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Zackagiris (Dziackagirio) cognitive path

Location: N54° 3` 29.01", E24° 24` 6.52"

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Zackagiris cognitive trail is 13.8 km, but you can choose to 7 km or 10.5 km. Zackagiris nature trail winds through the picturesque Marcinkoniai surroundings. Exciting Grūda river loop, mysterious Aklaežeris, wind-blown dune Gaidzu (roosters’), Zackagiris stream shores lined with beavers’ huts will be interesting to a naturalist and a simple traveller. There are also plants and birds of the Red Book. They are an integral part of this wonderful corner of nature ... The route begins at Marcinkonys Visitors Centre (61 Miškininkų St, Marcinkonys, Varėna district). 

1. Marcinkonys is one of the largest villages in Lithuania. A settlement of the scouts of the forest was mentioned in 1637. It gave start to Marcinkonys. By the middle of the 19th century it was a small village, which grew rapidly after the construction of the Warsaw-Petersburg railway (the second half of the 19th century). The rural districts were inhabited since the Stone Age. Now Marcinkonys is the place of home to more than 800 inhabitants, there is Čepkeliai State Nature Reserve and Dzūkija National Park Administration, Marcinkonys Visitors Centre. 

Farther winding walkway leads to the part of the village situated in a ravine and the part is called Naujaliai or the Kremlin. The creek Duobupis crosses Naujaliai and continues merging with the Zackagiris stream, which is also the name of the cognitive path. After leaving the village, The Zackagiris flows into the Grūda, which comes through forests from Grūda Lake separating Belarus from Lithuania. The length of the Grūda is 45 km. It differs from the other rivers of the park because of its wide valley and loops and the abundance of old riverbeds. Previously the Grūda was famous for the abundance of crayfish. 

2. Šaudzyklos Hill. A shooting gallery was installed there during the Polish occupation and later it was used by the Germans. At the foot of the mountain there were wooden rails for pulling a trolley with fixed targets. The moving target - the wagon was fired at from the hut standing by the nearby forest. 

3. Dravės (Hollows). Having crossed the Grūda, you will find a hollow pine. Dzūkija forests cherish the ancient beekeeping traditions. Wild bees living in the hollow pine trees (dravėse) can be seen in Musteika, in the ancient beekeeping path. 

4. Gaidzų (roosters’) dune. The white sand hill is an open dune in Roosters corner. It is a “living” dune. Contributed by the wind it is trying to fight the plants by pouring the white sand on them. 

5. "The Bear's Rump”. The pine forests are replaced by small swamps, meadows and thickets, called "The Bear's Rump”. Going toward Aklažeris fenced fields called Prūdai open on the left side. 

6. Aklažeris. This is a small lake, resulting from dissolution of an ice block which had cut adrift from the glacier and had been choked by ground. The bogging up process nearly 10 hectares of the lake turned into a swamp, and even fifty years ago it was possible to swim there. 

7. Beavers' Places. The path past Aklažeris leads through the dunes extending towards the Warsaw - St. Petersburg railway. On the right there are marshes, which hide beavers’ huts. On the left, about 200 meters from the railway there is a springy hollow, where the Zackagiris stream starts.