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Šilelio educational trail Vištytis Regional Park

Location: N54° 25` 59.9", E22° 46` 59.9" | Website: vistytis.lt).

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Vištytis Regional Park is in the south-western part of Lithuania. Its territory includes the western part of Vištytis-Gražiškiai highlands. It is the highest place in Lithuania and the Baltic highlands. Vištytis elevation occurred in the last glacial period, at the junction of the Central and Western Lithuania glacial flow. In Vištytis Regional Park there are large forests - Vištytgiris, Drausgiris, Pavištytis. There are also small bogs and mires, lakes. The exclusive feature of Vištytis Regional Park Forest is the fact that there is a large amount of oaks, very often with hornbeam and linden or spruce impurity. Spruce occupy significant areas of Pavištytis, Vištytgiris, and Tadarinės forests. We invite you to walk along the trail in Vištytis Regional Park.
1. The cliff . When traveling along the Šilelis trail, on the shore of the lake Vištytis you reach the sandy outcrop. This place is favourite of park visitors and holidaymakers.
2. "Witch's Broom" . "Witch's Broom" is a woody plant disease when tree branches densely grow up and look like a tuft or broom. "Witch’s broom" can occur because of a variety of fungi, viruses, insects, less bacterial exposure. Phenology of such plants undergo severe changes: spring buds burst 2-6 weeks earlier than on the healthy tree branches. If a tree has many "witch’s broom", it is weakened. "Brooms" have no blossoms and hence the fruit. "Witch’s broom" appears on pines and spruces.
3. Hollow trees . The bark of surrounding trees is cracked. This is probably the work of lightning. The wood in the wound place is a little rotten. This is immediately pointed by woodpeckers. These forest inhabitants of chisel open hollows with their powerful beaks. Even squirrels can stay in such hollows. Be attentive - at this point you can see some squirrels.
4. Vištytis Lake . It is the fourth largest lake in Lithuania, with an area of 1820 ha but only 381 hectares belong to Lithuania. The length of the lake Vištytis is 8.5 km, its maximum width is 4.2 km, and the maximum depth is 50 m. This is one of the cleanest, most transparent, oxygen-rich lakes. Plants and animals are found profusely. The Vyžainos River from neighbouring Poland and many other rivers flow into the lake.
5. The highest spruce tree . The spruce trees grow to an average of 20 - 25 m high, and this tree has a height of 30 meters. It is a rare phenomenon in our area. Especially because this place is not a typical spruce habitat.
6. A Holy Spring . It is a fresh water trickle coming up from the ground. People’s stories show that some time ago in the past the water of the spring was extraordinary, it was enough to moisten the eyes and the blind could see things clearly, hardly healing wounds closed up quickly. Believing in the magical power of the spring even now people build up and bless crosses here. This interesting story was told by old people. Before the First World War, one poor peasant saw the Blessed Virgin Mary in his dream. She asked asked him to build a cross at the spring. The poor man was unable to fulfil the request because he had neither a horse nor a carriage, nor a tree to make a cross, only a hatchet. He told his wife about is and forgot the request. After a while, once again he had a dream of the Mother of God, who argued that only he could build a cross. Had had the same dream for the third time, in the morning he went to a neighbour and told him about the dream. This calmed him and promised to help. They drove into the woods, cut off an oak and soon a cross stood by the spring. People believed that this was the power of God, began to attend the cross, to pray, and to sprinkle with the spring water. They believed that the water treats from a variety of diseases, especially of the eye diseases.
7. A dip. It seems that this is a simple ravine, overgrown with hornbeam, alder, and pines on the top part of it. However, it is a trace of groundwater geological activity, which was formed on the slopes during the mechanical suffosion. During this process the insoluble mineral particles are washed, when the groundwater is filtering. This is truly a unique and rare phenomenon, which is worth seeing with your own eyes.
8. Observation desk. The beautiful Vištytis Lake and Raminta Forest in the Russian and the Polish territory can be seen from it.
9. The Old German cemetery. There is a variety of old gravestones and metal crosses left.
10. The viewing ground "Three Lakes". Three lakes located in the undulating terrain can be seen from it. You can enjoy the view of Vištytis, Grabauskas and Pakalniai lakes as well as two beautiful Pavištytis mounds.
11. Pavištytis rock group. Continuing your trip along the trail you can inspect Pavištytis rock group - seven large stones standing next to one another on the south-eastern slope of the hill.
12. Pavištytis mound. It is said that a church once plunged in this mound, and the bells sound can be heard in St. Easter morning. The second Pavištytis mound is half a kilometre away from this one.
13. The trip can be finished at the book smuggler (at the time of the ban of Lithuanian press) Petras Mikolainis’ homeland. Visitors can explore the surviving foundations of the homeland, read about this significant person in the information stand.