Facts and history

Geographical and Political Description
The Curonian Spit is a unique monument, light multisided strip of a land, uniqueness of which is comprised of relief created by the sea and wind, the highest spit in the whole Northern Europe, Lagoon marl prints, remains of former Lagoon‘s forest and soil brought by the wind and constant interesting eolic processes.
A considerable contribution for formation of the existent uniqueness was made by human, who after unmerciful extermination of the spit‘s forests personally started the works of forests‘ regeneration. The process of regeneration was long and hard; therefore, current natural and introduced vegetation, rare plants that are typical for this region only, their communities, and their growth locations request special care. Such care is also necessitated by tracks left by humans in this region, since “the most important task is to preserve and propagate the region‘s culture together with its creators – local residents – and with the natural environment, where the culture had blossomed and left its tracks.“
The natives of the spit, who had created an original ethnic community of fishermen, disappeared during the War and post-War period. Only the spit, forests, and empty fishermen‘s settlements remained. During the post-War period, the territory was populated by immigrants from the Great Lithuania and other republics, which were a part of the contemporary Soviet Union.

Borders of Lithuanian Spit
The Curonian Spit is a narrow sand peninsula of 98 km of length, which divides the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. This is a fragile nature, which requests a considerable and constant attention. In the South, Lithuanian part of the Spit borders with Kaliningrad region of the Russian Federation. The borderline marks the external borders of the European Union.
According to the origin and composition the Spit is comprised of natural and human-made complex sections of protective dune-ridge. These various forms were created by waves, wind and the human, which were also helped by the sand grains of various sizes, flora and its distribution, angles and height of dune-ridge‘s slopes, and position of the ridge according to the coastline and its inner composition.
Blazon and Flag of Neringa
Blazon shield of Neringa town is divided into 6 black and silver (white) sections. Rectangular sections symbolize Nida‘s, triangulars symbolize Preila‘s, rhombus symbolizes Nida‘s Mires‘, silver section symbolizes Karvaiciai and other sandbound villages‘, the cross symbolizes Juodkrante‘s, and rectangular symbolizes Pervalka village‘s historical weathercocks of fishermen‘s kurenas (national boats). Blue-colored pedestal of the blazon shield reads silver letter „N“, which symbolizes Neringa town. Neringa town was founded in 1961. The town‘s blazon was created in 1967 - 1968 by the artist Arunas Tarabilda. It portrayed the weathercocks of the ships named kurenas of the Curonian Spit villages‘ fishermen. These weathercocks were founded in the middle of the 19th century by Rusne Lagoon Inspectorate.
While preparing a new standard of Neringa‘s blazon, it was discovered that Neringa‘s blazon 1968 had only a partially correct presentation of its elements: Rasyte village, which also had a place designed on this blazon, currently belongs to Russia, and Juodkrante weathercocks previously were only a cross. Therefore, on the request of the residents of Neringa town, it was decided to remove the sign of Rasyte village from the blazon of Neringa town and to portray an empty (silver) section, which would symbolize Karvaiciai and other 16 sandbound villages, which were on the territory of the present Neringa, instead of it.

Appearance of Neringa‘s blazon
Considering the importance of administrative center of Neringa‘s town Nida and herbal aesthetic appearance of the blazon, the black and silver sections on the blazon were decided to be distributed as follows: On the left upper side, in the first section the signs of the weathercocks of Nida‘s fishermen‘s kurenas are portrayed, below - the weathercocks of Nida‘s Mire‘s fishermen‘s kurenas are portrayed, and the bottom has the weathercocks of Juodkrante‘s fishermen‘s kurenas portrayed. The first rectangular from the top on the right side of the blazon marks Preila, the empty section below marks Karvaiciai and other sandbound villages, and the bottom section marks Pervalka. Neringa‘s blazon created by A. Tarabilda was corrected, i.e. standard of the corrected blazon was made by architect Ricardas Kristapavicius. Lithuanian Blazonry Committee had approved the new blazon of Neringa town on June 23, 1997. The President of the Republic of Lithuania certified the blazon on February 18, 1997 (decree No. 1209).

The flag of Neringa town, which is surrounded by red strip from all the sides, portrays the blazon of Neringa town. It has white (silver) and black colors dominating. Lithuanian Blazonry Committee certified the flag of Neringa town on April 7, 1997. The artist is R. Kristapavicius.
Nature and Dunes
A pearl of the Baltics, an adornment of the seacoast, the native land of Neringa‘s fairy tales – these are the words repeated ferquently by the people who were affected by the charm of the Curonian Spit. Our spit changes its facing annually. It always has an original beauty: in spring and summer, blushing the leaves of the sand plains‘ forests in autumn, or spreading a friable snow cover in winter. The most typical and impressive element of the spit‘s nature is the dunes. However, the value of uniqueness of the Curonian Spit hides not in separate components of its nature, but in unrepeatable combination, coexistence and interaction of those components. The Curonian Spit is the reachest humans‘ and nature‘s laboratory of natural research of interaction of ecological coast processes, and an original museum of life nature. Only here you can observe and integrally investigate ecological processes of the coast and their particularities. The dunes of the Curonian Spit is an excellent laboratory for analysis of not only formation and dynamics of the dunes, but also of spontaneous grassing of the dunes, and formation and development of new plant communities of the dunes.

