As Curonian Spit is unique for its golden dunes and unforgettable sunsets, Dzūkija National Park, in the southern part of Lithuania, is proud of Čepkeliai Marsh - the largest and strictly preserved swamp in Lithuania. Counting thousands of years from the glacial period, this nature’s miracle has not been influenced by any human activity. Thousands of unique species and plants as well as beautiful landscape, make this place a unique nature preserve in Lithuania. Thus, let’s take an adventure in Čepkeliai Marsh to the land where dark forests meet dunes full of sun, the wetlands lay down together with continental meadows, and where nature stays the same for thousands of years.
In Lithuania, old mounds, deep lakes, and torrential rivers have their own ethnographical legends. Like the Giant Džiugas who, according to legends, dug the lake of Telšiai. However, Čepkeliai Marsh has no such legend, just some people say that the name of the swamp came from the sound of walking through the wetland (that moment when you lift the foot from the sticky ground) - "čep čep" - Čepkeliai.
Čepkeliai Marsh, with the area of 112,3 ha is the largest wetland in Lithuania and one of the largest in the Baltic countries. The biggest part of the whole area takes a bog with the rare type of pines. In the eastern part of the swamp, there is an area of 20 biggest and smallest lakes, while in the south, the wetlands turn to continental meadows. Comparing to the big area that this nature preserve has, there is just a small tiny path (for a human eye), 1,5 kilometers long in the very edge of the reserve.
This unique swamp is located in the territory of Dzūkija National Park and is strictly protected for any human activity since 1975. The strict nature reserve aims to protect one of the oldest Lithuanian wetlands with unique and valuable flora and fauna, relic lakes, dunes, and river. This site is definitely perfect for biology fanatics because in the whole wetland there are thousands of rare and valuable species. Moreover, this place is home to the snake Angis - which is the only poisonous snake found in Lithuania.
As it is a strict nature preserve, visiting this site is very stringent. Visitors can use 1,5-kilometer long path and the view tower just with the staff of the reserve. During the bird migration, from April to July, the tours are prohibited. Usually, the tours start in the Marcinkonys village, where the building of the Reserve Directorate is located.
All nature lovers (oh, and photographers) have to visit this valuable site of Lithuania. As we live in the times where finding a unique, (not affected by a human) natural site is getting harder, do not miss a chance to take a look at this swamp in Lithuania - Čepkeliai Marsh.
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