Vilnius. Pūčkoriai cognitive path
Location: N54° 40` 40.0", E25° 17` 30.0" | Website: pavilniai-verkiai.lt/lt/puckoriu-piliakalnis
The trip starts and finishes at the Belmont entertainment and leisure centre. Nearby there is a large parking lot. Pūčkoriai educational trail starts immediately behind the mill bridge. It is well marked in stone and metal arrows. In addition to the runway there are equipped rest areas with benches and information stands.
1. Pūčkoriai geological outcrop (S. Batoras st.). This is one of the most impressive and the highest exposures in Lithuania - an excellent starting point for the natural-cognitive hike. This unique object was declared a natural geological monument in 1974. The height of the escarpment is 65 m, its width is 260 m. Pūčkoriai outcrop was formed by the last glaciers and the current of the Vilnia River. At the outcrop there are several Polish built bunkers, Vilnius defence system in the 20th century.
2. Pūčkoriai industrial complex. Next to the exposure there is a large and well equipped cannon foundry with cooling ponds and gunpowder mills, which was built in the 16th century. Cannons of different sizes were cast at the foundry. It was equipped with cannon testing and cavalry instruction areas. At the beginning of the 19th century Pūčkoriai (Puškarnios) estate had one of the largest and most beautiful mills in Lithuania, which had twelve millstones. Later a part of the mill was adapted for paper manufacturing. In 1905 Puškarnia was mentioned as a wood processing factory, and in 1909 it was producing cardboard, cellulose, writing paper. The buildings suffered most during the world wars. Today we see the existing old water channel, dams, and the remains of the water mill.
3. Vilnia valley. Pūčkoriai outcrop overlooks the valley of Vilnia. The slopes of the valley are diverse and complex with old hills and barrows. The first city craft workshops, mills, brick works were founded in Vilnia valley. There are remaining even three old water dams: Kučkuriškiai paper factory, Pūčkoriai mill and paper factory and the French water mill dam.
4. French Mill (Belmont mill). In the wonderful bend of the Vilnia there are preserved remains of the old dam of the French mill, over which in the location of the former path there is a comfortable pedestrian footbridge equipped. Not far from the bridge there is a swing bridge built - the real attraction for young visitors. Brick water mill in the lands of Leoniškiai manor was built by Frenchman Charles Devim at the beginning of the 19th century. Currently Belmontas has changed, there is an entertainment centre.
5. The Lower Pavilnys. The trail runs along the railway, and it becomes clear that the slopes of the Vilnia are closely related to the beginning of Lithuanian railway history. In 1851 Czarist Russian Government adopted a resolution on the St. Petersburg-Warsaw railway construction. In 1858 it was launched to build the Daugavpils-Vilnius-Kaunas-Virbalio (Kybartai) section, which crossed the Pavilnys hills. And already on 15 March, 1862 the first train went by Pavilnys toward Vilnius station.
6. Ponds. In the place of the old Vilnia River from the hill towards Pūčkoriai estate dwelling area there is extending a long range of ponds, powered by abundant sources. Carp, tench, bream, pike and other fish was grown in the farm of the ponds. The ponds are favoured by wild ducks, pullets and coots. The ponds are home to otters, beavers, muskrats.
7. Sources. Vilnius has impressive landscapes, is rich in underground water sources feeding the old town. The Vilnia valley is dominated by a jumble of glacial till and loam, in some places with large aquiferous inclusions. The underground water sources come from the wet sediment. The left side of the Vilnia is abundant in the sources. These vents complement the nearby ponds, the Vilnia River, and once helped rolling the water wheels of the Pūčkoriai mill.
8. Pūčkoriai mound. The mound and the remains of an ancient settlement found near it date back to the oldest historical times of the valley. Archaeological finds indicate that this place was already inhabited by people in the Stone Age. The mound was used for defence purposes since the 1st century AD and did not lose its importance to the 13th -14th century.
9. The Sundial. A suitable place for a short rest is the valley meadow, where there is a sundial with an impressive wooden columns and stone columns to indicate the time. A trail of great oaks leads from here to the mound.
10. Pūčkoriai Farmstead. Historical sources show that at the foot of Pūčkoriai (Puškarnios) outcrop there was a manor which existed already in the 14th century. But only the manor building complex of the 18th century and the start of the 19th century remained to this day. It is located on both sides of the Vilnia. The complex consists of a stack yard, a barn, a stable, a former cottars’ house. At the moment the main dwelling house and landscaped orchard are renovated.