According to: V.Gudelis “Lithuanian gulfs and coast”
Beaches and the Blue Flag
The program of the Blue Flag is intended for municipalities, which develop tourism services, and secures compliance with certain requirements for environmental protection and service quality. Municipalities that have beaches and piers, which correspond to the established requirements, can seek for receiving the Blue Flag sign – the sign of international beach and pier quality. Seeking to receive the Blue Flag, municipality and institution that supervise the beaches are obligated to satisfy a number of requirements in the categories of water quality, environmental protection and information, safety and services quality.

Facts about the Blue Flag:
• The Blue Flag is granted by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) – the international non-governmental organization of environmental protection.
• Beaches and piers are awarded with the Blue Flag.
• Only municipalines can seek for the Blue Flag award for their beaches.
• The Blue FLag is granted for one season only. Responsible institutions assume the obligation to take off the Blue Flag if the beaches do not correspond to the requirements set.
• Country‘s national organization of the Foundation for Environmental Education examines the Blue Flag beaches during the season.

Neringa‘s Municipality was the first one in Lithuania to start participating in the Blue Flag program, and already in 2002 Nida‘s beach was awarded with the Blue Flag. In 2004, Juodkrante‘s beach was awarded with the Blue Flag as well.

Clean water of beaches‘ bathing-places, qualified lifeguards and medical personnel working on the beaches and first aid means, the beaches are cleaned and ordered on the daily basis, restrooms (including the restrooms that are adjusted for challenged people), special tracks that are adjusted for challenged people, telephones, fontains of drinking water, motor car traffic prohibited on the beaches – these are the main features of the Blue Flag.

You will find all of this on the Blue Flag beaches of Neringa‘s Municipality!

We invite you to contribute to the Blue Flag program:
• Throw the trash into the trashcans.
• When having a rest, follow the rules of beaches‘ usage.
• Strictly follow the rules of safe behavior in water.
• If it is possible, use ecological vehicles and public transport for communication.
• Do not walk your home pets on the beaches.
• Keep vehicles only in the intended sites.
• Do not maim the flora and destroy the dunes fortifications.
• Upon departure, make sure that you are leaving clean resort.

Have a good and pleasant rest on the Blue Flag Beaches!


The main requirements of the Blue Flag program for beaches:

• Water of the bathing-places is to be inspected twice a month during the season. Results of the water quality are to be present on the beach announcement boards.
• Unclean sewage does not access water pools.
• During the season, the beach is to be cleaned on the daily basis.
• It is forbidden to drive motor cars and motorcycles on the beach.
• Tents are to be placed only in specially intended places.
• The beach trashcans are to be handled on the daily basis during the season.
• Qualified lifeguards are working on the beach during the season.
• Rescue means are to be certified.
• Doctors are to be working or first aid means are to be present on the beach during the season.
• The beach is to be adjusted for challenged people (special restrooms, telephones, tracks).
• Scheme, rules of behavior on the beach, information about nature sensitive zones on the coast territory are to be present on the boards beside the main tracks which lead to the beach.
• A municipality that participates in the Blue Flag program is to implement various activity of environmental protection, seeking to involve the society into this activity.
• Local government ecourages usage of ecologically clean vehicles.

RULES OF BEACHES‘ ATTENDING AND SWIMMING

1. General part
These rules define the main requirements and norms of beach attending and behavior in water, which seek to secure and maintain the order and safety of the visitors in the water. When visiting the beach, please, follow the present rules and advice of the lifeguard.

2. It is necessary to know
2.1. Having visited the beach, familiarize yourself with information boards and signs of the beach, which will inform you about conditions of swimming and norms of obligatory behavior on the beach;
2.2. Respect the flags and simbols that are on the beach, read the signs and obey them;
2.3. Arriving to the beach, find out whether the lifeguard is working, and what are their working hours;
2.4. Ask the lifeguard for information and instructions;
2.5. Make sure to get the phone numbers of the beach lifeguards.
3. On the beach it is forbidden to:
3.1 . Litter;
3.2 . Walk dogs and other animals on the beach;
3.3. Consume alcoholic beverages;
3.4. Willfully organize entertaining facilities and sport grounds;
3.5. Place tents;
3.6. Build a fire;
3.7. Damage and break information signs and tools;
3.8. Park vehicles outside the intended sites;
3.9. Wash and repair vehicles;
3.10. Violate public order.

