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Birutė’s Hill

Klaipėda, Lithuania

Palanga Birutė’s hill is situated in the counts Tyshkevich’s estate park. This is the highest (over 200 m high) relict dune. Since XVII c. it has been marked on all the major maps. People have been living here for very long time. The I-st millennium ceramics was found on the hill. At that time the hill was fortified with sand fills, wooden fences. Couronian settlement complex most often included a castle, one or more estates and an oblation table. There were a castle and an oblation table on the Birutė’s hill back in X-XIII centuries, at the foot of the hill there was a village. In the end of the XIV c.– the beginning of the XV c. there was a defence wall built on the hill, during fights with the Crusaders it was most probably burnt. After that the hill for some time was neglected, later a pagan sanctuary with paleoastronomy observatory was equipped here. This sanctuary is connected with the name of the priestess Birutė, the wife of Prince Kęstutis and mother of Vytautas, who is said to have lived here, kept the holy fire and after death was buried here. In 1898 a neogothic style chapel designed by architect K. Majeris was built on the top of the Birute’s hill. In 1976 the chapel was decorated with glass paintings created by L. Pocius.

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