Dovilai (Gedminai) Hill Fort

8°C
Dovilai, Klaipėda district
Listen
Routes

Less than 3km from the centre of the small town of Dovilai on the right bank of Minija is the Dovilai Hill Fort, which is surrounded by legends. This object, attributed to the ancient Curonian land of Pilsotas, is also referred to as Pilalė, Pelutė Hill, Auškalnis, Muškalnis, Dovilai, Rusliai and Gedminai.

The hill fort, that dates back to the 13th century, is surrounded by swamps and springs in the east, south and southwest. The platform of the hill is quadrangular and oblong in form along a southwest-northeast axis. Ditches are poured in the southwest and northern edges. The slopes are steep and the mound is 9 metres high. Today the object is overgrown with broad-leaved trees.

During the Second World War the hill fort was incorporated into Klaipėda’s defence system. A trench was dug out in the eastern part of the platform, and among the mounds there were concrete places for gunners—the so-called Koch bunkers—and the foot slopes were reached by an anti-tank ditch complete with a mound. German trenches damaged the eastern edge of the platform and both mounds.

In 1930, Karlas Engelis (Karl Engel) conducted exploratory archaeological research at the hill fort, and in 1966 similar work was carried out by the Lithuanian Institute of History. No data exists on the cultural layer found during this research.

One of the stories about Dovilai is related to the ruler of the castle Dovilanas, who dared to fight against the crusaders that appeared in the land. To the east of Dovilanas Castle was a temple that was overgrown with oak trees. Some sources state that in the documents of crusaders dating from the 14th century Dovilai Castle is mentioned as one of the objects of the Lithuanian lands. The year 1304 is considered to be the beginning of the establishment of the settlement.

Another story written before the Second World War relates to some shepherds who found a cave in the hill and lowered their smallest friend down to find treasure. The shepherd walked to the end of the cave and found some gates behind which he met an old man. The man gave the shepherd delicious meals and showed him a golden palace. In return, he asked the shepherd boy not to tell anyone about this mysterious occurrence. The child returned home three days later, but after telling another person the secret of the treasure he was struck dumb.

Other legends also mention ghosts that appear on the hill and protect the magic treasures, cursed girls, headless horses and mysterious iron doors. Jonas Basanavičius himself has written about the secrets of Dovilai Hill Fort. Supposedly, the top of an iron door was visible on the hill fort in 1830, and in 1883 three nuns, who were returning from a worship service, saw a headless horse. From that day onwards, one of them was seriously ill for a long time.

Dovilai (Gedminai) Hill Fort

Dovilai, Klaipėda district

Less than 3km from the centre of the small town of Dovilai on the right bank of Minija is the Dovilai Hill Fort, which is surrounded by legends. This object, attributed to the ancient Curonian land of Pilsotas, is also referred to as Pilalė, Pelutė Hill, Auškalnis, Muškalnis, Dovilai, Rusliai and Gedminai.

The hill fort, that dates back to the 13th century, is surrounded by swamps and springs in the east, south and southwest. The platform of the hill is quadrangular and oblong in form along a southwest-northeast axis. Ditches are poured in the southwest and northern edges. The slopes are steep and the mound is 9 metres high. Today the object is overgrown with broad-leaved trees.

During the Second World War the hill fort was incorporated into Klaipėda’s defence system. A trench was dug out in the eastern part of the platform, and among the mounds there were concrete places for gunners—the so-called Koch bunkers—and the foot slopes were reached by an anti-tank ditch complete with a mound. German trenches damaged the eastern edge of the platform and both mounds.

In 1930, Karlas Engelis (Karl Engel) conducted exploratory archaeological research at the hill fort, and in 1966 similar work was carried out by the Lithuanian Institute of History. No data exists on the cultural layer found during this research.

One of the stories about Dovilai is related to the ruler of the castle Dovilanas, who dared to fight against the crusaders that appeared in the land. To the east of Dovilanas Castle was a temple that was overgrown with oak trees. Some sources state that in the documents of crusaders dating from the 14th century Dovilai Castle is mentioned as one of the objects of the Lithuanian lands. The year 1304 is considered to be the beginning of the establishment of the settlement.

Another story written before the Second World War relates to some shepherds who found a cave in the hill and lowered their smallest friend down to find treasure. The shepherd walked to the end of the cave and found some gates behind which he met an old man. The man gave the shepherd delicious meals and showed him a golden palace. In return, he asked the shepherd boy not to tell anyone about this mysterious occurrence. The child returned home three days later, but after telling another person the secret of the treasure he was struck dumb.

Other legends also mention ghosts that appear on the hill and protect the magic treasures, cursed girls, headless horses and mysterious iron doors. Jonas Basanavičius himself has written about the secrets of Dovilai Hill Fort. Supposedly, the top of an iron door was visible on the hill fort in 1830, and in 1883 three nuns, who were returning from a worship service, saw a headless horse. From that day onwards, one of them was seriously ill for a long time.

Leave a comment
E-mail address

Comment*

Send
Comment sent successfully!