Advice for safe behavior on the beach:
1. Do not swim:
1.1. when severely overheated;
1.2. for more than 15-20 min.;
1.3. after having a heavy meal or when very tired;
1.4. after dark;
2. Swim only in the territory supervised by the beach lifeguard.
3. Do not jump into the water, when unsure that bottom of a water pool is clear and the depth is sufficient.
4. Do not wade into the water deeper than the waist level, if you cannot swim.
5. If you are tired, having a spasm, fell into a stream, try to evaluate the stuation calmly and call for help by stretching your arm and smashing it against the water surface, shout trying to draw others‘ attention to yourself.
6. Do not leave children swimming in the water without supervision.
7. Do not let children swim with the inflatables and airbeds without supervision of adults.
8. When noticing a drowning person, call for lifeguard immediately and draw the attention of other visitors.
Four rules for children:
1. Do not swim separately from others.
2. Do not dive in unfamiliar places.
3. Do not push others and do not jump on others.
4. Know where to apply for help in case of an accident.
• Nature Monuments
Valley Of Silence
In the beginning of the valley, there is a chapel column constructed in 1991, which was dedicated for restoration of Lithuanian independence. Parnidis exploratory track begins here.
The Dune Of Parnidis
The Dune of Parnidis is a favorite place of the holidaymakers’ visits. The dune is half planted and half drifted. On the southwest slope of the Dune of Parnidis a memorial cross for the sculptor R.Daugintis is standing, and on the top of the dune in spring of 1995, while celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Restoration of Independence, the Solar Clock – calendar was constructed. From the Dune of Parnidis you can enjoy the variety of the spit’s landscape. In the direction to the south, a range of XVIII century human-provoked “migrating dunes” greets by blinding one with light and shadows, in the direction of the north there is a 19th century human-planted green carpet of hill-pines of the Great Duneridge.
The Valley Of Death
This valley is situated between the Dune of Parnidis and the Dune of Gliders. During 1870 – 1872, there was a camp of the French war captives established. Due to poor imprisonment conditions, exhaustion, and diseases a lot of the captives had died. They were buried at the camp cemetery set right here; that is why the valley has such a name.
The Hill Of Urbas
Nida is surrounded by two high dunes overgrown by pines. One of those dunes is the Hill of Urbas. The name of the hill takes its roots in the word „urbas“ (pit, hole), since the top of this dune was rich in pits. An old Nida lighhouse shines on the Hill of Urbas. Currently, the hill has a viewing point equipped on it. This is an excellent place for traditional events. Summer nights movie sessions are organized on the Hill of Urbas. A traditional Jonines (the Feast of St.John) walking is going down from here.
The Hill Of Witches (Formerly Of Jonas And Ieva)
From the ancient times, Jonines (the Feast of St.John) were celebrated on the Hill of Witches, formerly called the Hill of Jonas and Ieva. Nowadays, waking down the hill’s path, you can see a unique exposition in the open air. 71 sculptures from oak were gouged out by Lithuanian (mostly Samogitian) folklore artists – wood carvers who converged to Juodkrante during the summers of 1979 – 1981. The theme of the old hill sculptures is the world where witches, demons, and the characters of Lithuanian fairy tails and Neringa legends exist. In the summer of 1988 the sculptors complemented the ensamble with 12 more sculptures, mostly of playful character: swings, small hills, chairs. During the period of 1999 - 2002 at the time of "Hill of Witches" symposium new sculptutures originated in the exposition, and the old ones were restored.
Amber Gulf
In 1855, while canalizing the waterway near Juodkrante, the workers discovered amber in the silt soil. Shortly after that, various businessmen expressed their interest in this discovery. The first person to start the works of organized excavation of mud from the bottom of the Lagoon for amber search was former miller, owner of ships, later Klaipeda innkeeper Vilhelmas Stantynas. When merchants from Dancig joined him, a company of amber excavation from the Lagoon’s bottom was founded. The Government also contributed to the company’s activity, since it canalized the ships navigation channel between Klaipeda and the Coast and wanted to have a benefit from amber search works for itself as well. Having united the efforts, the company began to flourish.
The company encouraged the residents of Juodkrante to get involved into amber excavation, too. It was in need of cheap labor force. Having the volumes increased, spacious bunkhouses were constructed to the north of Juodkrante, ship repair workshop was opened, port quay and workshops for production of the divers’ clothes were equiped. Gradually, Juodkrante became an industrial town.
The works of amber excavation were performed only in the summertime – around 30 weeks per year by three shifts. The amber excavated from the Lagoon’s bottom had to be cleaned and separated from admixtures. From 1860 till 1890, approximately 75 thousand kilograms of amber on the average per year were excavated. Having the amber mining declined, in 1890, the excavation works contract was not renewed, therefore, the excavation works in Juodkrante were terminated.
While digging the gulf’s port, a collection of amber ware of the middle neolithic and yellow metal ages was discovered on the Lagoon’s bottom. The amber collection was later entitled as the Amber Treasure.

