Rambynas regional park

A nature park at the river Nemunas

Woods, meadows and Prussian flair

Rambynas Regional Park embraces the southern part of Vilkyškiai Ridge and the meadows of the Nemunas valley beside Ragainė Twist. The highest point of the Vilkyškiai ridge is 72.5 m above sea-level. Vilkyškiai Ridge divides Pajūris Lowland (littoral lowland) from Middle Lowland and marks the beginning of the Nemunas delta. Dry pinewoods and swampy leafy forests, dry oakwoods and marshy woods can be found there. Almost the whole wood covering the southern part of the ridge is known as Šereiklaukis Wood, whereas it belonged to Šereiklaukis Manor for several centuries. Due to floods, these meadows have never been cultivated and have remained natural and untouched by humans.  The interface of those two big ecosystems – woods and meadows – influences a huge variety of fauna. Besides common mammal, there are rare bat species and a huge variety of sining birds live within the territory of the park. Rambynas regional park is also on the migration route of birds and hosts a large colony of white storks.  The stork colony of Bitenai is unusual, because they nest in the pine trees. The Cognitive Natural Path of 1.5 km length leads from the colony of storks to the building of the directorate in Rambynas Wood. The path curves on the ridges of conti-nental dunes on the very riverside of the Nemunas, there-fore splendid panoramic sights to the curve of the Nemunas, Ragainė and Tilsit are open here in all seasons. There are 11 stops established and equipped along the path. The colony of white storks, rare and herbal plants, insects, and mushrooms, formations of continental dunes, floods and fishes of the Nemunas, birds and bats are presented there. From the view point guests are overlooking the river Nemunas and the Kaliningrad region.

Von Ulla Lachauer

Paradise Road

the memoirs of Lėnė Grigolaitytė, an East Prussian farmer

story about World War II and the great emigration of 1944-1945

In 2019, with the help of the South Baltic Manors project, a footpath was built in Bitėnai by the Bitė rivulet, connecting the historic Jankai and Grigolaičiai homesteads and other famous places of Bitėnai village to a circular pedestrian path. This place is symbolically called the Paradise Road.

“Paradise Road” by German writer journalist Ulla Lachauer

It is the memories of Lėnė Grigolaitytė, an East Prussian farmer.

Lėnė Grigolaitytė recreates the panorama of the region along the Nemunas River: the works of peasants and fishermen, festivals, people’s experiences and grief come to life, the world of weekly markets in Tilžė and near the border located Smalininkai, where she worked for several years in her own haberdashery.
She tells story about World War II and the great emigration of 1944-1945. After her relatives, friends and neighbors left for West and Germany, she left herself in the homeland that fell under Stalin’s eyes and became part of the Soviet Union, she is telling about a period when she felt alien in her homeland, about agricultural collectivization, deportation to Siberia and her return to her homeland, about her ever-growing loneliness after the death of her mother, father, and finally husband. “I have saved you a homeland,” she says as she walks around Lithuania visiting people from Bitėnai, who are looking for their parents’ homes and only finding abandoned relatives’ graves.
In 2019, with the help of the South Baltic Manors project, a footpath was built in Bitėnai by the Bitė rivulet, connecting the historic Jankai and Grigolaičiai homesteads and other famous places of Bitėnai village to a circular pedestrian path. This place is symbolically called the Paradise Road.

(Translation from Lithuania)

Vilkyskiai Manor

It is the only manor in Pagėgiai municipality, which is adapted to the needs of tourists: good access, well-developed infrastructure, guide services, tourists can also order educational programs. The manor was founded in 1628. It was governed by Wolf Michael Müllkünzel. When he died, his estate was taken over by his descendants. Later, the estate became the property of the Ziegler family. In 1751, the estate was sold by Regina Larisa Ziegler to Gottfried Theodor Schőn, chief of the Šereiklaukis. In 1801 the estate was bought by Gottfried Dressler. In the hands of the Dresler family, the Vilkyškiai manor remains until World War II.
The last owner of the manor was Hans von Sperber. He inherited the estate by will when Alexander Dresler’s only son, Victor Dresler (Voktor Dressler), drowned during a military exercise in 1906. In 1905 there were 154 people living in the manor, but not one Lithuanian. The situation is different in Vilkyškiai, where Lithuanians made up 45.5 percent of the population. Like all other manors of Lithuania Minor, the manor of Vilkyškiai was different from the manors of Great Lithuania. It was not a nobleman’s residence; the manor was more for farming purposes. To this day there is a manor house, an old tavern building, red brick stables, a servant’s house, a grain barn with wooden shutters. On the south side, there were a spectacular manor garden and a park that was ruined.
The daughter of the last owners of the manor, Elli Biene Schacht, is still alive. Having survived the difficult post-war period, she did not lose the joy of life, on the contrary she devoted all her free time to preserving the history of the Vilkyškiai estate. Thanks to this the history of the manor is revived again.