• August 2, 2014
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The new plans for the development of the open-air museum

The basic aim of the plan is to make the Dieveniškės Regional Park more appealing to tourists. It stipulates establishing new trails intended for cars, as well as for bicycles and kayaks.

Ten walking trails will be renovated, some of them also adjusted for the disabled. New recreation areas will be created alongside the Gauja River. Water facilities in Poškonys and Dieveniškės will be renovated and extended. A new sewage treatment plant will also be built in Poškonys, and the one in Dieveniškės will be renovated.

Dieveniškės Regional Park was established in early 1990s pursuant to the decision of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania in order to preserve historical and natural monuments of the area, and to regulate the recreational and economical values from their employment. The park covers 10,876 hectares (26,854 acres), 6200 hectares (57%) of which are forests, and 65.3 hectares (0.6%)–water. The cultural value of the park is related to its containing cultural landscapes that barely encountered civilization and the specific arrangement of the villages with ethnographic farmsteads.

Many villages in the park have a status of ethnocultural reserves. For example, Žižmai have 8 farmsteads marked by commemorative plates, 28 buildings from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, and 14 farmsteads included on the list of cultural monuments. 13 villages have a ethnocultural reserve status. There is no other such equivalent in Lithuania. Though only two villages were officially called architectural monuments, members of the monuments’ protection service appreciate them all. There are 23 farmsteads in Poškonys, built in 19th and 20th centuries. Out of them, 12 are marked by commemorative plates.

The Poškonys reserve includes also cemeteries from 5th and 6th centuries, as well as mythological stones. The Dieveniškės cemetery is located almost 3 km (2 miles) from Dieveniškės, by the old road to Šalčininkai. It is an archaeological monument recognized in the whole country. The cemetery contains of 8 preserved graves located quite far from each other in the Zajaszyski Forest. The “Nokas”, a historical monument, stone is located near one of the graves. Another stone, called „Užkeikta svodba”, is located 2 km (1 mile) south from “Mokas.” It is over 3 m (10 ft) long, and 2.7 m (9 ft) wide.

The park also contains burrows of the old Balts. About 1 km (1 mile) from Poškonys, there is a band of graves; the diameter of the largest one is 20 m (66 ft), its height–almost 2 m (7 ft). According to the archaeological data, four of them are from 5th-6th century. Not far from the Stakai village, there is the largest cemetery, consisting of 50 graves from 5th, 6th, 9th, and 12th centuries.

Dieveniškės itself is a village with a structure common in Eastern Lithuania and Belarus. The main element of Dieveniškės is its square that makes the village look like Vilnius, Ashmyany, Sobotniki, Gieraniony, and Šalčininkai. The important historical monument in the village are Holy Mary Rosary Church built in 1783 and its bell tower built in 1903, 21 m (69 ft) high. Another interesting monument is a chapel near the road to Sobotniki, containing a figure of the Jesus Crucified, called by local residents “the Swedish chapel.”

In the Poškonys museum, where the Information Centre of Dieveniškės Regional Park, one can see dishes and home appliances from 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century collected in the Dieveniškės area. The museum offers also an exhibition of articles made of linum; the museum staff will gladly present how such towels, tablecloths, and bedcloths are made.

Translated by Michał M. Kowalski within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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