The Treasure in the name of Ricardas Klebsas
Ricardas Klebsas deserved the most for preserving the collection, therefore, quite often the treasure is named after him. Having organized exhibitions in various cities of the world, this treasure became known and famous in the whole world. After the World War II, only 5 findings were left of Juodkrante’s treasure: three human figures, a hanger of phallus shape, and double ornamented disc. Along with other remained exhibits of the treasure, they are kept in Museum of Geology and Palaeontology of Goetingen University. According to descriptions and drawings from the book of R. Klebtas, the artist Brone Kunkuliene made two sets of amber moulages, which currently are exhibited in Palanga Amber Museum and in Mizgiriai Amber Gallery in Nida.
Settlement Of Herons And Cormorants Beside Juodkrante
Having just departing Juodkrante towards Nida, but not mounting up to the steep Hill of Ram yet, another hill is aspiring among the old woods – the Hill of Herons, which received its name from the settlement of grey herons and grand cormorants that settled nearby. This is one of the biggest settlement of these birds in the whole Europe. According to the data of 2000, the settlement amounted to 582 couples of grey herons and 1,361 couples of grand cormorants.
It is unlikely to answer the question, when the herons settled in the neighbourhood of Juodkrante. In the middle of XIX mentury, they were a common element of everyday life. It can be said with a confidence that these leggy birds had lived in XVII century or even much earlier.
What did stimulate the herons to resettle their nestplaces from the northern to the southern neighbourhood of Juodkrante? Historical sources report on their battle with an aggressive “gooks” – the cormorants. Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo L. or Carbo cormoranus), otherwise known as marine ravens ”Corvus marinus”, had appeared in Juodkrante in 1803. They settled beside the herons and started to occupy their nests. Gradually, the herons were driven out to the edges. They began to migrate to the south of Juodkrante. In 10 years, two separate settlements of herons and cormorants emerged on the southern and northern border of Juodkrante.

The battle of cormorants and grey herons
O. Glagau also describes the battle between the cormorants and grey herons, which ended with the win of cormorants that drove the grey herons out for some time.
Cormorants moved their settlement to the south beside the herons. This time humans intervened in the relations of herons and cormorants. Considering recommendations of local forestry officers and complaints of the local fishermen, the government of Prussia allowed exterminating the “black strangers.”
Up to 1978, the grand cormorants were very rare guests on the coast of Lithuanian and the Curonian Lagoon. Later in these regions only single birds can be met from time to time, mostly during the period of spring and autumn migration.
Another “wave” of cormorants reached Juodkrante during 1974 - 1978. Non-hatching birds were observed in various wide open spaces of the Lagoon during various times of year. Quite promptly the black birds settled beside the herons.
Gradually, the herons were forced to give up the biggest part of their nests to the invaders, and in 1995 the lowest number of hatching herons was registered.
Nowadays, two settlements – of herons and cormorants – exist alongside each other. According to 2002 record data, 500 couples of grey herons and 2,000 couples of grand cormorants hatch here. The cormorants had started to build nests in 1989, the curve line of their plurality increases, and only the future will show when it is going to stabilize and what the consequences of their competition are going to be. Cormorants and herons are protected by the laws, therefore, there are no discussions going on concerning artificial decrease of their quantities.
Presently, cormorants are quite common birds, and their plurality in the Lagoon increases constranly. Local fishermen and foresters are dissatisfied because of the damage made by the mentioned birds.

Prepared according to Gediminas Grazulevicius and Dainius Elertas (Authority of the National Park of the Curonian Spit)
The Valley Of Love
On the twelfth kilometer’s point, where the forest gets distant from the road, foundations overgrown by plants outstand. In XIX and beginning of XX centuries, timber workers’ bunkhouses were standing here. People formated and planted the protective duneridge. It is considered that after 1870, a part of French captives who were working here were accommodated in those bunkhouses. Later these houses were intended for hired workers. People say that women from the continent, who were planting the forest, had also settled there. Due to their easy virtues, this place received such a name. The dune of the Valley of Love of 32 meters stands out beside the Valley of Love.

Taken from the Internet website of the National Park of the Curonian Spit www.nerija.lt
The Cape Of Bulvikis
This is the widest point of the Curonian Spit peninsula, which amounts to 3.8 km. It is considered that the name of the Cape and the gulf beside it originated from the Curonian surname Bulvikis. However, one more explanation of origin of this name exists: in Swedish, the word "bolja" means "wave", and the word "vik" means "gulf", so it is quite possible that the name of Bulvikis is of Swedish origin.
Before planting the grand dunes, the Cape of Bulvikis grew very fast: during the period from 1837 to 1910 it lengthened for 7 m on the average annually. Curently, a reverse process is happening: The Cape is being washed by the Lagoon’s streams and persistently decreases.
An excellent prospect of the coasts of the Curonian Lagoon opens up from the Cape of Bulvikis and the gulf; the Cape of Vente is visible. Under condition of good visibility, the other coast of the Curonian Lagoon seems to be in the arm‘s distance; however, such impression is deceitful: The width of the Lagoon between the Capes of Bulvikis and Vente amounts to no more than 8 km, and the depth is about 3 m.

