Punia is probably the most ancient place in whole Lithuania. It is a place with the trees planted by the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, a church established by Vytautas the Great in 1425, and a town proud of the Magdeburg rights. And, the most important thing, Punia has the pinewood standing there for more than 1 000 years. There is no other place in Lithuania that is so biologically rich with thousands of various species, where the wood looks the same as 1000 years ago. Even in the city of Vatican, there is a planted little oak, that was brought from Punia. That’s why we say that all roads lead to Punia - the ancient woods of Lithuania.
Picture © Credits to maximkabb
Punia, a town near the Alytus district, was established by the Grand Duke of Lithuania - Vytautas the Great. Since Punia had a good connection with Trakai, the capital of Lithuania at that time, it became an important local center and acquired the Magdeburg rights. As all ancient cities, Punia town suffered from wars and fires. There is a legend that in Punia was a historical and legendary hillfort Pilėnai. The history of Pilėnai hillfort defense is well-known, as it was destroyed by the Teutonic Knights, but it was a long and heroic fight.
The ancient woods of Punia are located in the loop of the Nemunas River, surrounded by the longest river in Lithuania. This pinewood is a part of Nemunas Loops Regional Park, that is the biological, zoological and nature reserve. It is very well-preserved and protected wood, and fortunately, it is opened to visitors. To visit Punia in autumn, when all the leaves of the trees are colored in gold and red colors, is a spectacular and unforgettable experience.
Picture © Credits to Alvydas Kucas
The most important question is how Punia pinewood is standing till nowadays for hundreds of years. Some of the scientists are saying that the dukes of Lithuania were hunting there and it was not allowed to cut the trees and destroy the nature of the woods. Thanks to our Grand Dukes, now we can hug the trees in Punia, which were planted by our ancestries.
The pinewood of Punia is rich with incredibly old trees. It has the highest pine tree in whole Lithuania and the alley of the Grand Dukes, where the oldest and the strongest oaks have the names of the Grand Dukes - Mindaugas, Vytautas, Algirdas, etc. For the most beautiful views of the Nemunas River and all the park, look for the Punia mound. Also, in the ancient woods, a sculpture park of pagan god Perkūnas is established.
Picture © Credits to Phaisit
To get to Punia takes some time and efforts. As it is located in the loop of the Nemunas River, you will need to drive a little bit. But, trust me, there is no other places in Lithuania with such beautiful nature, old trees, incredible views and a feeling of the past. All roads lead to Punia, so do not miss the chance this beautiful autumn and visit the ancient woods of Lithuania.
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