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First Capital – Kernavė

Kernavė is a small town located 35 km from Vilnius city and well known as the first political – economic capital of Lithuanian. Kernavė’s archaeological site is recognised for its outstanding universal value, and in 2004 was included to the UNESCO World Heritage Site – a fact showing that a place is a “must see”. Kernavė, sometimes called Lithuanian Troy, is the symbol of statehood for locals, representing cultural landscape and the last pagan country in Europe before the transition to Christianity.

Interestingly there is no other such an authentic place in the whole Baltic Sea region. Unforgettable five mounds complex (Castle, Altar, Mindaugas, Lizdeika and Kriveikiškis Hills), the Pajauta Valley with its archaeological artefacts such as the Kernavė Repository or an ancient settlement, Kernavėlė and Neris with its cliffs – all of it being the heritage of the ice age and a handwork, which can catch one’s breath.

After visiting full of legends Kernavė mounds, it is definitely worth paying a visit to the Archaeology and History museum. Nowadays, the museum contains more than 20 thousands exhibits, which present all of the Lithuanian archaeological periods from the Palaeolithic to the eighteenth century. The whole exposition is divided into three halls: the first is dedicated to Kernavė, as a unique place protected by UNESCO; the second hall introduces the life from Stone Age till early Middle Ages and in the third room visitors are able to learn more about the life during the Middle Ages in Kernavė. One part of the exhibition reveals domestic – material heritage, the other – reflects spiritual life.

Kernavė is a special town, which tries to preserve the region’s heritage and keeps the traditions. For example, at the shortest summer night, on 23rd of June, the rite goes: to say goodbye to the sunset, lit bonfires, dance and sing dressed with herb wreaths, search for the fem blossom ant so on. There are also other spectacular events such as “Days of Live Archaeology in Kernavė”, when Kernavė turns to the old medieval city with merchants, beggars, musicians... No more comments – it is time to experience it!

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