Taken from the Internet website of the National Park of the Curonian Spit www.nerija.lt
The Hill Of Vecekrug
The green “carpet” of hill-pines spaned over the hills by a human reveals the Karvaciai reservation landscape of the Old Inn Hill (the Curonian - Vecekrug), which is between Preila and Nida, with all its beauty. People say that an inn was standing in its base. This dune is situated 1.5 km towards the south of Preila, facing the Cape of Preila. This is the highest planted dune of the Curonian Spit, which opens up the prospect of the Curonian Spit broadening beside the Cape of Bulvikis, forest of the slopes, coast dunes’ sand plains roughness, and outlines of the Lagoon’s coasts. The dune itself is no less impressive, which stringed the green “robe” with diagonals of white sand stripes. The Hill looks especially proudly, when looking at it from the northern side. The height of the Hill of Vecekrug is about 67.2 m. The easiest way to reach it is by driving the bicycle track.

Taken from the Internet website of the National Park of the Curonian Spit www.nerija.lt
The Hill Of Karvaiciai
Karvaiciai were one of the oldest settlements of the Spit, which existed already in XV century. Around year 1600, the forest that protected Karvaiciai from the wind-blown sand, was already rare. The wind-blown sand buried the village houses and usurped the church as well. The residents dug the sand, constructed fences; however, the wandering dune implacably dashed into the village. Having no choice, the people were forced to move. In 1797, the sand drove the last residents away. The dune buried Karvaiciai for good.
„Only everything that is covered by the moss is left from that time“,- L. Reza wrote, having visited the place of his former home many years later. The height of the Hill of Karvaiciai is approximately 59.4 m.

Taken from the Internet website of the National Park of the Curonian Spit
The Dunes Of The Gliders
The name of the Dune of the Gliders itself commemorates the first period of the Independent Republic and the fact that gliders of the Independent Lithuania had lifted from its top over the white dunes. A razor-edge ridge attracts travellers’ attention from a distance. It is situated approximately 5 km towards the south of Nida, on the south border of the Cape of Grobstas.
History
The Prie-History of the Region
Formed over 5,000 years ago, the Curonian Spit is a 98 km long strip between the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Lagoon. Agelong rivals dominate the Spit: sand, the sea, and forest. Over time, this ding-dong fight highly troubled local inhabitants; however, namely the confrontation of wind-blown sand and vegetation eventually formed the Spit, renowned for its unique beauty of nature and referred to as the Curonian Spit in historical sources (neria curoniensis). The origin of the Spit’s name is linked to the Curonians – a tribe of Western Balts, who lived at the nowadays Latvian seaside, with their settlements spreading as far as to the south, reaching Klaipeda neighborhood. As early as in the Stone Age, human beings found there a land that was suitable for living (4,000 BC). Approximately, at that time, Semba peninsula let amber layer loose under the plough. Thus, since those times, the wonderful mineral became a vital aspect of the Curonian Spit inhabitants’ household and decoration.
Prepared by: Nijole Strakauskaite
From XIII Century to the Post-War Times
A more specific image of the Curonian Spit’s development can be formed only from XVIII century, when the Germanic Order conquered this territory and started to record events related to the adaptation of the Spit – strategically significant territory – in historical sources. For that reason, the Germanic Order built several castles at the Curonian Spit, of which the most important was the Rasyte castle (Rossitten, currently Rybachy settlement), mentioned for the first time in 1372. It stood there till the end of XV century. By that time, the Curonian Spit was a focal intermediate traffic link between Marienburg (currently Malbork) and Riga. Hostelries were founded there to secure the traffic function, which thus conditioned establishment of settlements. The following names of places were mentioned during the times of the Curonian Spit subjection to the Germanic Order till the beginning of XVI century – Sarkuva (Sarkau), Kuncai (Kunzen), Rasyte (Rossitten), Pilkopa (Pillkopen), Nida (Nidden), Karvaiciai (Karwaiten), Nagliai (Negeln), Juodkrante (Schwarzort), and Smiltyne (Sandkrug).
The beginning of XVI century was the time of the significant changes: the state of the Order fell into decay, in place of which the secular Duchy of Prussia emerged with the Curonian Spit as its integral part. The Reformation brought respect for the vernacular language, i.e. from those times to the middle of XX mentury, Lithuanian language was heard in the churches. A firmly established Lutheranism and harsh subsistence shaped spiritual world of the Curonian Spit inhabitants, their moral principles in assessing truth, hard work, and order. Besides, at the intersection of XV and XVI centuries, the Curonians, who spoke Latvian and distinctly represented an ethnic originality of the Spit up till the World War II, settled at the Curonian Spit. Those fishermen had been cutting the waters of the Curonian Lagoon on thekurenas – sailing boats of especial construction, the masts of which were adorned with weathercocks. Woesome existence lead the Curonians to master hunting crows and consume them as food, as well as determined the ascetic habitation and dress code of the Curonians.

