hidden europe 56

Dzukija National Park

by hidden europe

Picture above: The wooden Roman Catholic church at Marcinkonys, a village in the Dzūkija National Park east of Druskininkai (photo © hidden europe).


Great sand seas seem at home in the Sahara or Namib deserts - or even perhaps on Mars. But in southern Lithuania is a striking sandy landscape shaped largely by the winds. Dzukija National Park is a region of fossil dunescapes.

Many visitors to Druskininkai make an excursion to Dzūkija National Park to the east of the town. It is one of the largest wilderness areas in the Baltic region and, although the national park is restricted to Lithuanian territory, similar landscapes extend over the border into neighbouring Belarus.

At one level, it is a traditional rural region, with attractive wooden houses and churches — such as the one in Marcinkonys shown on this page. But casual visitors to Marcinkonys may not realise that this was once an active centre of Jewish life. For rail travellers, Marcinkonys is the end of the line from Vilnius. Yet this was once an important rail route with trains running right through to Warsaw.

This is just an excerpt. The full text of this article is not yet available to members with online access to hidden europe. Of course you can read the full article in the print edition of hidden europe 56.