarizes us with our ancestor traditions that have been improved through centuries and applied to present times, propagates the beer production, drinking ritual, community character and ethnic values that were famous in the traditional culture. In the unique exposition hall of the museum the tools of the brewery, the beer production traditions of the king of the Birţai Region Jurgis Ţaldokas, the peculiarities of ethno music are presented theatrically using folklore. The
guests sitting at the table laid in white cloth taste the beer, cheese, home made bread and malt of Birţai
Region. They play the panpipes, blow the thorns, sing, and dance and sing the glees together with the folklore ensemble “Siaudela” promoting the archaic music of the region and the regale songs.
The program is based on historic facts, folklore and the basis of saved old brewery traditions. This the only program in Lithuania that transfers the brewery and tasting action into a higher ritual level, presents the archaic music peculiarity of our region, the community traditions, regale songs and culinary heritage.
11. “Steps Through the Cultural Space: Nurturance of Culinary Heritage, Feasts, Traditions, Revels
and Creative Thought in Dusetos Region (Utena County)
The activities of this project are attractive and interesting not only to the Lithuanian, but to the foreign citizens as well. Its culinary heritage traditions (brewery, crab eating championship), organization of festivals (summer beginning festivals) and revels (fishing, hunting), promotion of folk traditions (the festival event “Sėlos Musicians”), experience and even the elements of museum activity (exposition of old brewery tools) are well known. The fact that all the activities of the project are integrated into the living environment of Ramūnas and Erikas Čiţai is innovatory, based on long personal experience and
responsibility. The activity of this family is a courageous challenge to the competition organizers in the world of traditional eating who are organizing the crab eating championship – an impellent eating
cultural ”school”. It makes Ramūnas and Erikas Čiţai famous not only in Dusetos Region, but also in the whole Zarasai Region. The organized crab eating championship, participation in the activity of culinary heritage network transfer these businessmen from Dusetos into an international level of interest because they present the beer of peculiar recipe and an eating championship that has no analogue in the world.
The activity of Ramūnas and Erika Čiţai is not limited to the geographic zone of Zarasai Region. The presentation of the old brewery secrets is also presented outside the region participating in the experimental archeology events of the festivals ”Live Archeology Days in Kernavė”, “Kaziukas Fair”,
“Capital Days”, “Nida Live Archeology Festivals”, in the events of culinary heritage presentations,
marketing activity, an important activity when forming an attractive tourism image of Zarasai Region.
Dusetos is a famous place in Lithuania. Its history is glorious, remembering the family of Pliateriai, their famous representative E. Pliaterytė, the traditional races of spanker horses that last already for 200
years, the beginning of the Lithuanian word in Paţiegė, the birthplace of a famous linguist K. Būga.
Notorious is the educative activity carried out in this region and in Lithuania: during the 25 years reinforced art teaching was carried out n K. Būga High School and famous Lithuanian artists were educated. For this reason a standoff for the provinciality is the art gallery that carries out its interesting activity since 1995. A formed cultural environment of Dusetos Region and its further protection, nurturing and promotion confirms that we invite to come to an ambitious, creative, inventive, and one’s country loving community which the
guests will find interesting and safe.
13. Smelt of Palanga (“Palangos Stinta”) (Klaipėda County)
Every year an event organized by the Palanga culture centre and Palanga hotel and restaurant association, fish men and craftsmen “Smelt of Palanga” present the fishing traditions, folklore, history and
culinary heritage of Palanga Region. The event is organized in order to promote the resort, increase the tourism flows during the out of season period. The event is organized following the principle of public and private sector partnership. The event “Smelt of Palanga” is organized in the second part of February, during
During the event smelt meals are prepared and served not only in the cafes, but just directly in J. Basanavičiaus Street, outdoor kitchens. It is possible to taste different meals made of smelt not only during the event but during the whole February in the cafes with a special sign – a stylized smelt which informs
what exactly in this institution the guests cant taste smelt.
During the event the resort visitors can participate in the smelt fishing contest, smelt eating competitions, take part in various organized games and listen to folklore songs about fishing, to familiarize with the fishing tools and technology, taste the smelt prepared in different ways or simply pass the time happily.