Nida as a summer resort fancied by famous people
By the end of XIX century, German expressionists (Max Pechstein, Lovis Corinth, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Ernst Mollenhauer and others) started to place Nida on the map by spending their summers there. They had established Nida Artists’ Colony with its “quarters” in the “Hermann Blode” hotel, which was one of the oldest Nida hotels and was built in 1867. During the semicentenary heyday of the artists’ community, “Hermann Blode” Hotel was visited not only by many great artists, but also by litterateurs Hermann Sudermann, Ernst Wiechert, Agnes Miegel, Fritz Kudnig, psychotherapist Sigmund Freud, and others. A Nobel prize winner, writer Thomas Mann was one of the respectable hotel’s guests, who had visited Nida for the first time in August 24, 1929 and had spent several memorable days in the “Hermann Blode” Hotel. Fascinated by the Curonian Spit landscape and Nida fishermen’s village aura, he decided to build a summerhouse in Nida, where he spent three summers (1930 – 1932) and wrote part of the trilogy “Joseph and His Brothers”.

Geographical and Political Situation After 1923
In 1923, for the first time in 700 years, the Curonian Spit was intersected by the state border: a section from Nida to Smiltyne became a part of autonomic Klaipeda region of the Republic of Lithuania. It did not yield significant changes in the life of the Curonian Spit inhabitants, although, some of them became German citizens and others – Lithuanian citizens. Resort business kept on flourishing in Nida, attracting up to 10 thousand holidaymakers per season. In 1939, that part of the Curonian Spit, which belonged to Lithuania, along with the Klaipeda region, were annexed to Germany again. However, that event and even the commencing World War II did not unhinge the accustomed resort life too much. However, the summer of 1944 became fateful for the Curonian Spit: With battle line drawing closer, all of the local inhabitants had to leave for the depth of Germany, and majority of them did not come back. Suddenly, the age-old cultural tradition of the Curonian Spit, in which German, Curonian, and Lithuanian languages and heritages were intertwined, had ruptured. After 700 years, the wheel of history had ended up drawing one trajectory and started to roll a completely different track, enriching new experience with historical memory.

Prepared by: Nijole Strakauskaite
From the Postwar Times to Nowadays
In the summer of 1944, with the front line drawing closer, majority of inhabitants fled to Germany. Till the beginning of 1945, practically all of the local residents, most of whom came from Central Russia, had left, and civilians started to inhabit the Curonian Spit,. The Curonian Spit of the postwar times represented ill communication with the mainland, bad roads or absence of the latter, wasted and ravished the land. For newcomers, the Curonian Spit was an alien land for a long time. Nida, Preila, and Juodkrante’s neighbourhoods functioned prior to the foundation of the town. On November 15, 1961, the LSSR Supreme Council issued a decree “Regarding Nida, Preila, and Juodkrante’s Summerhouses Liquidation and Neringa Town Foundation, Subordinate to the Republic”. The concerns of the first town head were to provide Neringa with electricity, telephone communication lines, as well as to reconstruct the road Nida - Smiltyne. At that same time, the foundation for the development of Neringa as a resort was laid. Special attention was paid to the border regime and establishment of a life-saving station.
In 1966, the status of a unique landscape reservation came into effect, which practically equals the status of the national park. The latter definition was avoided due to the fear to use the word “national.”
In 1967, the hurricane cut a swath through the Spit, unthreading 21 thousand cubic meters of the most beautiful forest. The speed of wind reached 35-40 m/sec.

Management of the territory according to the general plan
In 1968, the territory of Neringa town was started to be managed according to the certified general plan (the plan was prepared by the Architectural and Construction Institute of Kaunas, head Ph.D. V. Stauskas).
In 1970, a secondary school started to function, and in 1973 – music school and residential district were built on the Taikos street.
In 1972, a canteen and a trading center was built in Juodkrante. A gym and a wing of the Nida secondary school was built. Traffic communication with Kaliningrad has improved. The most important projects: construction of dwelling houses in the Kopu district and foundation of the Museum of Miniatures in Juodkrante.
In 1976, LSSR Cabinet Council confirmed provisions about the Curonian Spit management. The same year, State Forest Park was established.
In 1979, Neringa town complex children-youth sports school SSD “Zalgiris” was opened in Nida. Even prior to the establishment of the sports school, Nida yachtsmen were well-known in Lithuania and former USSR.
In 1988, the churches of Nida and Juodkrante were returned to Evangelical-Lutheran parishes. That same year, 110 KW electric transfer line was laid. In September 1988, “Sajudis” was formed in Neringa. That was a new democratic force. The entire Lithuania, including Neringa, experienced a great ethnic and spiritual upsurge.
In 1991, the National Park of the Curonian Spit was established, according to the LR Supreme Council resolution. In July, yachting final competition among Lithuanians of the World took place in Neringa.

