Žvaginiai (Žadeikiai) Hill Fort

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Endriejavas, Klaipėda district
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Ablinga village was first mentioned in the 16th century. It’s now almost completely disappeared and is perhaps best known for a tragic event that took place there during the Second World War. Here, near Žadeikiai, stood Ablinga (Amelinge) Castle, mentioned in an act on the division of the Curonian Ceklis lands between the Livonian Order and the bishop dating from April 4, 1253. An object that reminds people of ancient times even today is the Žvaginiai (Žadeikiai) Hill Fort, which is also sometimes referred to as Žvaginkalnis.

The mound is located on the top of a massive hill belonging to the highest mountain ridge in the district, Endriejavas (148.3 metres). Its slopes are of medium steepness, are 15 metres high and are overgrown with broad-leaved trees. Part of it is uncultivated. The platform is trapezium shaped, oblong and protected by two mounds.

During the first half of the 20th century, fossil coals were found at the hill fort during digging work. They were also discovered during the construction of a triangulation tower, which damaged the mound and that didn’t survive. During the 1960s, several large so-called giants’ rings (which most likely were bracelets) were found during the digging of gravel. In 1972, an area of 1.25 square metres was examined on the platform of the hill fort. In the 1.3 metre-thick cultural layer, thrown pottery and burns were found. The hill fort dates back to the period from the 1st millennium to the 13th century.

Some of the residents of Ablinga and Žvaginiai villages of who were shot by German soldiers on June 23, 1941 (the day after the invasion began), are buried in a cemetery that once existed on the platform of the hill fort. There were 42 victims in total. The village was destroyed and burned to the ground after the massacre.

In 1972, on the western slope at the highest point in Klaipėda region, Ablinga Memorial Ensemble, consisting of 30 folk-style sculptures made of oak, was built to commemorate the event. One of them portrays a matchmaker, because weddings were supposed to take place on the day of the tragedy. It’s the first collectively created monument of folk sculptures in Lithuania.

In 1985, on the initiative of Alfonsas Šiaulytis, who lost many relatives during the massacre, the Ablinga Domain of the Mother of God, which was established by Magdalena Čiuladienė during the interwar period, was rebuilt near the hill fort close the Dirsteika stream. Religious commemorations of the victims of the village take place there when Mass are held and hymns are sung.

It’s said that a holy fire of the ancient Lithuanians used to burn on the hill and that there was once a fire altar. Yet another legend tells about how during the night an unknown priest used to sing with his beautiful voice and play an instrument on the hill.

Žvaginiai (Žadeikiai) Hill Fort

Endriejavas, Klaipėda district

Ablinga village was first mentioned in the 16th century. It’s now almost completely disappeared and is perhaps best known for a tragic event that took place there during the Second World War. Here, near Žadeikiai, stood Ablinga (Amelinge) Castle, mentioned in an act on the division of the Curonian Ceklis lands between the Livonian Order and the bishop dating from April 4, 1253. An object that reminds people of ancient times even today is the Žvaginiai (Žadeikiai) Hill Fort, which is also sometimes referred to as Žvaginkalnis.

The mound is located on the top of a massive hill belonging to the highest mountain ridge in the district, Endriejavas (148.3 metres). Its slopes are of medium steepness, are 15 metres high and are overgrown with broad-leaved trees. Part of it is uncultivated. The platform is trapezium shaped, oblong and protected by two mounds.

During the first half of the 20th century, fossil coals were found at the hill fort during digging work. They were also discovered during the construction of a triangulation tower, which damaged the mound and that didn’t survive. During the 1960s, several large so-called giants’ rings (which most likely were bracelets) were found during the digging of gravel. In 1972, an area of 1.25 square metres was examined on the platform of the hill fort. In the 1.3 metre-thick cultural layer, thrown pottery and burns were found. The hill fort dates back to the period from the 1st millennium to the 13th century.

Some of the residents of Ablinga and Žvaginiai villages of who were shot by German soldiers on June 23, 1941 (the day after the invasion began), are buried in a cemetery that once existed on the platform of the hill fort. There were 42 victims in total. The village was destroyed and burned to the ground after the massacre.

In 1972, on the western slope at the highest point in Klaipėda region, Ablinga Memorial Ensemble, consisting of 30 folk-style sculptures made of oak, was built to commemorate the event. One of them portrays a matchmaker, because weddings were supposed to take place on the day of the tragedy. It’s the first collectively created monument of folk sculptures in Lithuania.

In 1985, on the initiative of Alfonsas Šiaulytis, who lost many relatives during the massacre, the Ablinga Domain of the Mother of God, which was established by Magdalena Čiuladienė during the interwar period, was rebuilt near the hill fort close the Dirsteika stream. Religious commemorations of the victims of the village take place there when Mass are held and hymns are sung.

It’s said that a holy fire of the ancient Lithuanians used to burn on the hill and that there was once a fire altar. Yet another legend tells about how during the night an unknown priest used to sing with his beautiful voice and play an instrument on the hill.

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