Once there stood a castle on the banks of the river the Nemunas, near the small town of Liskiava. The lord of this castle shot a hawk during a hunting party, which plunged into the Nemanus. The lord of the castle followed the bird into the water, never showing up anymore. His wife cried many tears, and where her tears landed, salty springs were formed.
This legend explains the name of the place (now Druskininkai), druska meaning salt in Lithuanian. Another, more plausible explanation might be the existence of salt-rich earth, formed when the area was under sea level thousands of years ago. In 1794 the town gained the right to call itself an official health resort, attracting visitors nor only from Lithuania, but also from Russia and Poland. The town has 25,000 inhabitants and lies about 130 kilometers from Vilnius. Nearby Druskininkai you'll find one of Lithuania's wacky attractions, Gruto Parkas.
Ciurlionis Memorial Museum in Druskininkai
The greatest artist and musician of Lithuania was without any doubt Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (Varena 1875 - Warsaw 1911). His childhood days he spent in Druskininkai and the town is considered to be his spiritual home. An immensely prolific artist, Ciurlionis wrote for piano, composed string quartets, and wrote the first symphony of Lithuania, In The Forest.
His musical style shifted between the pastoral and romantic, sometimes to serialism. Besides musician, Ciurlionis was a painter too. He was one of the early organizers of the first exhibition of Lithuanian art in Vilnius in 1907. Ciurlionis was a conductor, a prominent member of the Lithuanian independent movement and a designer of stained glass. He married the writer Sofija Kymantaite and died near Warsaw of pneumonia. Now one can find a museum at the place of his former home, a traditional wooden Lithuanian house. There are piano concerts in the weekends of the summer-season.
|Address||Ciurlionio gatve 35, Druskininkai, Lithuania|
|Telephone||+370 313 511 31|
|Open||Daily 11:00 - 17:00|
Druskininkai Aqua Park
The Druskininkai Aqua Park one can found in a strangely designed building from the Soviet-era. The Aqua Park has a many different shaped swimming pools, with waterfalls, spas, flowing rivers, wave pools, very long and exciting water slides and saunas. For the little ones there is a pool with 15 cm. deep water and a kiddy slide.
Fri - Sat10:00 - 23:00
|Address||Vilniaus aleja 13, Druskininkai, Lithuania|
|Telephone||+370 313 523 38|
|Mon - Thu, Sun||Daily 10:00 - 22:00|
Gruto Parkas near Druskininkai
Not far from Druskininkai you'll find one of those weird Lithuanian attractions, Gruto Parkas. If you ever wondered what happened with all those statues from Lenin, Stalin and other "Soviet heroes", don't look any further. A local business person, a mushroom tycoon named Malinauskas, collected the statues and putted them on display in this park, together with some fine examples of soviet propaganda material, soviet art and old soviet buildings like schools and watchtowers. For the little ones there is a small zoo and good local food is available in the restaurant on the park.
|Address||Grūto k., Druskininkų r, Lithuania|
|Telephone||+370 313 555 11|
|Open||Daily 09:00 - 20:00|