Cultural Tourism
From 1995, the most focal turning point happens in the town’s infrastructure development. Special attention was paid to the cultural tourism and solution of inhabitants’ social problems. In that time frame, municipality considerably improved the town’s infrastructure. In 2001, the biggest infrastructure object in Lithuania was yielded – Juodkrante quay. In 1995, the quay clearing works were started. Prior to 1995, that bank of the Curonian Lagoon was unkept, unaesthetic, and untidy, which caused the raised Lagoon’s waters to flood the road. Nowadays, the quay is the most visited place, where one can not only walk, but also admire Lithuanian and foreign artists’ stone sculptures. Municipality pays considerable attention to the renovation of the apartment houses – houses facades were changed, span roofs, traditional for this land, were fitted instead of flat roofs, environment was cleaned up.
When Lithuania regained independence, a lot of work has been done in the cultural tourism sphere. Most of events organized in Neringa became traditional. Those are holiday of the Summer Season Opening, international folklore festival “Tek sauluze ant maraciu”, Fisherman’s Holiday, international Thomas Mann art festival, opera and symphonic music festival “Musical August at the Seaside”, chamber music festival “The Curonian Spit”, Christmas and New Year cycle, etc.

The Curonian Spit is in the UNESCO List
By the end of 2000, the Curonian Spit territory was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list as a cultural landscape object. This recognition is the best evaluation of cultural inheritance, nature protection, and infrastructure improvement works being done on the territory of the Curonian Spit.
In 2002, Nida’s beach was awarded with the Blue Flag. In 2001, World orientation sport veterans’ championship successfully took place in Neringa, where more than 2,600 sportsmen from 35 countries took part. That was the biggest sports forum in Lithuania.
Architecture
Nida's Evangelical Lutheran Church
Nida’s church was sanctified on October 10, 1888. Having the old building of the church rotted away, the contemporary Lutheran priest Gustav Echternach worked on construction of this church. Beautiful Gothic style red-bricked building of Nida’s Evangelical Lutheran Church survived despite of all devastations of the Postwar period. During 1966 – 1988, History Museum of the Curonian Spit was functioning in the building of Nida’s church. Organs were constructed in 1984. Since the end of 1988, worship sessions are performed in the church again. Wooden ceiling, window stained glass, and E. Molenhauer’s picture “Christ Reaches out His Hand to the Apostle Peter, Who is Afraid to Sink” provide the church’s interior with cosyness. The church could also be proud of excellent organs of Karaliaucius’ (Kaliningrad) „Gebauer“ Company and the present of Keizer’s wife Victoria – three chandeliers (presently, the exact copies of them, which were produced according to remained Postwar original, are placed in the church).

Text extract from the book of Nijole Strakauskaite „The Curonian Spit – European Postal Road“ and the article of N. Strakauskaite in the publication „Neringa“, 1998
Catholic Church In Nida
This settlement of the Curonian Spit had never had a Catholic church before. The believers of Nida, having a brotherly permission of the Lutherans, had been praying in the church given back to them and strenuously sought for construction of new church. Leaders of Franciskan Order appealed to the municipalities’ council concerning construction of spiritual and cultural center. The search of a place for the church held off for a long time. Finally, on May 4, 2000 Telsiai bishop A. Vaicius sanctified the Catholic church and foundations of the community’s house. Official ceremony of the church opening took place on June 14, 2003.
The church with a cany roof designed by Nidiskiai architects Ricardas Kristapavicius and Algimantas Zavisa became a pronounced accent of new architecture. White pinnacle of the church with the cross is visible from all sides of Nida.
Silence of the settlement is scythed from time to time by the beats of one and a half ton bell, which was founded in Poland for the assets of Nida’s Municipality. The bell’s beats overspread from the roof of the church. The bell has Neringa’s blazon and the following words on it: „Ring, the sounding bell, among the marine dunes, invite and comfort the people of Neringa, let the grace of the Lord, our God, be with us: make the works of our hands successful, bless out toil (Psalm 90, 17).“
Juodkrante's Evangelical Lutheran Church
After the winter of 1797, which was fatal for Karvaiciai village, when the settlement became sandbound for good, a part of the residents moved to Juodkrante and began constructing a church here. The first church was a wooden one. It was burned down in 1878. In seven years (in 1885) a new church of Juodkrante arose – an impressive Gothic style red-bricked building, which was sanctified the same year. During the post-War years, this church was turned into a storage-room and only in the seventies it was repaired, and the windows were decorated with stained glass. A Museum of Miniatures was functioning here for some time. During the period of the second birth of Lithuania, Juodkrante’s church regained its previous status, and worship sessions were organized here again from 1989.

