The Curonian Spit is a unique and vulnerable, sandy and wooded cultural landscape on a coastal spit which features small Curonian lagoon settlements. The Spit was formed by the sea, wind and human activity and continues to be shaped by them. Rich with an abundance of unique natural and cultural features, it has retained its social and cultural importance. Local communities adapted to the changes in the natural environment in order to survive. This interaction between humans and nature shaped the Curonian Spit cultural landscape.
Hill of Crosses
According to National Geographic, “…legends and fables color the history of the Hill of Crosses. First mention in writing dates to 1850, but some think the crosses appeared earlier, left by mourning relatives of the victims of revolts against the Russian regime in 1831, and later in 1863. The tsar suppressed national identity by limiting religious expression, so families were forbidden to honor the dead with proper burial in cemeteries. Many believe the crosses cropped up at the end of the 19th century, after an apparition of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus asked the believers to cover the holy place with these icons.”
Historically Biržai region is famous for its brewers and excellent beer. In the past beer making was practiced in nearly every home, each with their own recipes, passed on father to son for generations. Today several Biržai breweries continue the production of traditional recipes. The people of Biržai showed their respect for their beer when, after town was destroyed by the Swedes in 1704, the rebuilding of the brewery preceded that of the town hall and the fortress. Laws were enacted which required standards of high quality in beer making which are followed to the present day.
Struve Geodetic Arc
The Struve Arc is a chain of survey triangulations stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea, through 10 countries and over 2,820 km. These are points of a survey, carried out between 1816 and 1855 by the astronomer Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve, which represented the first accurate measuring of a long segment of a meridian. This helped to establish the exact size and shape of the planet and marked an important step in the development of earth sciences and topographic mapping. It is an extraordinary example of scientific collaboration among scientists from different countries, and of collaboration between monarchs for a scientific cause. The original arc consisted of 258 main triangles with 265 main station points. The listed site includes 34 of the original station points, with different markings, i.e. a drilled hole in rock, iron cross, cairns, or built obelisks.