Text extract from the article of N. Strakauskaite in the publication „Neringa“, 1998
Traditions
Fishering And Fish Smoking
Ancient inhabitants of the Spit were all fishermen without exceptions. Fishing business had penetrated not only the whole of their household life, but spiritual culture as well. Every household had one or several boats, by which all tours were done. Chidren sailed by boats to schools, adults travelled by them to the church. Frequently, the fishermen started out for fishing for 3 - 5 days. There was always enough of work, since various species of fish “were comming” at different times.
The ancient Curonians were fishing in the boats called kurenas. They were up to 10 meters in lenth and 3 meters in width.
There was a separate smokehouse’s building in the fishermen’s farmsteads, which was named the beech-house. The work of women was to process and hook the fish for smoking.
The diet of the Curonian Spit’s fishermen was rather simple. The main food was fish. It was consumed as meat, also instead of bread and vegetables. Fish was also used as feed for animals. Dried and salted fish was the main food reserve for the winter. Smoked fish was intended for the holy table as well. The most tasty fish was and still is, when for fish smoking pines cones are used.
Even today, walking the streest of Neringa’s settlements, your nose gets pleasantly “tickled” by the smells of smoked fish. You can taste smoked eel, bream, perch and even smelt almost in every cafe or restaurant or just sitting next to the table of smoked fish mongers.

Proffesional and amateur fishing in the Curonian Lagoon
Nowadays, the Curonian Lagoon is perfectly suitable for not only professional, but amateur fishing as well. Experienced fishermen independently start out for fishing not only during summer, but winter too, when the season of ice-fishing begins and smelts are biting in great quanitities.
The beginners prefer organized fishing when an experienced ship captain can join.
Fishing with all fishing tools is allowed in the Curonian Lagoon in the distance smaller than 500 m from the caost only with permissions or licenses issued by the Ministry of the Environment (except for fishing with float rods from the coast). In the night fishing is allowed only from the coast or on ice, fishing is prohibited in the Baltic Sea and pools of border waters without permission of the borderline police. Average weight of the fish caught during one day cannot exceed 5 kg for one fisherman.
Amateur fishing in park’s waters is performed according to the rules of amateur fishing.

Klaipeda City Agency of Environmental Protection
Birutes st.16, Klaipeda
Tel.: (8 46) 21 71 06
Neringa town Agency of Environmental Protection
Taikos st.2, Nida
Tel.: (8 469) 5 12 32

Lithuanian Association of Hunters and Fishermen, Klaipeda department
Sodu st. 4, Klaipeda
Tel.: (8 46) 21 22 00

Taken from the Internet website of the National Park of the Curonian Spit www.nerija.lt
Crow Hunting
Only the Curonian Spit is characterized by crow hunting for food. Crow meat has been enriching the inhabitants’ menu all year round, especially in autumn. Crow hunting is mostly practised by old fishermen and adolescents. Seeking to attract the birds, they assume various means. In order to attract and fluster the birds, they used dried fly agarics, cereal soaked in vodka, etc. Old networks were also used for traps. A caught crow was tied up with a string to a peg, above which the net was thrown over from the top. The pulling string of the net was extended to a hiding place made from sticks, where the hunters were watching for the crows. Attracted by the croaking of the tied up crow, a bigger band of crows was flying in, and after pulling the string, the net was shutting them in. The caught crows were finished off (killed or had their necks cut through).
Having the autumn season started, some hunters soused several pieces of crowmeat. Fried, boiled, stewed crows, they say, are “madly tasty”. The custom to eat the crowmeat had likely originated during the times, when hunger was quite common for inhabitants of the Spit. During the pre-War times, crowmeat had its own place in the menu of local inhabitants. Crow feathers were also used. According to O. Glagau, even beds of Nida’s hotel in the middle of XIX century were stuffed with crow feathers.
Legend about Neringa
On the western coast of Lithuania, where the sun plunges into the waves of the Baltic Sea, where the Nemunas spills its waters into the Curonian lagoon, on a tall hill once stood the mighty castle of Ventė. An amazing giant daughter was born to its rulers, and they named her Neringa. She grew, and grew so quickly, that at nine months of age, she was as tall as an adult, and her flaxen plaits reached the ground. She was beautiful, good, and courageous. She always willingly helped everyone. When the foaming sea threatened to overturn a fishing beat, she boldly waded through the waves, and carried the boat to safety on shore. Tales of Neringa’s beauty, her good heart and fine mind, spread far and wide.
One day a great storm arose from the west. The sea carried sand onto the shore, piling up large hills, and the strong winds tore them down. The waters of Nemunas and the sea threatened to overtake the land. Ventė, which guarded the mouth of the Nemunas, was in deadly peril. Neringa, thinking quickly, immediately began to build an embankment around castle. She filled her apron with sand from the sea bottom, and carried it towards the land near Ventė, then emptied it. Again and again, despite the raging wind, Neringa carried the sand, and built a long rampart, saving the castle.
As she carried the last apron full of sand, the ties on the apron broke, and veritable hill of sand fell into the waters near shore. In that place, the lagoon is shallow, not more than one meter deep.
And that is how the Neringa peninsula (“Curonian spit”) was made.